Lakers nicked by Maverick buzz saw

Lake Superior State faced the wrong opponent for a team looking to right the ship on its season.

Minnesota State, the top team in the major college hockey polls, and largely seen as the team to beat in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) showed exactly why they were so ranked with a series sweep over the Lakers with 5-1 and 2-0 wins at home.

Both Friday and Saturday night saw the Mavericks (14-1-1, 9-1-0 WCHA) outshoot Lake Superior (5-14-1, 3-8-1 WCHA) in the first period, yet be held scoreless thanks to the play of goaltender Mareks Mitens.  The Lakers were outshot by nearly identical 11-7 and 12-7 margins in both opening periods on the weekend.

Although they held the hosts off the board in the first, the Mavericks broke thru in the second on both night.  On Friday, Minnesota State took advantage of Laker penalties, as Dallas Gerards and Parker Toomie each netted goals with the extra man.  Pete Veillette got the Lakers on the board late in the second, but that was all the offense the Lakers mustered all weekend.  Three more goals in the third for Minnesota State (one more on the power play) sealed the deal.

Saturday night, Lake Superior shut down the Minnesota State, yet surrendered a goal on special teams regardless, with a shorthanded goal in the second period.  A goal late in the third capped off the scoring for the Mavericks.

The end result could have been worse for the Lakers, as they benefited from 5 shots Minnesota State rang off the pipes on the weekend.

With the win, Minnesota State extended their winning streak to 9 games, not having lost since falling to Bowling Green in overtime on November 1st.  Lake Superior, meanwhile, fell to 1-8-1 in their last 10.

Lake Superior returns home this weekend for the final home series of 2019.  They face Bowling Green this Friday and Saturday.  Game time is 7 p.m. both nights.

Happy Thanksgiving, and This Weekend’s Series

Howdy everyone. First, I’d like to wish all of our American readers a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all had you fill of turkey, ham, or whatever you were able to get in your gullet.

Because this week was a busy one, and also since we literally just played Bemidji a few weeks ago, not much has really changed for the Lakers or Beavers, so there will be no normal series preview for this week. I’m also now realizing I never did a preview for the last series, ha. I do apologize for the spotty schedule, but things have been a bit hectic around here lately. Hopefully they settle down enough to get back to normal soon.

If you really want a preview, here it goes:

Lakers good. Beavers Bad. Beavers beat Lakers bad last meeting. Lakers need to get them back. Listen in on 99.5 either locally or online, or on Flohockey.tv, or bring the family with this weekend’s Black Friday special from Laker Hockey – Get up to 6 tickets for only $18!

Puck drops Friday at 7:00pm, and Saturday at 5:00pm.

Lakers salvage split with Bowling Green, end five game skid

Alex Ambrosio scored the game winner on Saturday night after taking a game misconduct the previous night. Ambrosio’s goal helped the Lakers snap a five game losing streak (Mike Barrett/LHB).

After a rough Friday night that saw Lake Superior State outshot 32-18 by No. 17 Bowling Green State in a 5-0 loss, the Lakers rebounded with a strong physical effort for a 3-1 win at the Slater Family Ice Arena.

This series saw a bit of everything: tons of special teams play, a shutout, a penalty shot and a broken pane of glass to boot.

It also saw Lake Superior earn its first road win of the season, snapping a five game skid in the process.

Friday saw Bowling Green (8-5-0, 5-3-0 WCHA) open up a 2-0 lead with tallies from Max Johnson and Sam Craggs, despite the Lakers (5-11-0, 3-5-0 WCHA) holding a slim 10-9 advantage in shots.  A barrage of shots by the Falcons resulted in another goal in the second period, this time from Cameron Wright.

