Series Preview: Barrett Wedding

 

Brittany & Mike Record (as of 10/13/2018): 2243.5-0-0

 

“A long time ago in a (county) far, far away…”

So, normally in this spot we’d be talking about who the Lakers are playing this weekend, and look at the matchup, but this week we have an exhibition series against NIppising University, which will likely be more about line combinations than anything else.

Instead, there is a more important match being made this weekend, and that’s the wedding of two of my best friends, Brittany Litchard and Mike Barrett. It’s been six long years since they’ve started dating, and after about a year of being engaged, they will finally be tying the knot. But how did we get to this point?

“…That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you…”

Mike & Brittany started dating in the waning days of the summer of 2012. I had known Brittany for about a year, as she had previously dated one of my roommates in college. My only impression of Mike at the time was based off of what Brittany had told me about him, which painted him in a much different light than how he was.

Having moved back to the Sault at the tail end of that year, after graduating in April, I’ve been lucky enough to witness their relationship grow. They’ve been through some trying times together and have come out on top.

It’s certainly a cliché to say that a couple is perfect for each other, but for these two, it seems to hold true. A weakness of one is the strength of another, and because of that both have grown in ways that nobody could’ve expected having seen them together in their early days.

 

Saturday will mark their 2243rd day as a couple. Surrounded by a slew of family and friends, they will tie the knot near the Straits of Mackinac, which fittingly joins two of the Great Lakes, Michigan and Huron. It’ll mark the end of one six year journey and the start of the rest of their lives.

From me, personally, I just want to thank Mike and Brittany for allowing me to be a part of their special day & a part of their lives. Congratulations.

Veillette, Mitens earn WCHA weekly accolades; Nellis play named USCHO Play of the Week

Mareks Mitens stretches during a pregame warmup prior to his first collegiate start. The sophomore goaltender earned his first WCHA weekly award with his 31 save shutout against Merrimack (Dennis Menard/LHB)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) announced its weekly award winners for the weekend of October 6th and 7th.  Among the recipients of the honors this week were sophomore goaltender Mareks Mitens and freshman forward Pierre-Luc Veillette.

Mitens, a native of Ventspilis, Latvia, started his first game of the season on Sunday, October 7th.  In the game, he earned the second shutout  of his collegiate career by stopping all 31 shots he faced as the Lakers won a tightly contested 1-0 victory over the Merrimack Warriors.  The sophomore edged out Bowling Green State junior goaltender Ryan Bednard to capture the honors.

Although he was nominated for Rookie of the Week twice last season, this is the first time he has won a weekly conference award.

Veillette, a freshman forward from Drummondville, Quebec, earned two assists this weekend, both coming in a 5-4 Saturday evening win.  As this was the first week of play in his first season in college, it naturally follows that this is the first time he has either won or been nominated for weekly conference honors.  In winning the award, Veillette beat out defenseman Tim Theocharidis of Bowling Green.

Also receiving nominations for Lake Superior this weekend were junior forward Max Humitz and freshman defenseman Jacob Nordqvist.  Humitz had two goals over the weekend, including the game winner on Sunday afternoon, while Nordqvist had two assists in the Saturday evening win.  Coincedentally, Nordqvist’s two assists both came on goals by senior forward Diego Cuglietta and were the same goals that Veilletts had his two assists on.

Penalty shot named Play of the Week by USCHO

In addition to the awards garnered by Veillette and Mitens, Anthony Nellis’ game-winning penalty shot was selected as the top play of the week by U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO).  His play beat out Arizona State goaltender Joey Daccord earning an assist and a goal by Minnesota’s Rem Pitlick.

 

Mitens earns shutout, Lakers earn sweep over Warriors

Mareks Mitens (seen here from an exhibition game against the USNTDP’s Under 18 squad last season) made 31 saves in picking up his second collegiate shutout (Mike Barrett/LHB)

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — And now for something completely different.

An afternoon after Lake Superior State and Merrimack combined for nine goals, only one goal was tallied for either team, but the Lakers were the squad to come up with the difference maker as they picked up a series sweep with a 1-0 win at Lawler Rink.

Owing perhaps to the quick turnaround from the previous day, both teams were sluggish out of the gate.  The game started at 4 p.m., about three hours ahead of the typical start time.

While the Lakers (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) outshot Merrimack (0-2-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) 10-6 in the opening period, they were unable to solve Warriors goaltender Craig Pantano, who earned the start from coach Scott Borek in place of Drew Volger, who was victimized five times on just 19 shots.

