Cuglietta signs amateur tryout with Texas Stars

Lake State celebrates a goal by Diego Cuglietta (centre) at the Great Lakes Invitational. Cuglietta signed an amateur tryout with the Texas Stars of the AHL.

The most recent 100 point scorer for Lake Superior State has signed a professional contract.

It was announced today that the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL) have signed senior Diego Cuglietta to an amateur tryout for the remainder of the 2018-19 season.

A native of Kamloops, British Columbia, Cuglietta recently completed his senior season with the Lakers, where he had 25 goals and 16 assists for 41 points.  His 25 goals are the most for a Laker in a single season since Sean Tallaire had 32 in 1995-96 and his season point total is the best for any Laker since Joe Blaznek had 46 in 1996-97.  In addition, his 100 career points are the most for a Laker since Dominic Monardo ended his collegiate career with 101 in 2012-13.

Beyond the point totals on the ice, the team co-captain was named Most Valuable Player at the Great Lakes Invitational this season and is also a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in college hockey.  There have been six finalist from Lake Superior, but no winner as of yet.

The Texas Stars, located near Austin, are the main minor affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars.  Should Cuglietta make it to the NHL with the Stars, he would become the seventh Laker to do so, following Keith Aldridge, Paul Jerrard, Chris Dahlquist, John Flesch, Dan Keczmer and Rob Valicevic.  Jerrard, Dahlquist, Flesch and Keczmer played for the team while in Minnesota, while the rest were on the team while in its current home.

Cuglietta reaches century mark, but Lakers pushed to the brink

A quick start by Lake Superior State could not be sustained in the first game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Semifinals, as the Lakers fell 2-1 to Minnesota State – Mankato on Friday night.

With the semifinals being a best of 3 affair, Lake Superior must win on Saturday to keep its season alive in their quest for the league tourney crown.

Lake Superior (23-12-2) got on the board first when senior captain Diego Cugletta got in the Maverick zone on a 2 on 1 and fired the puck over the left shoulder of Minnesota State netminder Dryden McKay. 

For Cuglietta, it was goal number 25 on the season and point number 100 in his collegiate career, as the forward from Kamloops, British Columbia, became the first Laker to reach the century mark since Dominic Monardo did so with a goal in a 3-0 win over Northern Michigan in 2013.

Two goals by the Mavericks (30-7-2) later that period quickly turned the Laker lead into a deficit.  Charlie Gerard scored his eleventh goal of the year on a breakaway that beat Laker goalie Nick Kossoff on the glove side at 6:18 of the first.   1:02 later, Walker Duehr made it 2-1 Mankato by collecting a pass from behind the net and firing it point-blank at the net, giving Kossoff little chance.

With the Mavericks styming the Lakers at nearly every turn, a comeback just wasn’t in the cards for the visitors.  The Lakers were 0 for 5 with the man advantage and had a remarkably difficult time setting anything up on their chances.  Even pulling Kossoff for an extra attacker proved difficult, as Lake Superior could not maintain zone possession long enough to get their netminder pulled.

Early in the third, Minnesota State briefly appeard to go up 3-1, as Gerard put the puck in the net while being taken down by Laker defenseman Steven Ruggiero.  A review disallowed the goal, but permitted a penalty shot, which Kossoff deflected up high and away.

In net, Kossoff made 29 saves on 31 shots, while McKay stopped 20 of 21 to collect the win.

Since New Year’s, the Mavericks have allowed just 25 goals in 19 games.  Of the 19 games, they have allowed more than 2 just once, a 5-3 win against Lake Superior. 

Lake Superior will look to extend their season tonight, as they aim to hand the Mavericks just their second loss on home ice all season (a 1-0 win by the Lakers on January 19th was the first).  Game time is at 8:07 p.m. EST.

WCHA Playoff Semifinal Series Preview: #20 Lake Superior State at #2 Minnesota State

#20 Lake Superior State: 23-11-2

#2  Minnesota State: 29-7-2

Favorited Mavs Looking to Gore Lakers

There are a lot of people online talking about how the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks could very well go on to win the whole NCAA tournament. Being behind only St. Cloud State in the USCHO poll & #3 behind St. Cloud State and UMass in the Pairwise this is to be expected. After seeing how they played this year, the point would be hard to argue. Against the upstart Lake State team, the Purple Bulls are 3-1…but remember, that 1 loss was at the Verizon Wireless Center.

