Those in attendance Friday night for the Michigan Tech Huskies’ hockey game against the visiting St. Lawrence Saints were witness to freshman center Kash Rasmussen’s first two official points in college hockey.
In fact, anyone who watched ESPN’s SportsCenter after the game, or on Saturday, was treated to his first career goal being a part of the Top 10 highlight package.
As the video shows, he was attempting to find a teammate with the puck, but it bounced up in the air, so he knocked it out of the air and into the net. After the game was over, he admitted that he was afraid the referees would review it and take the tally away from him, much like they did in the game a week earlier, when it appeared he had scored his first goal, only to have it called back due to goalie interference when it appeared that co-captain Arvid Caderoth had muscled a Bemidji State defender into goaltender Mattias Sholl.
“I thought like, maybe they’d review it too for a high stick tonight,” he said after the game on Friday.
He admitted that it was a relief to break through.
“It feels great, you know,” he said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Playing parts of four seasons with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League helped Rasmussen hone his skills. During his final two seasons, he served as both an assistant captain and as captain of the team. He broke through offensively last season, scoring 24 goals and 63 points, which was good for second on the team.
One interesting side note about the young center is that he had ties to Michigan Tech before ever arriving in Houghton. Last season, he played for the Pontiacs alongside Charlie Russell, son of former Huskies player and coach, Jamie Russell.
Rasmussen did score a goal against Lakehead, but since the game was an exhibition game, the goal does not count towards his season totals at the end of the year.
A 6-foot-1, left-handed shot from Cochrane, Alberta, Rasmussen joined the Huskies this season to far less fanfare than that of classmate Kyle Kukkonen, who is firmly entrenched on the team’s top unit with co-captain Logan Pietila and assistant captain Ryland Mosley.
However, Rasmussen has been very good, despite not finding the back of the net until this past weekend. His line started both nights against the Beavers a week ago.
Coach Joe Shawhan likes all the aspects of his game that Rasmussen brings to the rink day in and day out.
“I like everything about him,” said Shawhan. “He is a hockey bug. He’s really strong, powerful on the puck.”
To Shawhan, Rasmussen is exactly the type of player teams need to be successful.
“Those are the guys that help you in hockey games, shoulders forward, strong base to him, hard to knock off the puck, powerful, has a nose to go to the net,” Shawhan said, “sees the ice well in those areas, knows the game well.”
Rasmussen’s coach believes those intangible qualities are very important.
“(He’s) another smart Alberta kid,” said Shawhan. “I enjoy watching him play. He’s an unsung hero. To me, he is going to be a great player, great college player, because he does so many things that go a bit unnoticed…that contribute to winning hockey games.”
The young Huskies forward is relishing the opportunity to make an impact with the Black and Gold so early in his young career. He offered his approach after the game Friday, given that he seems to be most comfortable on the ice near the opponent’s net.
“Just kind of creating space for yourself,” he said. “Trying to push guys off, protect the puck, and make the play that’s available really. Don’t second guess yourself. The first play is always the best play.”