Despite killing a major penalty taken by Alex Ambrosio, Lake Superior could not contain the Falcons, as a hooking penalty by Max Humitz led to a penalty shot for Bowling Green, in which Connor Ford scored on Lakers goaltender Mareks Mitens, making the score 4-0.  A final tally, this time on the power play from Evan Dougherty, gave the host Falcons a 5-0 lead.  Coupled with Bowling Green netminder Eric Dop stopping all 18 shots he faced, the score held up as the final.

Saturday night saw Lake Superior come out playing hard and heavy, frustrating the Bowling Green team at every turn.  An oddity occurred with 51 seconds remaining in the period when a Falcon player inadvertently shattered a pane of glass.  With the incident occurring so late in the period, the teams were sent to the locker room for the first intermission early.  The final seconds of the first period were played after the intermission, after which the two teams switched ends to play the second period.

The grit demonstrated by the Lakers led to them scoring the first goal of the game, as Pete Veillette capitalized on a power play opportunity, while the Falcon’s Tyler Schneider was off for slashing.  Connor Ford earned his second goal of the weekend 1:16 later, sending the teams to the locker rooms tied after 40 minutes of play.

At 4:17 of the final period, Ambrosio potted his third goal of the season, putting the Lakers ahead 2-1.  A tense period followed, as Bowling Green had a golden opportunity to tie the game when Laker captain Collin Saccoman was ejected and charged with a 5 minute major for contact to the head.  The physical play of Lake Superior continued to punish the Falcons, and an empty netter from Humitz sealed the 3-1 win for the visitors and a series split.

For Humitz, it was his 50th career collegiate goal.

Both teams had their share of special teams play, as the Lakers went 0 for 8 on Friday and 1 for 5 on Saturday, while Bowling Green was 2 for 7 on Friday and 1 for 6 on Saturday.  Lake Superior racked up 62 penalty minutes, while the Falcons had 44 of their own.

Despite being outshot on the weekend, Lake Superior won the battle in the faceoff circle, going 38-32 on Friday and 39-37 the following night.

Lake Superior returns home this weekend to face Bemidji State.  The teams met earlier this month, with the Beavers sweeping the Lakers by scores of 7-1 and 5-1.

 

Series Preview: Lake Superior State @ #17 Bowling Green

Bowling Green: 7-4-0 overall

Lake Superior State: 4-10-0

A New Falconer Forces Progress

One big changeup in college hockey this past summer was that there was going to be a change behind the bench for the Falcons. 9-Year bench boss for BG, Chris Bergeron, after a spot opened up in his Alma Mater of Miami (Ohio).  Bergeron was the first coach since Jerry York, whose tenure ran between 1979-1994, to post a positive win percentage for the team.

Now leading the club is Ty Eigner, a 1993 graduate of Bowling Green. He is off to a good start too, posting a 7-4-0 record thus far. The wins come curtasey of Miami (Ohio), a sweep of Western in a home-and-home series (after a loss to them at the Icebreaker), the split with Michigan Tech, a split in an overtime win with Minnesota State-Mankato before finally sweeping Alaska Anchorage.

Bowling Green is led in scoring by senior defenseman Alec Rauhauser who has 12 points, Connor Ford, a junior forward has 11 points and Alex Barber, a sophomore forward follows up with 10 total points. Cameron Wright, a junior forward leads the team with 8 goals. Eric Dop is the go-to goalie this year, playing in 10 of their 11 games. He has a 7-3-0 record, a 2.19 GAA and a .914 Save%.

Lakers Not Weathering Early Storms

Whew this season has been rough. At this point last season, the Lakers were flying high at 6-3-1 record (6-4 if you count the tie as a loss, as it was in 3v3 OT). They started the season winning 7 straight, between 2 on-conference series, an exhibition weekend, and a weekend of WCHA play. It seemed the team morale was high, fans were having fun (and would continue to do so, winning another 8 straight after dropping three in a row).

