Huskies hosting Spartans for first time since ’84

HOUGHTON – Home sweet Houghton.

After starting the season with seven of their first eight games on the road, the Michigan Tech hockey team returns to the MacInnes Student Ice Arena tonight for a non-conference series with Michigan State.

The location of the games makes no small difference, as the road hotels have served as a house of horrors for the Huskies this season, with a 0-6-1 mark away from Tech.

The Huskies won their lone home game, 4-1 over Northern Michigan.

The vast home and road splits have been a theme under head coach Mel Pearson’s teams through two-plus seasons, as Tech has assembled a 16-14-4 mark at the MacInnes with a 12-28-5 record in road games.

Pearson did not return a call seeking comment for this article.

Tech’s issue away from home this season has been generating goals, not preventing them.

Sophomore Pheonix Copley continues to hold strong between the pipes, boasting a .937 save percentage after a 68-save weekend against Michigan in Ann Arbor.

That number is good for No. 2 overall in the WCHA and sixth-best nationally among goaltenders with at least six games played.

With Copley in top form, a 1-6-1 record could turn around quickly for Tech if they can find a way to score more consistently. Four of the six losses have come by one goal – with last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Michigan difficult to swallow in particular as Jacob Johnstone missed on a grade-A opportunity when he found himself open at the backdoor. A bounce here or there and the record may look different.

This will be the first time Michigan State has traveled to Houghton since the Spartans came for Winter Carnival in 1984.

MSU (3-3-0) brings a three-game winning streak to Tech and a bevy of senior point scorers.

The Spartans have already gotten five goals out of senior forward Greg Wolfe, while senior defenseman Jake Chelios (son of former Detroit Red Wing Chris Chelios) quarterbacks the power play with five assists total to his name.

The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:07 p.m. tonight and again Saturday.