What makes a line combination does not always make sense when coaches put a trio together on paper.
No. 18-ranked Michigan Tech coach Joe Shawhan seems to have found a trio that has quickly developed chemistry in captain Alec Broetzman, freshman Arvid Caderoth, and sophomore Jake Crespi.
The trio were first put together on Monday, Jan. 25, for a game at Northern Michigan, and have found a ton of success offensively since.
Broetzman, who tied for the team lead in points last season with 27, has seven goals and 12 points over his last 10 games after scoring just four points in his first 11 games.
Caderoth has two goals and 10 assists over that same span. Crespi has chipped in two goals and two assists to round out the line.
More importantly, the team has also found a lot of success with the three of them playing together, going 7-3 over their last 10 games. The two most recent wins came during the Huskies’ Winter Carnival weekend.
“We just have a bunch of guys who are playing really well,” Broetzman said. “We are just going out there and getting the job done. It doesn’t really matter who you are out there with, guys are just putting in the work and playing to their best.”
For Broetzman, who had 24 goals and 41 points over his first two seasons for the Huskies, finding chemistry playing alongside two younger teammates has been very rewarding, not just because he is scoring.
“The guys around me and myself are just putting the work in every day,” he said. “Over time, we have gotten better and better with every game that has come along. Things are just coming together and I think it is starting to show.”
The Hudson, Wisconsin, native is embracing a teaching role, given his two younger linemates.
“Arvid and Crespi are doing a great job,” Broetzman said. “We have our formation down. We know where each other is going to be.”
Caderoth, who struggled to find his footing early, picking up just one assist over the team’s nine games while also going -3 over that span, has exploded offensively since Jan. 3, racking up points in nearly every contest since.
The Gothenburg, Sweden, native earned WCHA Rookie of the Month honors for January after scoring one goal and six assists over that stretch. He has also anchored the team’s top power play unit, playing along the goal line, which is allowing him to find open teammates.
“Arvid is such a skilled player,” said Crespi. “He played on the larger ice surface, so his adjustment to the small ice surface was tough at first, but he is making great plays to us and finding guys who are open.”
In Friday’s game against Ferris State, he turned a pass from assistant captain Trenton Bliss into a one-timer for Broetzman in the slot in the second period. With how well he sees the ice, the Huskies’ power play is starting to be able to make quicker in-game adjustments as they need to.
“Right before the period there, we talked about it and said this might work out,” Broetzman said. “We kind of drew it up…It just worked out perfectly, just exactly how we drew it up.”
He has also been honored by the WCHA with Rookie of the Week honors twice.
Crespi had just two points, both assists, in 20 games as a freshman. With an expanded role, he is starting to chip in offensively.
“It feels great,” he said. “It’s a different role I have this year from last year. It’s super nice playing with some different players. Everyone is working hard.”
Shawhan feels that the Brighton, Michigan, native is working harder and smarter this season, and that has been a big part of why he scored his first career goal on Dec. 13 at Bemidji State, and why he is now finding success playing alongside Broetzman and Caderoth and beginning to find the scoresheet more often over the last seven contests.
“He has put honesty in his game,” said Shawhan after Friday’s win over Ferris State. “There’s no excuses to his game. There’s honesty in his game now.
“He’s self-accountable, which is allowing him to grow. When something doesn’t go his way, he knows it right away.”
For Crespi, getting the chance to skate alongside Broetzman has been beneficial in several ways. For now, he is just trying to be a sponge, taking in everything his captain and linemate throws his way.
“With ‘Bot’ (Broetzman), there is a lot of leadership presence with him,” Crespi said. “He’s such a solid player to play with. He knows all the systems really well, so he can talk with me if I am ever confused. You know what you are getting game in and game out with him. The consistency is what is great with him.”
Crespi looks up to the veteran winger.
“He’s such a workhorse,” said Crespi. “You see how fast he is. He just dominates in the corners. There are different dimensions to our games, but I do try to look up to his worth ethic in the corner.”
The second-year winger is also taking cues in practice from his linemate.
“He can fire the puck,” Crespi said. “So I love shooting with him after practice and getting drills in with him.”
After winning six in a row, the Huskies dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 20 Lake Superior State on Tuesday. They will not have much time to digest that loss as they get ready to face Bemidji State this Friday and Saturday before facing the Lakers again on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Lakers take five of six from Falcons
On the road at Bowling Green, Lake Superior State found success with a 2-1 overtime win on Friday followed by a 5-2 win on Saturday.
In Friday’s game, trailing 1-0, they took advantage of a power play in the second period when Louis Boudon found the back of the net at 6:50. Pete Veillette then struck just 17 seconds into the overtime session to seal the victory.
Both Boudon and Veillette found the back of the net again in Saturday’s win. Veillette extended a 1-0 Lakers lead just 4:42 into the second period. Boudon then struck less than two minutes later at 6:01.
Ashton Calder, who had one assist on Friday, added an assist on Saturday on Veillette’s goal before scoring one of his own at 13:55 of the second period, extending the Lakers’ lead to 4-0.