Early in the second period, the Lakers’ efforts cashed in when Max Humitz, who had 13 last season to lead the team, picked up his second of the young season.  Nabbing the only assist on the goal was Brayden Gelsinger.

Noticeable throughout the game was the steadfast play of sophomore goaltender Mareks Mitens.  The native of Ventspilis, Latvia withstood a barrage of shots from the Warriors, who outshot the Lakers 25-14 over the final 40 minutes.

As time began to run short, the offensive pressure built for Merrimack, but Mitens held firm, making a few sensational saves along the way.

All in all, Mitens stopped all 31 shots he faced for his second career shutout.  His first came on February 3rd, 2018 in a 2-0 win over Bemidji State in which he made 36 saves.

In the other crease, Pantano took the loss with 23 saves on 24 shots.  One of two senior netminders for Merrimack, Pantano was sharp as well, taking a hard luck loss.

The Lakers open their home slate with a two game exhibition set against Nipissing College.  Both games are set to begin at 7 p.m.  A special ticket deal is available online only for $3.50 tickets to each game (in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the founding of Sault Ste. Marie).

Nellis penalty shot helps Lakers win wild season opener over Merrimack

Anthony Nellis (seen here against Bemidji State last season) picked up the game winner on a penalty shot in the season opener (Mike Barrett/LHB)

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — An early season shootout between Lake Superior State and the Merrimack Warriors was decided on a late penalty shot by Anthony Nellis, as the Lakers earned a hard-fought 5-4 win to open the 2018-19 season.

Merrimack (0-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) opened the scoring on a goal from Jackson Bales.  Recovering, the Lakers (1-0-0, 0-0-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) began peppering Warriors goaltender Drew Volger with shots, eventually accumulating a 9-4 advantage when Brayden Gelsinger scored the first Laker goal of the season.  Gelsinger got the puck in alone on a shorthanded breakaway and put the puck past Volger.

A recurring issue facing the Lakers last season — late period goals — reared its ugly head when Merrimack’s Laine McKay potted a power play goal with under a minute to play in the opening period, restoring the Warriors’ lead.  Undeterred, Lake Superior managed to tie things back up before the end of the period, as Diego Cuglietta scored with just 5 seconds remaining in the period.

Early in the second, Merrimack came out firing away at Lakers goaltender Nick Kossoff.  The native of West Des Moines, Iowa, kept the Warriors off the board early.  Another power play opportunity for Lake Superior arose when Simon Loof went off for slashing.  A long shot from Jacob Nordqvist was redirected by Cuglietta, giving the Lakers the lead.

Another power play goal, this time from Max Humitz, gave the Lakers a two goal lead with just over 6 minutes in the period.  The bad habit struck again, however, as two late goals (both with under 3 minutes in the period) tied the game back up, making the score 4-4 after 40.

Much like they did in the second period, Merrimack came out and put pressure on Kossoff again early.  As he did earlier, the senior netminder didn’t allow the puck past him.  Even as the Warriors retook the advantage in shots, Kossoff held firm.

With 4:06 left to play, Lake Superior received a golden opportunity when senior forward Anthony Nellis was taken down coming into the zone, causing him to be granted a penalty shot.  The Breakyville, Quebec native, who has been one of the Lakers most consistent scorers in his career, beat Volger, making the score 5-4 Lake Superior.

In a strange twist, the Merrimack defenseman who hooked Nellis in the first place was former Laker defenseman Matt McArdle, who joined the Warriors as a graduate transfer in the off season.

Despite a furious rally by the Warriors, Lake Superior held on for the 5-4 win.  A scrum broke out as time expired.  It awaits to be seen if there will be any extra disciplinary measures exacted.

In net, Kossoff picked up the win by making 28 saves on 32 shots.  Volger, in taking the loss, had 14 saves on 19 shots.

For the Lakers, all five goals came on special teams: 3 on the power play, 1 shorthanded and 1 on a penalty shot.

The Lakers and Merrimack had not played since March 26, 1988 in the NCAA Tournament.  The Lakers prevailed 5-1 to claim victory in a two game, total goals series on their way to their first national title.

The two teams will conclude their series tomorrow.  The opening faceoff is set for 4 p.m.

Series Preview: Lake Superior State @ Merrimack

Merrimack: 0-0-0

LSSU: 0-0-0

 

Merrimack’s Mother is making Scott Borek Marry Merrimack

This weekend will have a couple of familiar faces for long time Laker fans. Former LSSU bench boss Scott Borek (LSSU record of 76-94-15 between 1996-2001) is now the head coach of the Merrimack Warriors, after spending some time as an assistant at the University of New Hampshire (2002-2015) & most recently with Providence (2015-2018). 