The junior trio of forwards Marc Michaelis, Parker Tuomie and Charlie Gerard lead the Mavs in scoring. Michaelis leads the pack with 19-20-39, Turomie with 14-23-37 and Gerard has 10-17-27 total points. Dallas Gerads has the third most goals with 12, and 21 total points.

Dryden McKay is the outstanding freshman goaltender for Minnesota State. He has played in 30 of their 38 games and has posted a 21-6-2 record. Outgoing senior Mathias Israelsson has played in 10 games, with an 8-1-0 record. McKay has posted a 1.72 GAA and a .928 Save%.

There doesn’t seem to be many holes in their armor, so the Lakers will be in for a tough one.

First Playoff Series Win Propel Lakers

It has been a long time since the Lakers have won a playoff series, let alone one at home. But with a pair of 3-1 wins against the Bemidji State Beavers, the Lakers travel once again to Mankato, the site of many losses for the Lakers. But again, the Lakers beat them in their own arena once this year, and forced a game three against them in a previous playoff series.

Diego Cuglietta still leads the team with 24 goals, 16t assists for 40 total points on the season. He remains only a single point off of the century mark, and is one goal ahead of ASU’s Johnny Walker and NMU’s Troy Loggins for the most goals in NCAA D1 hockey.

Following behind him still are fellow senior Anthony Nellis (15-18-33) and junior Max Humitz (16-16-32). Humitz is poised to hit the 100 point mark next season, if he chooses to return. As of right now, going into this series he has 80 points. His lowest point total was last year with 23 points.

Unless something radical happens, I believe that for the rest of the WCHA playoffs with feature senior goaltender Nick Kossoff will have the net. Playing in 25 games, he has posted 17 wins, 6 losses and 2 ties alongside a 2.45 GAA and a .917 Save%. If the series goes three games, you may see Mitens.

There’s a lot that can happen this weekend. Please refer to the previous post for some of the highlights of the year if things go south. I’m certainly hoping this won’t be my final preview.

As always, the game will be streamed on FloHockey.tv, and can be heard locally over the air on 99.5 YesFM, online at yesfm.net or on the Tunein app. If the stream is down for YesFM, the Mankato audio stream can be heard on 1420 KTOE:http://radio.securenetsystems.net/v4/index.cfm?stationCallSign=KTOE

The school is also holding a viewing party for all (potentially) three games this weekend at Buffalo Wild Wings. Puck Drops at 8:05pm EDT for each game.

Sweep! Lakers down Bemidji State, advance to semifinals

Hampus Eriksson (extreme right) puts the eventual game winner over Bemidji State goaltender Zach Driscoll.

Lake State is moving on.

By picking up a 3-1 win, Lake Superior State won its first playoff series since their 2012 first round matchup against the University of Alaska.  That series was also at home and ended in a sweep.

“It was a big weekend for us,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten.  “We earned home ice and we had to defend it, so I thought we did a really good job.  You have to be good defensively this time of the year and I thought we defended at a high level.  You need great goaltending and we got that too.  Special teams need to be good and this weekend they were as well.”

Much like their game from the previous night, Lake Superior State (23-11-2) and Bemidji State (15-17-6) started out playing a wide open end to end game.  Unlike Friday’s game, however, the Beavers had a much easier time generating shots on net, as they built up a strong shot advantage in the early going.  Lake Superior fought back as the period wore on, closing the gap.

Lake Superior drew first blood when Max Humitz gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead that was initially waved off on the ice, despite the puck being in the net.  A short review validated the tally, giving the forward from Livonia, Michigan, his 16th goal of the season.

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Beavers struck back a short time later.  A heavy shot by Justin Baudry eluded Laker goalie Nick Kossoff, tying the game at one goal apiece before the conclusion of the second period.  After having been outshot 11-9 in the opening frame, Lake Superior outshot the Beavers 17-12 in the middle stanza.

Early in the third period, Lake Superior got its first power play opportunity when Ethan Somoza went off for hooking.  On the ensuing power play, Hampus Eriksson picked up a pass from the opposite faceoff circle and buried the puck behind Driscoll, restoring the Laker lead with his third goal of the year.