This campaign isn’t as much fun. While we have played against two ranked opponents so far this season, keeping it closer than the score says with then #2 Denver, then a few weeks later at #5 Notre Dame, they were swept by a really bad Michigan team, having won only 3 games this season (the other win coming from a pounding of Western), they have yet to win a conference game and sit at the bottom of the B1G. And save for Saturday night’s game against cross UP rivals Michigan Tech, they have been mostly blown out.

The defense corp needs to figure itself out. There was only one loss in that department after last season, Steven Ruggerio. Ruggerio, as a refresher, was second in the nation with the number of penalties taken  (36), and only scored 11 points on the year, and blocking 57 shots (second to Colin Saccoman). Saccoman already has 9 points on the season. Only two defensemen ended their year with a worse +/-. Anderson and Semandel, but they only played 29 and 17 games respectively, whereas Ruggerio played in all but one. This isn’t trying to say that Steven wasn’t a good player, he was, but losing just guy shouldn’t make the blue line this porous. The goaltending could step it up too, but when the play in front of him is subpar, there’s only so much one man can do.

A split or sweep this weekend would do wonders for this team and it’s fans. Bowling Green is a long time rival of the Lakers, going all the way back to the CCHA days. And save for the playoff series that we don’t talk about, the Lakers always seem to step up their game against the Falcons.

Max Humitz notched another point last week, bringing his career point total to 88.

Puck drops at 7:00pm both Friday and Saturday nights in Bowling Green. Listen to the game locally by tuning your dial to 99.5, or listen through TuneIn or other streaming methods.If you want to view the game, FloHockey is where you need to go. Get every in conference game for one price.

Series Preview: Michigan Tech Huskies at Lake Superior State

Michigan Tech: 3-6-0

Lake Superior State: 4-8-0

Slow Start for the Huskies

The almighty Michigan Tech Huskies, who have been near the top of the standings year in and out are off to a bit of a slow start this season. After sweeping OOC opponents Robert Morris at RMU, the dogs have only won one game in the last 7 games, and that was against the then #17 Bowling Green. All the losses have been within 3 points (most of them 1 or 2).

Led behind the bench by former Laker Joe Shawhan, who is in his third season, and are captained by Raymond Brice, with Alex Smith and Seamus Donohue serving as alternates. Interesting enough, Brice has played in only 5 games for the Huskies, with 0 goals and 0 assists, but with 1 penalty.

In terms of scoring, the boys in Blue and Yellow are led by sophomore forward Alex Broetzman, who leads the team with 7 points. Following behind him is Parker Saretsky, a freshman who has 6 points, then Colin Swoyer, a sophomore defenseman with 5 points, all of them assists.

There seems to be a bit of a battle in net, with Tech playing three different ones. Senior Mat Jurusik leads with 5 games played, a 2-3-0 record, with a GAA of 2.04 and a .926 Save%. Robbie Beydoun, a junior, has appeared in 4 games, a 1-2-0 record, a 2.16 GAA and a .915 Save%. Finally, Freshman Blake Pietila has shown up in 2 games, a 0-1-0 record, GAA of 1.54 and a Save% of .923.

Choppy Seas Hinder Lakers

Some of us were wondering if maybe last years success was a fluke. Coming out of the gate a sweeping Merrimack, then playing two very close games to losses against the then #2 Denver Pioneers helped quite that crowd down a bit, since while we started the year 2-2-0, those two Denver losses were closer than the score appears to be. However, four straight losses against B1G teams brought morale down. Even the sweep of Ferris State has been hindered by the slaughtering the Lakers took against Bemidji State last weekend, being outscored 12-2.

The blue line has proved to be a bit porous, and the goaltending has been very hot and cold. Combine all this with bad turnovers and you have yourself a bad time.  Maybe it’s time to see what freshman goaltender Seth Eisele has to offer in net.

The Humitz Road-To-100-Points total is currently sitting at 87 total career points.

Puck drops at 7:00pm both Friday and Saturday nights. Listen to the game locally by tuning your dial to 99.5, or listen through TuneIn or other streaming methods. If you want to watch, but are away from town, FloHockey has all in-conference WCHA games for a nominal fee.

