Friday, September 28, 2007

2007-08 Team Preview – Michigan Tech

Official Roster
Full Schedule
2006-07 Team Statistics

Top 5 Returning Scorers

1. F – Peter Roleau – Senior – 7 G, 23 A – 30 points
2. F – Tyler Shelast – Senior – 15 G, 9 A – 24 points
3. F – Jimmy Kerr – Senior – 10 G, 9 A – 19 points
4. D – Geoff Kinrade – Junior – 5 G, 14 A – 19 points
5. F – Malcolm Gwilliam – Junior – 9 G, 8 A – 17 points

Key Losses From Last Season

F – Tyler Skworchinski – 8 G, 7 A – 15 points
D – Lars Helminen – 2 G, 19 A – 21 points

2006-07 Scoring By Class

Senior 12 13.33%
Junior 36 40.00%
Sophomore 28 31.11%
Freshman 14 15.56%

Non-Conference Schedule

1 vs. Northern Michigan – Oct. 12
1 vs. Lake Superior State – Oct. 14
1 at Northern Michigan – Dec. 14
1 vs. Northern Michigan – Dec. 15
1 vs. Michigan State – Dec. 28 – Great Lakes Invitational, Detroit, MI
1 vs. Michigan or Providence – Dec. 28 – Great Lakes Invitational, Detroit, MI
2 at Mercyhurst – Jan. 4-5

Incoming Freshmen

F – Casey Pierro-Zabotel (Merritt – BCHL) / 18
F – Bennett Royer (Calgary – AJHL) / 19
F – Eric Kattelus (Indiana – USHL) / 20
F – Jordan Baker (Olds – AJHL) / 19
D – Deron Cousens (Penticton – BCHL) / 20

Average Freshman Age: 19.20


Breakdown of Current Roster

Freshmen – 5
Sophomores – 5
Juniors – 9
Seniors – 8

NHL Draftees

F – Jordan Foote – Senior – NYR
F – Casey Pierro-Zabotel – Freshman – PIT

2006 Season Recap

The Huskies were one of the feel good stories in all of college hockey last season. After being one of the bottom teams in the WCHA more often than not, head coach Jamie Russell led his team to a winning record and a trip to St. Paul for the WCHA Final Five.

The team got off to a great start, going 5-1-0 to start the year, including an impressive sweep at Vermont. The Huskies struggled a bit in November and December, but managed to sweep North Dakota in Grand Forks to close out the first half of the season.

They were one of the better teams in the nation after January 1, going 10-7-3, including a opening round win in the WCHA playoffs by winning a pair of one-goal games at Colorado College. The Huskies came up flat in the final five against an equally hot Wisconsin team, but that didn’t take away from what was a great season for Michigan Tech.

2007 Season Preview

This season could be even better for the Huskies than last year was. No team in the WCHA returns more goals (as a percentage) than Michigan Tech. They only lose 13 goals from their lineup, and bring in a solid freshman class led by BCHL forward Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Due to some academic issues, he won’t be able to suit up for the Huskies until December, but he should be an impact player when he joins their lineup.

Peter Rouleau, the team’s leading scorer from last season, returns for his senior season, as does the team’s leading goal-scorer Tyler Shelast. The biggest loss from last season for the Huskies is defenseman Lars Helminen, who had 21 points. He was also the quarterback of their power play and will be missed. Junior Geoff Kinrade will look to improve on his 19-point sophomore season on the blueline.

Both of Tech’s standout sophomore goalies return as well. Michael-Lee Teslak (.916 save percentage, 2.00 goals against average) and Rob Nolan (.910 save percentage, 2.26 goals against average) were arguably the league’s best duo last year, and they’ll hope to build on last year’s numbers. The two will likely split the goaltending duties to start the season.

Key Question

Coming into last season, the Huskies had won just seven games the previous season and nobody thought they would have the type of success they did. This year though, because Tech returns a good deal of talent and supplements that with a solid recruiting class, the bar is set a little higher. Can Michigan Tech prove last year wasn’t a fluke and find similar success under the raised expectations?

WCHA Blog Prediction:

Fourth place

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