Following the goal, the Beavers upped the pressure, desperately trying to net the tying goal.  A pair of minor penalties hindered their efforts, with one coming immediately after the Eriksson goal and the other with less than 5 minutes to play.

In earning the win, Kossoff stopped 38 of 39 shots.  Driscoll, meanwhile, made 29 saves on 31 shots faced.

Interestingly, no penalties were called in the first two periods.  Like Friday, there were few trips to the sin bin in general.

By picking up two assists on the night, forward Diego Cuglietta is now sitting at 99 career points.  With one more goal or assist, he will become the first Laker to reach the century mark since Dominic Monardo did so in 2013.  Like Monardo, if he is to do it, it must happen on the road.

With all of the upper seeds winning their respective playoff series, the Lakers will venture to Mankato next weekend to take on regular season champion Minnesota State.  The Mavericks (29-7-2) dispatched Alabama Huntsville in their quarterfinal series.

 

Lakers pound Bemidji State 4-2 in quarterfinal matchup

In their first home playoff game since joining the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), the Lake Superior State Lakers earned a hard fought 4-2 win on the ice at the Taffy Abel Arena.

A successful power play was the difference maker for the Lakers (22-11-2), as they went 2 for 3 with the man advantage, and notched one more just after the expiration of another power play.

Both teams came out of the opening puck drop with a great deal of energy, as end to end rushes dictated the play through the early part of the first.  Bemidji State (15-16-6) drew first blood when freshman Nick Cardelli ripped the puck past Laker goaltender Nick Kossoff midway thru the first period.

Lake Superior evened things up early in the second when Jay Dickman went off for throwing the stick.  The Lakers sustained pressure on Driscoll, but could not capitalize on the power play itself.  Just eight seconds after the Beavers returned to full strength, Diego Cuglietta collected his own rebound and slipped it past the outstretched leg of Driscoll for his 24th goal of the season.  Cuglietta has the most goals in a season among all Lakers players since 1995-96.

Late in the middle frame, the Beavers were assessed another penalty, this time to Dillon Eichstadt for interference.  Much like on their first attempt, the Lakers were largly stymied by Driscoll .  Unlike their first power play, Lake Superior managed to capitalize, as a long shot by Lukas Kälble eluded the Beaver goalie, giving the home team its first lead of the night.

In the third period, on their next power play, Ashton Calder found Anthony Nellis all alone on the left side of Driscoll, who potted the puck before the netminder could get into position, giving the Lakers a 3-1 lead.

Shortly after the Nellis goal, the Lakers found themselves in a precarious position.  A delayed penalty to Steven Ruggiero enabled the Beavers to pull Driscoll for an extra attacker.  Brad Johnson rang a shot off of a goalpost that hit just right, going behind Kossoff and making the score a one goal affair.  Making matters worse for Lake Superior, the penalty still had to be served.  Luckily for the Lakers, their penalty kill proved up to the task and kept the Beavers at bay.

With time running out, Bemidji State reverted to a more physical game, hoping to earn the equalizer.  The Beavers were unsuccessful in this endeavour, and Max Humitz scored an empty netter from the blue line with 15 seconds to play, locking up a 4-2 win for Lake Superior.

In net, Kossoff made 29 of 31 saves.  Across the ice, Dirscoll stopped 17 of 20 shots.

The last time the Lakers hosted a playoff series was in 2012-13, which was the final season of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).  The Lakers fell in three games to Bowling Green State that season.

The two teams will play game two of the best-of-three quarterfinal series on Saturday.  Game time is 7:07 p.m. EST.

Postseason Series Preview: Bemidji State At #20 Lake Superior State University

Bemidji State: 15-15-6

#20 Lake Superior State: 21-11-2

Beavers Bouncing Back

First, let me congratulate all the teams that made it to the WCHA tournament this year, from top to bottom. As for Ferris & Anchorage: Better luck next year.

The Beavers from Bemidji has certainly had some interesting series this year: Starting the year at #13 North Dakota and taking the first game of the series, to splitting with Northern Michigan to start a 4-game streak, sweeping Anchorage in the process and taking one against Merrimack. Then: A four game losing skid, starting with Merrimack, heading into a series against #2 St. Cloud State, before splitting with #3 Minnesota State. After this start, we would see them splitting most series.

