Brooks Bertsch last battled the MTU Huskies in February of 2012 (photo prout)
NCAA WEST REGIONAL – SCHEELS ARENA, FARGO , ND
Friday, March 27 3:30 PM CT
(#2) MICHIGAN TECH UNIVERSITY HUSKIES vs (#3) ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY HUSKIES
The 16 team field of the 2015 NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament is set and the #13 SCSU Huskies will face former WCHA foe Michigan Tech University in the West Regional in the first round at Scheels Arena in Fargo, ND. #5 Michigan Tech just completed a watermark season compiling a 29-9-2 overall record finishing second in the WCHA. They finished the regular season and conference tournament play #7 in the Pairwise and #3 in KRACH with the 15th toughest schedule in college hockey. Last weekend, they were defeated by Minnesota State University-Mankato in the championship game by a score of 5-2 in the WCHA Final Five Tournament. The Huskies took a 2-1 second period lead on two power play goals only to see this lead fizzle in the third period as the #1 Pairwise Mavericks scored four times to snare the championship. The SCSU Huskies defeated league foe North Dakota 3-1 on Friday in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff to advance to the championship game with Miami. The Huskies also surrendered a 2-1 second period lead falling to the RedHawks 3-2 in the tournament finale. Joey Benik and Charlie Lindgren were named to the All-Tourney squad. SCSU (19-18-1 overall) finished regular season and tournament play at #12 in the Pairwise, #9 in KRACH with the second toughest schedule in college hockey.
SCSU advances to NCAA West regional play with participants Michigan Tech University, Quinnipiac University and host University of North Dakota. The SCSU Huskies have faced both Quinnipiac and North Dakota during the 2014-15 season compiling an overall record of 3-4 record vs these two teams. Of immediate concern for the SCSU Huskies is the health of the squad as they were missing top defensive forward Kalle Kossila who is also fourth on the squad in points with 25 and senior defenseman, Andrew Prochno for the NCHC tourney. Additionally, defenseman, Tim Daly took a vicious hit along the boards in the third period of the Miami game and did not return to the ice. His status for this weekend along with that of Kossila and Prochno has not been formally announced although it is expected the two latter players will be in the lineup. SCSU has a potentially potent offense with top scorers Joey Benik (16-22-38), Jonny Brodzinski (20-17-37), David Morley ( 17-11-28), Kalle Kossila ( 5-20-25) and Patrick Russell (10-14-24). Morley has been hot lately with 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points in his last 5 games. The Huskies are 12-0 when Morley scores a goal. Joey Benik has been on a streak as well netting 4 goals and 2 assists for 6 points in the last five games. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren has won four his last five games and has a save percentage of 95% during that stretch. The Huskies adherence to strong defensive play has shown exemplary results allowing only 1.6 goals per game in their last five.
Michigan Tech features a highly productive offense including 4 scorers in the top ten in conference scoring in Hobey Baker finalist and senior, Tanner Kero (19-26-45), junior Alex Petan (15-24-39), junior Malcolm Gould (14-17-31) and senior Blake Pietala (14-16-30). Goaltending has been outstanding for the MTU Huskies with junior goaltender Jamie Phillips compiling a 28-8-2 record with an overall SV% of .935 and GAA of 1.71 good for third nationally. The Huskies have strung together quite a record since January 23 going 13-2-1 vs WCHA opponents. They have been productive in nearly every aspect of their game and will feature a potentially explosive offense and strong goaltending. Former Michigan assistant, Mel Pearson has resurrected the Michigan Tech hockey program to national prominence in 2014-15 and has assembled a well-respected coaching staff.
Common opponents during the 2014-15 season included Bemidji State University and the University of Minnesota Duluth. MTU had an overall record of 5-1 in head to head competition with these teams while SCSU was 2-4. An interesting statistic is that during the 2014-15 season, Michigan Tech only played six games against participants in the NCAA tournament field going 1-4-1 in those contests. SCSU on the other hand played 25 games against this post-season field compiling a 11-14 record. In head to head competition, the teams are 2-2 in their last 4 meetings going back to the 2011-12 season. However, going back to 2003, St. Cloud State has an overall record of 23-4-2 record vs Michigan Tech. Statistically, as expected, both teams are ranked highly nationally. A comparison of the teams is as follows:
MTU – 3.55 G/PG (6th) SCSU – 2.76 (T26th)
MTU – 1.77 (2nd) SCSU – 2.34 (T 24th)
MTU- 11.9/G (22nd) SCSU – 8.7/G (56th of 59)
MTU- 21.6% (7th) SCSU – 23.7 (5th)
MTU – 85.4% (22nd) SCSU-80.0% (44th)
As always, pertinent links for this Friday’s game can be found at the Center Ice View web site here: