HOUGHTON – It may be hard to believe, but the college hockey season begins this weekend. Michigan Tech starts out the season at U.P. rival Lake Superior State.
The Huskies are coming off of a 14-17-9 campaign. Tech was eliminated in the WCHA playoffs in March by Bowling Green. This year’s team is loaded with talent, especially up front. The Huskies return their top nine point producers from last season. The coaches and media polls both have the Huskies finishing towards the top of the conference standings.
“I really like the energy and I like the forwards. I think we will be have a deep group of up front and I think we’re going to score some goals this year, so we’re going to have an exciting team for our fans to come out and see,” said MTU head coach Mel Pearson. “We know last year in the WCHA it went right down to the final weekend for home ice and to make the playoffs. These games (against LSSU) are going to be extremely important even though they’re going to be played the first weekend.”
“I think last year we had a few off-weekends that we didn’t really play as well as could’ve, so we are going to go into each weekend as a new series and just focus on one game at a time,” said Huskies forward Tanner Kero. “I’m definitely excited for this weekend. Playing against Damon Whitten (former MTU asst. coach turned LSSU head coach) is going to be pretty fun. We’re all ready to go, we’ve been working hard, so it’s going to be fun.”
“A lot of the lines have guys who played together last year, so obviously a couple of the lines have a freshman mixed in, but I think these first few weeks of practices they’ve fit in real well,” said MTU senior forward Blake Pietila about the freshmen players on the team.
“I know that the excitement in the locker room, the buzz about how well we can do this season… we just have to go out there and achieve it,” said defenseman Shane Hanna. “There hasn’t been much time (on the ice) with the coaches out there, but the leadership core is working well at practices to make sure we’re ready to go for the games.”
The Huskies and Lakers drop the puck at 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 5 p.m. on Sunday.