Going into the post season, they are led in scoring by senior defenseman & co-captain Justin Baudry, with 8-22-30pts. Following him are two forwards: sophomore Charlie Combs (11-10-21) and junior Adam Brady (8-13-21). In addition to Combs, Aaron Miller and Owen Sillinger round out the top 3 goal scorers.

Their goaltending situation is similar to that of the Lakers: Zach Driscoll has been the go-to, with the freshman netminder playing in 25 games & posting a 10-9-4 record with a 2.296 GAA and a .910 Save %. Henry Johnson, a sophomore, has played 14 games, with an overall record of 5-5-2, with a 1.96 GAA and a .916 Save %. Jack Burgart has a single start & posted a loss in that contest.

These two teams have met once before this season, on January 25th & 26th, with the Beavers losing Friday night before winning 5-3 Saturday.

Lakers Face Familiar Foes in Familiar Waters

Well, Laker fans, what a turnaround this series has been, eh?

The fans at the Taffy Abel Arena were able to thank the outgoing seniors and wish them off, in what would be their final regular season game…and for the first time in a long time, not their final home game of the year. The Lakers would go to split the weekend, and Senior Night was ruined with the loss Saturday.

Your top scorers and goal-getters are of no surprise: They’ve been the ones we’ve been talking about all season. Co-Captain Diego Cuglietta leads the pack with 23-14-37pts and is currently only 4 points off the century mark. Following him is fellow Senior & Assistant Captain Anthony Nellis, with 14-17-31pts and Max Humitz with 14-16-30pts. Everyone wants to see Diego hit that mark, but I hope the team does not try to feed him this weekend: winning is much more important than an individual record.

Kossoff, again, owns the net. Playing in 23 contests, the senior netminder has a 15-6-2 record, with a 2.53 GAA and a .913 Save %. Sophomore Mareks Mittens did not play last weekend, so his 11 games & 6-5-0 record and 2.31 GAA and .919 Save % remain unchanged.

The Lakers will have to play much better than they did the last time they saw Bemidji, and better than we saw for most of Saturday night’s game last week. They also cannot take any stupid penalties; the Beavers are too good of a team to give them any help. Note: The winner of this series will go on to face the winner of the Minnesota State-Alabama-Huntsville series.

Potential Parting Thoughts

Win or lose this weekend, we as fans should be proud of the team, it’s been full of fun little tidbits & records: with 23 goals, Diego has the most goals of any Laker since Joe Blaznek & Jason Sessa had 22 back in 1996-1997 season. Only one player since has even reached 20: Domenic Monardo. Staying with Diego, he is tied for first in most goals in NCAA with Arizona State’s Johnny Walker, & finally he is a Hobey Baker nominee.

With 21 wins on the season, Damon Whitten ties Jim Roque for the most wins in the regular season since Jeff Jackson left the school. Roque did it in 2006-2007, and Jackson posted 30 wins in his final season in 1995-1996

For the first time in program history, the Lakers took home a Great Lakes Invitational win.

They have been ranked every week since January 7th.

The Lakers have had 17 players be named for either Player of the Week or Player on the month between all categories:

Forwards: Gelsinger, Cuglietta, Humitz (x2), Nellis

Defenseman: Saccoman (x2 week, 2x Month), Ruggerio

Goaltender: Mitens & Kossoff

Rookie: Veillette, Nordqvist (1x week, 1x Month), Calder (x1 Week, x1 Month)

The puck drops at 7:07pm Friday and Saturday nights. If a third game is needed, it will be played at 4:07pm Sunday. Tickets are now available at the box office or online. If you are in the area, or can make to the arena, I implore you to, our boys will need all that energy. If you cannot make it, or are too far away, turn your dials to 99.5 YESfm, or online at yesfm.net, or use the Tunein App to listen to the game. Or you can watch the game online for a fee using FloHockey.tv, which is the official source to view every WCHA game.

Series Preview: Ferris State at #19 Lake Superior State

Ferris State: 9-22-3

#19 Lake Superior State: 20-10-2

Beaten Bulldogs

Ferris: What happened? Who did this to you? It was only a few years ago that you guys were a nWCHA powerhouse that rocked our world on the regular, and now you’re fighting for a playoff spot? On the outside looking in, Ferris State need some miracles to happen if they want to make the playoffs. First: They need to not lose more than 1 point on the weekend, and Alabama-Huntsville can’t get more than one point (maybe…not sure on the tiebreakers).

They are led in scoring by a pair of defensemen: Freshman Cooper Zech (8-20-28) and Junior Nate Kallen (7-16-23). Rounding out the top three is Senior forward Corey Mackin (7-15-22). Zech also leads the team in +/- with a +4.

In net, expect to see #30, Freshman Roni Salmenkangas, who has appeared in 26 games with a 3.28 GAA and a .886 Save%. Backup goaltender is Junior Justin Kapelmaster, with a 3.52 GAA and a .903 Save% in 12 games.

Senior Weekend

After being swept last weekend by their U.P Rivals, the Northern Michigan University Wildcats, the Lakers look to rebound and maintain home ice going into the playoffs. As it stands now, if LSSU can win at least one game, and Bemidji gets only two on Friday, the Lakers will secure home ice to start the playoffs (as long LSSU wins the tiebreaker, which I think we do). The Lakers could get as high as second place in the WCHA, but with Bowling Green facing off against Alabama-Huntsville, that seems unlikely.

(tl;dr: Root for Alabama, Minnesota State & Michigan Tech..assuming we go to sweep the weekend that is)

Seeing as this is also Senior Weekend for our outgoing seniors, it seems fitting that two of them are on top of the scoring list, those being Diego Cuglietta (20-14-34) and Anthony Nellis(14-16-30), with Junior Max Humitz(14-16-30) bringing up third. Diego had a bit of a slump last weekend, not getting any points against the Wildcats, so he is still 7 points out of being a 100 point scorer. Luckily, he’ll have at least 4 more games to get there.

The last few weeks have seen a goalie rotation. I would expect to see Senior Nick Kossoff out there at least Saturday night, for Senior Night, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he played the whole weekend. At this point in the year, both Kossoff and Mitens have similar Save %, but Mitens eeks ou ta slightly better GAA (but that is to be expected).

Rounding out our seniors this year is Steven Ruggerio, former US Gold Medalist for World Juniors, Providence Friar and current Anaheim Ducks draft pick. He has totaled 10 points thus far for the Lakers, and also leads the team in penalties, with 32 total penalties for 64 minutes.

And I can’t forget about Gage Torrel, though when the original article went up, I did. Right out of the gate anyone could see Gage was going to be something special for this team, and he was. Gage, Diego and Anthony were all on track to potentially get to that 100 point mark this season, but after being snakebitten for most of last season, Gage slowly fell out of that race, though he has posted an impressive 24 points this season.

Senior Night is always hard. Having watched most of these guys over the last four years, it can be hard to say goodbye, especially this year’s batch with and the talent that is leaving this team. Each and every one deserves the applause they’ll get during the ceremonies. Most years it is bitter sweet, however. Either because the team missed the playoffs, or because they’re headed to Mankato where we hadn’t won at, ever.

But this year is different. This year hope is in the air. We are looking to have home ice for the first time in years, and it feels like we can win a round too. We have a win against every team in the WCHA, so that locker room knows they can beat anybody. If I dare peek ahead, playoff wins also count towards Pairwise, so there’s still an outside shot that the Laker could make their first NCAA appearance in over 20 years even without a playoff championship, seeing as they are still #20 in the Pairwise. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, as we have to take each weekend one night a time – it just feels good to be optimistic.

As always, the puck drops at 7:07pm both Friday and Saturday nights. Senior night will also be held Saturday before the game. 99.5 YesFM will carry the game locally, as will their stream on  Yesfm.net, or through the TuneIn App. Flohockey.tv is your source for WCHA hockey this season, so those of you who can’t make it to the arena can watch the game live there.

Updated: Senior night celebrations are before the game Saturday night. Also included Gage Torrel as part of the senior crew since I somehow missed him last night.

Series Preview: #18 Lake Superior State at Northern Michigan


#18 Lake Superior State: 20-8-2

Northern Michigan: 15-14-2

Father Cappo’s Cup Part Deux

This is the second part of the annual Cappo Cup series between Northern Michigan and LSSU. Going into this series, hosted in Marquette, the series is tied 1-1, with a +1-goal differential going to LSSU.