Beavers pound Lakers on road

Alex Ambrosio (seen here against Denver) had one of the two Laker goals in Bemidji this weekend, as Lake Superior fell by scores of 7-1 and 5-1 (Mike Barrett/LHB)

A rough weekend in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play has Lake Superior State searching for their first road win of the 2019-20 season.

Quite a departure from their road mark of last season.

On the road to Bemidji State, the Beavers took no prisoners Friday night with a 7-1 drubbing of the Lakers.  The following night saw much of the same, albeit with a more forgiving 5-1 final score.

Max Humitz’ 6th goal of the season, which came midway thru the 3rd period on Friday, kept Zach Driscoll from shutting the Lakers out completely.  Alex Ambrosio had Lake Superior’s lone tally on Saturday, his 2nd of the year.

Mareks Mitens started Friday night, but was chased after two periods and five goals.  Roman Bengert allowed two in relief during the final period.  Lake Superior was outshot 41-27 in a game that only had two penalties all night — one to Bemidji State’s Tyler Kirkup and one to Lake Superior’s Alec Semandel.

Saturday night saw Bengert getting the start from head coach Damon Whitten.  A 3 goal 2nd period for the Beavers led to, in an odd reversal of fortune from the previous night, Bengert being pulled for Mitens.  Shots were 26-19 in favour of Bemidji State at the end of the night.

One statistical category that the Lakers had going for them was faceoffs.  Lake Superior was 35-32 in the circle on Friday, and went 39-22 on Saturday.

This coming weekend will see the Lakers hosting Michigan Tech.  Game time on Friday and Saturday is at 7 p.m. EST.

Three Lakers garner Player of the Week accolades

Louis Boudon challenges Ferris State goaltender Carter McPhail on a breakaway chance on Saturday night. Boudon was one of three Lakers this week to earn WCHA Player of the Week honours.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) today announced its selections for the weekly Player of the Week honors.  Three Laker players were recognized by the league for their contributions on the ice during this past weekend against Ferris State.

Earning Forward of the Week was sophomore Ashton Calder.  Calder, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, had 2 goals and 3 assists on the weekend.  Both goals came in the third period on Friday night, with one on the power play.  Saturday saw 2 of his 3 assists for the weekend, with both coming on the power play.  The sophomore beat out a host of other players around the league, with Alaska Anchorage freshman Nick Wicks coming the closest to Calder point-wise, with 4 assists.  For Calder, this was the third time he had been named a player of the week.

Collin Saccoman, named Defenceman of the Week, was one of eight players nominated throughout the WCHA.  The Laker co-captain had 3 goals on the weekend, with both Saturday tallies on the power play.  Adding an assist on Friday night brought his weekend point total to 4.  Saccoman, a senior who hails from Stillwater, Minnesota, earned three Defenceman of the Week awards last season, along with two Defenceman of the Month accolades.

Freshman forward Louis Boudon became the first Laker this season to be named Rookie of the Week.  A forward from Grenoble, France, Boudon had an assist on Friday before piecing together a 3 point game Saturday night.  Four other freshmen were nominated for Rookie of the Week, including an opponent from the weekend in defenceman Jake Willets, who had 3 assists for Ferris State.

The only award the Lakers did not claim this week was Goaltender of the Week, which was won by Alaska’s Anton Martinsson.

Saccoman’s two goals propel Lakers to sweep of Ferris State

Collin Saccoman celebrates his second goal of the night, as the Lakers sweep their opening league series against Ferris State with a 4-3 Saturday night win (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Collin Saccoman had two goals and the Lake Superior State Lakers held off another late Ferris State rally as the Lakers swept the weekend series with the Bulldogs in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play with a 4-3 Saturday night win at the Taffy Abel Arena.

