Huskies return home for tough test in Mavericks
HOUGHTON — As the Michigan Tech Huskies return home this weekend, they are winners of six of their last eight, going 6-1-1 over that span, thanks to a sweep last weekend on the road against the St. Thomas Tommies. For their recent efforts, they returned to the national rankings at No. 20 this week thanks to their 8-3-2 overall record and 4-2-2 record in CCHA play.
The Huskies’ sweep of the Tommies was not without drama.
The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Friday, only to see the Tommies storm back and even things heading into the third period. Freshman winger Kyle Kukkonen scored twice, assistant captain Ryland Mosley scored shorthanded, and senior defenseman Chris Lipe added a power play tally to give the visitors a four-goal final frame and the win.
Saturday, the Huskies jumped out to a three-goal lead with three tallies in just four minutes. Just when it seemed the Huskies seemed primed to breakout offensively, co-captain Arvid Caderoth collided with Tommies goaltender Aaron Trotter, and was assessed a major penalty for contact with the head.
The Tommies struck twice in 23 seconds on the major, and later added a third goal early in the third period to even the game. Mosley broke the tie late with another shorthanded goal with just 2:08 remaining, sealing the sweep.
“Always happy getting the points, came out with a couple of wins,” said coach Joe Shawhan. “I thought we played pretty well on Saturday night, for a game that was such a hard game to play in, with a very little flow, with many more special teams than we’re used to playing in. So I thought that our guys stuck with it pretty well.”
Mosley leads by example
Mosley, who joined the Huskies halfway through the 2020-21 season, had spent his first 49 games trying to chip-in offensively. For the most part, it did not come easy, as the junior winger scored just six goals and 15 points during his first two seasons in Black and Gold.
This season, he has broken through in a big way. Adding his two shorthanded goals this weekend to his totals for the season, he now has seven goals and 15 points. He leads the team in goals, assists (8), points, shorthanded goals (3), game-winning goals (3), and plus/minus at +11.
Shawhan is excited to see Mosley take advantage of the opportunities he has earned this season. He also feels as though the third-year winger has earned a ton of trust from the coaching staff for the effort he puts in shift to shift.
“I think it says a lot to who he is,” said Shawhan. “He knows what’s needed, and he takes on responsibilities.
“You can trust him in small things, so, therefore, he is trustworthy in larger things. I just think it says a lot to who he is that when we need him, he’s finding a way in and putting that much more in to find a way to be able to deliver for us.”
Mosley’s role continues to expand.
“We continue to ask more,” Shawhan said. “He keeps delivering more. So he’s an, as are so many guys on our team, incredible young man that is doing all he can to try to help us and to lead us by example.”
Saretsky off to strong start
Another forward who has stepped up in a big way is senior Parker Saretsky. After a 17-point freshman year, Saretsky has struggled to stay in the lineup as a sophomore and as a junior, scoring just two goals and 12 points in 58 games over those two seasons.
This year, Saretsky is chipping in on a regular basis, with four goals and 10 points through 13 games.
Shawhan feels that Saretsky is having success because he is taking advantage of the opportunities being passed his way.
“He’s finding a way to get his points as well,” said Shawhan, “so another player that’s having a very good senior year. He’s a guy that’s probably taking advantage of the ice time that he’s getting.
“I think that Parker is a guy that is kind of taking advantage of the ice time he’s getting, and turning it into points.”
Shawhan is excited about how hard Saretsky is working.
“I’m proud of what he’s doing,” Shawhan said. “He has done a pretty good job on both sides of the puck.
“I think that Parker has a tremendous voice in the locker room, I think he’s got those qualities where he’s got a bit of a following within the room. So him having success, I think, really carries over to some other players, influences some other players.”
Scouting the Mavericks
This weekend, the Huskies are back in the friendly confines of the MacInnes Student Ice Arena to face the No. 10 Minnesota State Mavericks. The Mavericks are 8-4 overall and 5-1 in CCHA play to this point in the season after splitting at home against Northern Michigan last weekend.
This season, the Mavericks are learning to live without Nathan Smith and Dryden McKay, two players who made life miserable for opponents for multiple seasons. However, that does not mean they are an easy target.
Junior David Silye is off to a great start with team highs in goals (9) and points (13) through 12 games. Junior Jake Livingstone is also off to a great start from the blue line with three goals, a team-high 10 assists, and 13 points.
The Mavericks also feature a pair of players who are off to relatively slow starts, but could catch fire at any time in senior forward Ryan Sandelin and junior defenseman Akito Hirose.
In goal, sophomore Keenan Rancier is still trying to find his way as the starter. In 10 appearances this season, he is 4-3 with a 2.25 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
To beat the Mavericks, you have to be patient, according to Shawhan. The Mavericks are looking to grind down their opponents and then find their goals once they have done so.
Friday’s game between the Mavericks and Huskies is set for a 7:07 p.m. opening faceoff at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Saturday’s contest is set to start at 6:07 p.m.