Tech Ice Breaker wins a big boost for league early

It’s the first (real) weekend of the season, and it was a pretty entertaining one for the WCHA. Here’s three things I noticed from around the league:

1. Tech looked solid in Ice Breaker win

Michigan Tech entered the weekend’s Ice Breaker tournament  in Duluth as the lowest-ranked team in the four-team field. The Huskies ended up surprising everyone and winning the whole thing. Tech, who started the season last week with a loss to Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame game, scored a whopping six goals against Union on Friday before rallying from a two-goal first-period deficit Saturday to beat the host Bulldogs 4-3. It’s only three games into the season, but the Huskies have already scored 12 goals from nine different players. For a team that is unsure about its defense and goaltending to start the season, having such a balanced offense down the stretch will do this team some good if they can keep it up.

2. Frustrating night for Mavericks

Minnesota State, the league’s presumptive preseason favorite, were shut out in their season opener Saturday against instate rivals St. Cloud State. The Huskies beat the Mavericks 4-0 despite MSU outshooting SCSU 42-26. The Mavs put 16 shots on St. Cloud goalie Jeff Smith in the third period alone — but were outscored 2-0 in the final period. It was only one game, but MSU will need to regroup and find some finishes really quick — they head to Boston for a road series against BU next week.

3. Fun in Alaska

Neither Alaska school won this weekend — that’s a fact. However, both the Seawolves and the Nanooks managed to take a pair of ranked teams to the brink. Alaska Anchorage went to overtime both nights against North Dakota thanks mainly to the play of goaltender Olivier Mantha. Mantha made 74 saves over two nights. UAA tied UND Friday thanks to Jordan Xavier’s late goal. On Saturday, the Seawolves rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie the game at 2-2 in the third period before they lost 3-2 on OT. That game, however, featured an early save of the year candidate from Mantha, who robbed UND’s Joel Janatuinen with an insane rollover glove grab. The Nanooks, too, showed themselves well, losing to ranked Air force in an entertaining 3-2 game Friday before earning a 1-1 tie Saturday. The Nanooks will need to work on special teams — they had numerous chances to cash in on power plays but went just 1-for-15 on the weekend. They’re at St. Cloud State for another nonconference series this weekend.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Ethan Prow really should be considered a higher contender…..his numbers better than Matt Gilroy ’09 and similar to Jordan Leopold who won in ’02. No offense to Conner and Motte, but the BIG 10 has 1 goaltender in the Top 50 and No one Team’s defense above 34th!
    Top 5: Conner, Vessey, Demko, Prow, Lyon??

    • I would agree with you but as a counter example, consider Larkin compared to Jack Eichel. Who played the tougher schedule and defense last year? How are they now doing in the NHL? I’m just saying, don’t just look at the statistics. Look at the way they perform on the ice.

      • True. Two things. You have to play well against the competition you’re given (Michigan….they’re doing it) and some competition is better (NCHC) which I was referring to for Prow…and he is doing well. Both are factors, both rely on some statistics and Michigan and SCSU are performing well on the ice.

  2. Good job Tech, Mavericks gotta shake this one off and come out big next week against Boston. I guess the silver lining for the mavericks is that they can pour on the shots, not sure if they just ran into a hot goal tender of if they weren’t getting enough High quality shot or rebounds.

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