This year’s Wildcat team has gotten a lot of help from their blue line in scoring, as their top scorer is junior defenseman Philip Beaulieu, who in 30 games has amassed 5 goals and 23 assists for 28 points. Close behind him is senior Troy Loggins (15g 12a for 27tp) then by Adam Rockwood, another senior forward with 5 goals, 16 assists and 21 points.

The net has been owned by the excellent senior Finnish netminder Atte Tolvanen, who has played in every game this season, earning their 15-14-2 record, with a 2.31 GAA and .915 Save%. Freshman backup Nolan Kent has appeared in 2 games, but looks like mostly in relief as no wins or losses are attributed to him.

After last year’s run, this year has certainly been a disappointment to Wildcat fans, and there are certainly some questions concerning the future progress of the team, especially in net. Tolvanen has played very well in spite of some of the play in front of him over the years, even managing to score a goal this season. With the workhorse leaving after this season, I hope for the sake of their fans they have another workhorse or two coming in next season.

Cappo Cup 2: Electric Boogaloo

What can be said about this team that hasn’t already been said across the College Hockey world this last week? I’ll for sure be doing a writeup at some point as a retrospective on the season, but needless to say it’s been one for the ages. I can’t imagine what this year must be like for longtime fans, who’ve seen some of the worst seasons the Lakers have had.

This year, though, has been a dream. Another dream may be realized over the next few weeks: another 100 point scorer. That player is Diego Cuglietta, who has a total of 93 points heading into this weekend. (34 senior, 23 junior, 25 sophomore,11 freshman). After him looks to be Max Humitz, who has 73 points, of course he should be hitting it next season. Tied with Humitz, for this season’s point total, is Anthony Nellis with 30 points.

Kossoff again owns the net, though Mitens did post a huge win Friday night against rival Michigan Tech. It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen in net over the weekend, and I’ve been wrong almost every time I’ve guessed this season, so use your imagination.

Puck drops both Friday and Saturday at 7:07 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, MI. In the Soo, the game will be broadcast on 99.5 YESFm, and can be heard online at yesfm.net and on the TuneIn App. FloHockey.tv will also have the video for the game.

Series Preview: Michigan Tech @ #19 Lake Superior State University

 

Michigan Tech: 12-14-4

#19 Lake Superior State: 18-8-2

 

WhatYearIsIt.meme

I think if you asked any Laker or Husky fan this time last season, who would be ranked higher in the pairwise, or USCHO polls, I don’t think many would’ve answered the Lakers. Yet here we are: with three weeks left to go in the season, the Lakers are ranked #19 in both the USCHO and Pairwise rankings, whereas Michigan Tech sits unranked in the poll, and #42 in the Pairwise.

That’s not to say that Michigan Tech is a bad team. In fact, they’ve played against a number of ranked opponents, and split against #14 Wisconsin & #10 Bowling Green. Senior Jake Lucchini continues to be a driving force for the Huskies, scoring 7 goals, 15 assists for 22 points. Behind him are Sophomore defenseman Seamus Donohue with 1 goal, 16 assists & 17 points and Brian Halonen, freshman, with 9 goals, 7 assists and 16 points.

They’ve certainly spread some love around the net this season. Junior Matt Jurusik has 15 games under his belt this year, going 7-5-2, whereas sophomore Robbie Beydoun has played in 12 contests and going 4-6-1. Devin Kero, the senior statesman, has only played in 6 games, going 1-3-1.  It was Robbie Beydoun who was in net the only time these two teams have faced each other this season: in the GLI championship game where he allowed 4 goals (a fifth came with an empty net). to Nick Kossoff’s 3.

My belief is that they will split the net again this weekend, unless whomever starts Friday just knocks it out of the park. My gut is also telling me that we will be seeing Beydoun Friday night for two reasons: 1) He’s already played against this Laker team this season and 2) To give him some redemption.

Lakers Gear up for Playoffs…and what comes next

Well…this season has certainly been interesting. Sure, I was hoping the Lakers were going to have a good season, but there were a lot of question marks concerning some of the incoming players & the kind of impact they were going to have on the team. For those who’ve had any amount of ice time, their impact has.been.felt. That’s not even taking into account the returning players who’ve really came out swinging. At this point, I would love to wax poetic, but I think I’ll save that for the post-season coverage.

The focus this weekend are the Michigan Tech Huskies. Since realignment Michigan Tech has had the Laker’s number, and their more outspoken fans will do everything to make sure you know that. But this season feels like a turning point in the rivalry, what with winning the Great Lakes Invitational.

