The UAA Seawolves haven't played anybody yet. That phrase is a bit of a USCHO fan forum favorite for teams that are overrated indicating they haven't played anyone of note. The reason I use it here is two-fold. Firstly, I think I've overrated our guys; at least it looks that way from the last couple of weekends. It's easy to do that when you open the season having practiced against teams that haven't had any practice. The 'Wolves looked polished and strong in their first few games. I was excited to think they had it "going on".
Secondly, I'm using the phrase because this weekend we are playing somebody of note. The Huskies of MTU are indeed notable this early season and are ranked 9th this week in the USCHO poll. They are 6-0-0. They opened the season beating LSSU twice by a combined score of 10-4. Then they got two more W's against Ferris State before putting a hurting on Michigan last weekend by a combined score of 10-3. Michigan hadn't been to Houghton since like the mid-70s or some ridiculous thing like that. Doubtless they won't be going to Houghton again anytime soon.
Tech has a veteran team. 10 upperclassmen skaters lead the way but more importantly there are 9 sophomores. That's 19 skaters who know what's up. This weekend if the Seawolves come away with just one win there'll be few surprised folks. The 'Wolves might not have been as good as their record the last couple of weekends but our guys aren't bad. Sweeping MTU will turn some heads.
I try to be the head internet cheerleader here and I don't have much doubt our guys are capable of sweeping MTU. But even with all my well-established optimistic tendencies, I'm finding it hard to "believe" that UAA will sweep. I ain't picking against the guys here, just honestly expressing doubt.
The MTU upperclassmen have been the difference makers. UAA's upperclassmen haven't produced near as much. Junior goaltender Jamie Phillips has been remarkable in net with a .952 save percentage in his 6 wins.
I'll guess that practices this week have focused on getting traffic in front of the net to screen Phillips as much as possible. If he can't see the puck he'll have a hard time keeping that ridiculously high save percentage for the weekend. I haven't seen MTU skate this season but I know over the past couple of years they've been improving in terms of team speed. Expect the pace to be fast at the MacInnes this weekend. I made the mistake of thinking that Matt Thomas might do some trapping on the road in Maine. I won't do that again.
To win this weekend, it's just going to be about outscoring MTU … that's what I'm saying anyway. With that being the case, I'm expecting our upperclass forwards; Allen, Cameron and Tatchell to bag more goals than they've been getting. Without that the chances for a sweep drop dramatically. It'll be nice to see younger players contribute with goals and of course they'll need to do so for a couple of W's against this WCHA foe.
If I counted correctly since 2002-03 MTU leads this series against UAA 15-12-7 (4-3-1 in the last three seasons). They're a little bit older overall than UAA and a little bit smaller. Let's hope there's some letdown from the MTU players after their huge wins last weekend.
I'll be at Crossbar tomorrow to watch. I think I'll have a shot for every goal that Allen, Cameron and Tatchell score. Get me drunk fellas.