For the Lakers (4-6-0, 2-0-0 WCHA), it was their first sweep of Ferris State (2-5-0, 0-4-0 WCHA) on home ice since November 12-13, 2010.  The Lakers swept the Bulldogs with 1-0 and 4-0 scores.  Last season, Lake Superior managed its first road sweep of the Bulldogs since 1993.

Like the Friday night matchup, the first period saw no scoring.  Shots were much more even than they were on the previous night, with the Bulldogs holding a slim 13-12 margin after one period.  Laker goaltender Mareks Mitens and Ferris State netminder Carter McPhail (a former Soo Eagle) matched zeroes for over a period.

Lake Superior opened the scoring when Ferris State’s Dominic Lutz was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct for kneeing Jacob Nordqvist.  Nordqvist did not return to the game, but Saccoman earned a goal on the ensuing power play.

Ferris State struck back a mere 15 seconds later when Dallas Tulik, serving the Lutz penalty, exited the box and got in alone on Mareks Mitens.  Lake Superior reclaimed the lead late in the period, when freshman Louis Boudon notched his second goal of the season.

The third period began with another Ferris State player getting the gate, as Coale Norris was called for checking from behind, taking Saccoman down in the process.  As they did earlier, the Lakers made the Bulldogs pay, as Saccoman returned and put Lake Superior up 3-1.

The Lakers got another goal, this time from Pete Veillette, extending the lead to three goals.  Veillette’s first of the season came with under 11:00 to play.

Just as they did on Friday, however, the Bulldogs put together a rally that made things interesting.  Tulik scored his second of the night with 4:12 remaining.  Then, with McPhail pulled and Max Humitz in the box, Ferris State climbed within one goal.

Desperately pushing for overtime, the visitors threw everything they could at Mitens, but the native of Ventspils, Latvia, held strong, ensuring a 4-3 final score.

Mitens made 20 saves on 23 shots, while McPhail stopped 33 of 37 he faced.

Prior to the game, the Lakers honoured Sault Ste. Marie mayor Tony Bosbous on the ice.  Bosbous has served as mayor since 2001 and elected not to seek reelection.  His term will end on Election Day.

Ferris State will host the Lakers down at Ewigleben Ice Arena at the end of the regular season.  With the setup of the WCHA schedule, the Lakers and Bulldogs always play four games a season, including a series to conclude the year.

Lake Superior is home in two weeks time, welcoming the Michigan Tech Huskies to town.  Both Friday and Saturday games will comme-nce at 7 p.m. EST.

Lakers snap skid with wild win over Ferris State

The Lakers celebrate the overtime winner by Max Humitz (right). Lake Superior won 5-4, snapping a six game losing streak (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Coming off of a four game road trip that saw them come up fruitless, Lake Superior State needed a bounce back win to snap a six game losing streak as they entered Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play.

The Ferris State Bulldogs did not allow the drought to end quietly.

The Lakers (3-6-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) held a 2 goal lead late in the 3rd period, but two quick goals by the Bulldogs (2-4-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) forced overtime, where Max Humitz found the back of the net to claim a 5-4 victory at the Taffy Abel Arena.

Lake Superior came out hungry in the opening period, peppering Bulldogs netminder Roni Salmenkangas with many quality shots, including a crossbar.  The native of Tampere, Finland, held off the Lakers’ onslaught.  His goaltending counterpart across the ice, Mareks Mitens, stopped all 6 shots he saw in the opening period, sending the teams back to the dressing room tied 0-0 after one period.

After holding their respective opponents scoreless, it was Salmenkangas who blinked first.  Laker defenceman Mitch Oliver drilled a shot on net that Salmenkanags initially stopped, but gave up a big rebound that found the stick of sophomore forward Pete Veillette, who hit the wide open net, breaking the scoreless deadlock.

Ferris State did not wait long to respond, as Jake Transit scored his 2nd goal of the season, getting the Bulldogs on the board.  A mere 2:02 later, Jason Tackett capitalized on a power play, allowing Ferris State to take their first lead of the night.