This preview wouldn’t be as positive if it wasn’t for the hard work of these players. LSSU has three point-a-game players: In seniors & Hobey Baker candidates Diego Cuglietta (18-13-31 in 28 GP) and Anthony Nellis (14-15-29 in 28GP) and Junior Max Humitz (12-15-27 in 26GP).

Nick Kossoff has owned the Laker’s net for most of the season, having gone 13-4-2 in 19 games played. Mareks Mitens has appeared In 9 games, having gone 5-4-0 and Roman Bengert was put in for part of a period to give him a little bit of time in net, but has gone down with a 0-0-0 record.

The Lakers will have to find a way to win not only Friday night, but also Saturday night, which they have not done at home this season, if they want to gain some ground in the Pairwise. Of course, they’ll need the teams surrounding them to lose, but in order to get into the top 16 our boys in blue are going to have to play lights out hockey over these last three weeks of the regular season.

The puck drops both nights ay 7:07pm at the Taffy Able Arena here in Sault Sainte Marie. The game can be heard locally on 99.5 YESFm, or for those not in the area, Bill Crawford will have the play by play on the YESFM stream, or on the TuneIn app. If you care to watch the game, but not in the arena, it will be shown on FloHockey for a fee. Saturday is also Check.Slash.Survive, the rebranded Pink in the Rink, so please stop by the arena and help support that initiative, even if you are unable to attend the game.

 

Series Preview: #20 Lake Superior State at Ferris State

 

#20 Lake Superior State: 16-8-2

Ferris State: 7-18-1

 

Festering Ferris Falls Behind

What a season it has been for the Ferris State Bulldogs. Head coach of the Bulldogs is now in his 27th season with the school and has an overall record of 444-466-101. During his tenure, they’ve had some massive success: making a tournament appearance in 2003, 2012, 2014 & 2016, winning the WCHA tournament in 2016, winning regular season titles in 2002-2003, 2011-12 and 2013-14. Heck, in 2012 they made their lone Frozen Four appearance. You wouldn’t know that if you asked the fanbase how they feel, or by looking at the standings, as they are now 7 points out of the playoffs, sitting above Alaska Anchorage.

With this in mind, they did shut out #9 Bowling Green last Saturday 3-0 after shutout Friday night 2-0. Despite all the above doom and gloom, they do have a bright light on their team, and that’s Freshman Defenseman Cooper Zech, who is tied at #7 in scoring in the conference, alongside LSSU’s own Max Humitz and Jared Spooner, all with 23 points. Another Defenseman, Junior Nate Kallen is second in scoring and senior forward Corey Mackin make up the top 3 Ferris State scorers.

Roni Salmenkangas is the go-to goaltender for the Bulldogs, having played in 20 games, but he does hold a 3.69 Goals Against Average and a .878 Save %. Justin Kapelmaster, a junior, is their backup, playing in 9 games and holding a 2.94 GAA and a .923 Save %.

 

Whitten’s Wonderful Traveling Circus

This team feels like a mystery wrapped in an enigma this season. They’ve won 12 games on the road (counting the GLI), and have lost 2. At home, in 6 series (12 games), the Lakers have won 4 games, all of them on Friday. This brings up a lot of questions, but that’s probably for another article.

After last weekend’s set of games, Diego Cuglietta is still a point-a-game scorer, with 26 points in 26 games. Close behind him are Anthony Nellis and Max Humitz. Now, Max Humitz has been on one hell of a scoring streak since the Great Lakes Invitational, being within one goal of a hat trick at least twice since the tournament.

The goaltending situation is still a bit muddled. Nick Kossoff had an amazing game last Friday night, but would probably want to forget his performance Saturday night (though, the rest of the team may follow suit). We’ll see if Whitten & Co will split the net this weekend, but I expect Nick to start at least Friday night.

 

Puck drops at 7:07 at the Robert L. Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids both Friday and Saturday nights, for those who are travelling to the game or who are in the area. Bill Crawford will have the call on 99.5 YESFm, or through YESFM streaming online on their website or on TuneIn. You can also watch the game through Flohockey.tv. For those in the Sault this weekend, the school will be hosting a viewing party Friday night at Buffalo Wild Wings.