Progress report/Michael Bleach

When I was in high school, there were few days I dreaded more than the mid-semester parent-teacher conference.

I suppose I don’t know how these meetings were approached at all schools, but I put them on par with dentist visits, final exams and anything involving advanced chemistry.

The reason is simple.

I could have developed a cure for polio, saved a teacher from a burning building and created the world’s most inspiring diorama* and my parents would still return home with a laundry list of items and behaviors I had to work on.

*Of course, accomplishing none of these things and being a hormonal smart-aleck to boot, the teacher complaints were likely justified.

But that doesn’t mean my lingering distaste for high school inefficiencies will ruin a tried and true column theme.

The hockey team has skated for 20 games this season (with a Moses Malone special, going 4-4-4 in WCHA play) and has 18 regular season games remaining.

The basketball teams aren’t quite at the halfway point, seeing the floor for seven games, but there is enough of a sample size to give us something to work with.

Sounds like the perfect time for a progress report.

Hockey – Works hard but lacks focus

Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron was emphatic after Saturday’s 4-4 tie that the Huskies were one of the best teams in the conference.

“We have seen all of the top teams in our league. That is as good a team as we have seen,” Bergeron said. “I’m not blowing smoke, I mean that.”

With the way the Huskies have skated five-on-five for the last month, it is easy to see Bergeron’s point.

Tech outshot both BGSU and Bemidji State at the MacInnes by – I’m estimating here – 10,637 attempts on goal.

Or something like that.

But for a variety of reasons, the Huskies came away with just three points in those four games.

First it was the power play, then the goaltending and finally, an inability to close a two-goal lead out at home (aided and abetted by the referees or not).

With four games remaining in the second half against league-leading and red-hot Ferris State (10-0-2 WCHA record) and the regular season finale at Minnesota State-Mankato, the Huskies have cut deep into their margin of error of hosting a home playoff series for the first time since 1993.

The effort is there, but the results need to soon follow, or Tech will be on the wrong side of the curve for the 20th straight season.

Women’s basketball – Can be more creative

It wouldn’t be a progress report without nitpicking.

By most measures, the Tech women have had enjoyed an ideal start to their season.

They are perfect so far in conference play, while the two losses can be chalked up to a super-young team (starting one junior and four sophomores) still gelling early in the season.

But one offensive statistic leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Through seven games the Huskies have turned it over 14.6 times per contest, while dishing just 13.9 assists per game.

These numbers reflect an offense still findings its identity.

Too often Tech will spend the first half of the shot clock looking inside for Kylie Moxley (14.4 points per game, 58 percent shooting), only to get stagnant if an entry pass isn’t quickly available.

With the penetration abilities of Dani Blake and Mackenzie Perttu and the shooting of Kerry Gardner and Perttu, there are plenty of options open, but the Huskies don’t transition smoothly into Plan B.

It’s a small issue, to be sure. But small issues can make the difference between first and second.

Men’s basketball – Does not work well with others

There is a very specific hole in the Tech men’s roster as currently constituted.

Specific, and so far, easily exploitable.

Tim Dezelski, (35 points), Greg Kahlig (32 points), Jeff Copeland (20 points) and Zach Noreen (25 points) all have two things in common.

They are big. They are skilled.

What Austin Armga is doing to opponents on a nightly basis, talented forwards have returned to Tech in kind.

With the Husky starting big men standing at 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-3, there might not be much Tech can do to stop it either until healthy reinforcements arrive.

But that’s OK. Tech managed to go 2-2 in those games and has an advantage of its own.

Ben Stelzer and Austin Armga – A-plusses all around. Even the most cantankerous teacher couldn’t find a complaint with those two.