Late in the second period, the Lakers found themselves with a two man advantage, as Marshall Moise was off for cross checking, while the Bulldogs were serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice.  Two posts spared Ferris State from suffering any damage on the attempt, however, as the visitors held a slim 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Lake Superior amped up the pressure on Salmenkangas and the Bulldog D corps as the 3rd period wore on, with Ashton Calder breaking thru for the Lakers, tying the score at 2 goals apiece with 13:36 remaining.

The Lakers had a golden opportunity to retake the lead midway thru the 3rd period when Ferris State’s Oskar Andren closed his hand around the puck while standing in the crease and made a hand pass, which led to a Laker penalty shot.  Max Humitz took the shot, but was stopped by Salmenkangas.

Although they failed to convert on the penalty shot, Lake Superior kept pressing, and a shot by Collin Saccoman from the right circle was tipped by Will Reidell, putting the Lakers ahead 3-2.

A throwing the stick penalty was assessed to Ferris State’s Connor Fedorek, which enabled Lake Superior to go up by two goals, as Calder potted his second of the night with 5:01 left to play.

Down but not out, the Bulldogs responded over a minute later when Brendan MacLaren cut the Ferris State deficit to one goal.  Showing a never-say-die attitude, the team from Big Rapids found the tying goal thanks to Tackett cashing in again, which sent the contest to overtime, deadlocked at 4.

Overtime saw Lake Superior dominate, outshooting the Bulldogs 6-1.  With under 30 seconds to play, Humitz found the back of the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Though he was not tested as often as Salmenkangas, Mitens made a number of big saves himself, including a huge one with under 3:00 to play to preserve the then-lead, tallying up 24 by the end of the game.  Salmenkangas made 35 saves on 40 shots in defeat.

The series will conclude on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. faceoff.

Series Preview: Ferris State at Lake Superior State

Ferris: 2-3-0 Overall

Lake Superior State: 2-6-0 Overall

First, I would like to apologize for the lack of previews over the last couple of weeks. For the Michigan series, I was still getting over the sickness I got while on vacation. Then last week a stick of RAM decided to die in my PC, which made pretty much anything that I opened became corrupted, and that didn’t get fixed until late Friday. So, let’s get back on track:

Bulldogs In the Doghouse

The start of the Bulldog’s season has been an interesting one. Since starting NCAA play, they’ve beat Colgate in a best-of-one, and split with Miami in Miami before getting swept by conference rivals Northern Michigan on their own ice.

They are led by senior defenseman Nate Kallen with senior forward Dominic Lutz being named as an alternative captain. Bob Daniels also returns for his 28th season as bench boss. Roni Salmenkangas, the Finnish sophomore goalie looks to be their workhorse, playing in 4 games, with Carter McPhail, a Michigan native having played in two games looking like the backup in the early part of the season, although other than the two wins that Salmenkangas has posted, their stat lines look very similar.

Lake State Heading Toward Dry Dock

While there may  have been a number of fans who though the Lakers were going to come out swinging, starting off where they left off last year, I was not really one of them. Excited to see what would happen? Sure. But losing the likes of Nellis and Cuglietta scoring was going to depend greatly on who could step – would it be sophomore Mucha? One of the Freshman? So far Humitz and Erikson lead the pack with 8 total points, followed closely by Ashton Calder and Collin Saccoman, each of whom have 6 total points.

Looking at the start of this season, it has not been easy on the Lakers. After sweeping Merrimack to start the season, they’ve dropped six straight, all against non-conference opponents and two ranked teams. In those six games, they’ve been outscored 26-13. With this week starting conference play, the rest of the team has to step up and contribute more.

Both games this weekend drop the puck at 7:00pm EST. Bill Crawford will have the call on 99.5 YesFM, both locally and streaming online. WCHA Partner FloHockey will have the livestream from the Taffy Abel Arena if you want to watch the game but can’t make it to the arena.