Huskies hockey returns home to face Ferris State

Michigan Tech center Arvid Caderoth tries to control the puck while being defended by three players from Augustana during a game on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton. (David Archambeau/For the Gazette)

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Huskies hockey team extended their winning streak to three games with a 4-2 victory over the Bemidji State Beavers last Friday. They appeared well on their way to a fourth straight win Saturday, only to surrender six straight goals and drop a 6-4 decision to the Beavers.

Huskies coach Joe Shawhan and his staff are trying to use Saturday’s surprising loss as a learning opportunity.

“You don’t see that type of thing very often,” he said. “It’s not surprising in the fact that the area that we need to get better at is defending. There’s no secret to that. We have to defend better. That’s reflective on our penalty kill, and that’s reflective on the overall goals against right now.

“We’re used to being in the top two in our league, and in the top five nationally, and we’re nowhere near that. So, I think, synonymously, when we get better, and hopefully we can, as we evolve, it starts out first individually, and then collectively. When we get better, you’re going to see growth in both those areas.”

After the Huskies’ first two goals of the game came on their first shots, the Beavers scored four goals on four shots between the late stages of the second period and the start of the third.

“At the end of the second period, they scored, well at the end of the second period and in the first minute and a half of the third period, they scored on four straight shots, four straight scoring chances. They had four straight shots. (The) shots went from 18 to 22, and the game was tied. That’s not going to happen a lot on Blake (Pietila).”

It would not be surprising for a coach to be down on his players after a collapse like that, however, Shawhan is looking at building the team up, one step at a time, working towards an end goal of winning games at the end of the season.

“I can’t live in a world of perception,” he said. “I live in a world of reality, and that’s the reality that I see. I’m not down on the guys. I don’t think the guys’ mood is down. It’s not like the world caved in. We’re a team that’s evolving and trying to find ourselves, and there’s little groups within the team that are on different spectrums of where they’re at.

“The defense right now is trying to figure out who they are as a group. We don’t have (Chris) Lipe and (Brett) Thorne like last year, two all-league type players, (who are) going to shut things down, to reset, and to calm the back end down. We have guys that are unproven back there, either young or inexperienced. We’re going to find it from within the group where that’s going to come from.”

Add to those issues the fact that the Huskies also have some seniors who are trying to prove they are ready to take the next step in their careers.

“We have some other players that feel some pressure that the end is near, and they have to perform,” said Shawhan. “That’s added pressure that they don’t need. That’s outside perception and I’ve been talking to them about that. You can’t change what people think you should be doing versus what you are doing in numbers. All you can do is be reflective of your game and know in your heart whether you’re doing what you can do to perform and get better, or you’re not. That’s, again, the beauty of sport.”

One such player is co-captain Arvid Caderoth. The senior center had no points in his first nine games this year before exploding for four points on Friday night. With two goals and two assists, and another assist on Saturday, he got on the board in a big way to help the Huskies.

“He’s in a mix of players that, when you start into your career in our sport, you’re thinking of the game after, and that added perception of having to put numbers of things, it starts weighing heavy,” said Shawhan. “You see that with a couple of our players at various positions… everything all of a sudden matters a great deal. Putting up points is one of those things that matters.

“So, he was pressing. He had a couple of weeks where we noticed he was really pressing, and it was weighing on him. So, him breaking out, five-point weekend, the smiles on his face makes it worth it.”


This weekend, the Huskies host the Ferris State Bulldogs for their first CCHA home series of the season. The Bulldogs are 3-6-1 overall and 1-3 in CCHA play to this point. They have wins this season over Miami, Northern Michigan, and St. Lawrence, but come into the weekend having been swept at home by Minnesota State.

Senior forward Antonio Venuto, who has six goals and eight points, and sophomore defenseman Travis Shoudy, who has a team-high eight assists, lead the Bulldogs in scoring through their first 10 games. Senior forward Stepan Pokorny has also been good with five assists and six points.

Shawhan sees a lot of similarities between his team and the Bulldogs.

“(they are) very similar to us,” he said. “I think I picked them to finish fairly high in the league. They return a lot of goals, and I know that they’re very well-coached. They always play with energy, and Bob (Daniels) always gets a high compete level out of them. So, they play everybody tougher. They’re hard for everybody to play against.”


The Huskies and Bulldogs will face off Friday night at 7:07 p.m. at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. Saturday night, the two teams will be back at it at 6:07 p.m.


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