We've seen a mix of success so far this season. A nice start (won both tournaments .. remember?) yes ... but there's no denying that the Seawolves haven't won a game in their last six.
The bye week is an important factor this week and I think MTU is a great opponent to have coming into your rink following that. The Seawolves are 5-1-2 against MTU in the last 8 games so everyone on the squad should have some confidence coming into the games about the ability to get what is nothing short of some very necessary points this weekend since they've all experienced nothing but success against the Huskies.
I'd mostly like to think that the team is focused on the game at hand on Friday. Rust or whatever funk that can strike a team coming off a bye can be avoided with proper focus. The task to be done is the only one to think about. Win on Friday.
I don't know what to expect other than to guess that Shyiak will continue to change the line-up to give guys with fewer opportunities to see some ice time. There's no way he can really have a good idea what some of his players bring in game situations. Of course Jordan Kwas' status will effect that as I'd expect him to play if he is healthy. I'm guessing perhaps that means that Andrew Pettitt gets another couple of games this weekend. Beyond that I'm not willing to guess.
Michigan Tech fans are pretty hopeful that the Mel Pearson era will see more success than has been recent history for the program. And in his first ten games the new head coach has guided the Huskies to a 6-3-1 overall record, 4-3-1 in conference games for 9 points and a tie for 4th place with Wisconsin in the league standings. A typical WCHA season includes a team that performs dramatically higher than expectations. Last year the Seawolves made a run at the end of the season to perhaps gain consideration as that team; this year it's clearly MTU as the most likely looking candidate to take a big step up.
Is it all on Pearson? Has he come in and implemented some system that makes the most of every player's potential? Coaching can be a bit over-credited sometimes for success and/or failure so I tend to think the fresh player/coach perspective for a team with 23 veteran players has a lot to do with it. While I've no doubt that Jamie Russell was liked and respected by his players sometimes just a regime change works to improve things in difficult to quantify ways. That's what it smells like to me anyway. And my smeller is pretty much all there is in the way of a preview this week.