Joining him on the bench is recent LSSU grad and defenseman Matt McArdle. McArdle while with the Lakers played in 83 games and tallied a total of 10 points. He was able to transfer as a graduate at the end of last season, and it appears he moved back east, though I’d like to believe he just got a bit confused since both the Warriors and Lakers wear the same colored uniforms.

The Warriors lost their top 3 point scorers last season, but looks like they, like the Lakers, return all three of their goaltenders. There isn’t much else to be said about this team, with it being the first weekend of the season, but they do have a Winnipeg draft pick on their team in Johnathan Kovacevic (74th overall, 2017), but they were picked to be dead last in the Hockey East.

 

“There’s this neat little lass and her name is (Merrimack)/Make no mistake, she’s the girl I’m gonna track”

After a four year contract extension this past summer, head coach Damon Whitten is back for his fifth year behind the Laker’s bench. He is joined again by long time NHLer Mike York and newly hired Zack Cisek. The trio have a few things in common: They are all from down state & are graduates of Michigan State. This has nothing to do with the series, but it is a ‘fun’ fact.

I’m going to opt to link to our season preview here rather than talk about who the Lakers are returning and such (remember, work smart, not hard). 

Now, while the Lakers were not listed as last in the WCHA in either the coach’s or media polls (that honor went to Alaska-Anchorage), there are many that think the Lakers will again miss playoffs this year, so both of these teams have that in common. This weekend’s series will be a good indicator as to what we may expect to see for the rest of the season. But it is important to remember that it’s also a 15 hour bus ride for our boys in blue.

This is also the first time since playing Vermont in the Catamount Cup in 2015-2016 that the Lakers have seen a Hockey East team, and the first series since Notre Dame in 2014-2015.

 

For you Laker fans out east, the games will be held at the J. Thom Lawler Rink in North Andover, MA at 7pm Saturday and 4pm Sunday. For those who cannot go to the game, like most of us, YesFM will be streaming the games at http://www.yesfm.net, though I am not sure if it will be the Merrimack feed or if the great Bill Crawford is making the journey. In order to stream the game, you will need to purchase a 24 hour pass from https://merrimackathletics.com/watch/, which will cost $6.95. It also appears that Merrimack is offering the audio for this weekend’s series for free if there are any issues with the YesFM stream.

2018-19 Season Preview

SAULT STE. MARIE — Season number 53 of Laker hockey is ready to commence.

The Lake Superior State Lakers will begin their fifth season under head coach Damon Whitten on October 7th, as they travel to North Andover, Massachusetts to face the Merrimack Warriors.

The 2017-18 Lakers finished 10-22-4 overall, and 8-17-3 in conference play, losing out on the final playoff spot on the last day of the regular season.  Lake Superior hopes to return to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) playoff picture.

Before the season gets underway, a quick look at the roster is in order.  21 players return to the squad.  Joining them are eight newcomers all of whom are freshmen.  Four members (one forward and three defensemen) were lost to graduation and two (one forward and one defenseman) did not return.

As we did in our season wrapup back in the spring, both of us are putting our own thoughts on each position as we go along.

Offense:

Dennis: Of the eight freshmen, five are forwards, including local standout Ashton Calder.  Also new to the team is Pierre-Luc Veillette, Miroslav Mucha, Melvin Karlsson & Owen Guy. There is one thing this whole class has, and that is scoring ability. Each one of these guys were either above, or just below, the point-a-game mark. This is huge, although Karlsson, coming from Sweden, would’ve played on the larger ice surface so let’s hope his game transitions well onto the North American sheet.

In addition to the freshmen, we have plenty of returning firepower, including captain Diego Cuglietta and speedster Max Humitz (who had a team high 13 goals last year). The rest of the stable also look solid, but personally I am excited to see what Yuki Miura will do with a full season under his belt, as he was hindered by injury and NCAA clearing issues for most of last season, along with relative newcomer Alex Ambrosio who really impressed me when he came in after the holiday break.

Mike: Cuglietta, along with Gage Torrel, will be co-captains this season and fellow senior Anthony Nellis will don an A as an alternate captain.  All three have been productive throughout their time in Sault Ste. Marie and are poised for big years as seniors. While Torrel did seem snakebitten last season, he still had 16 points, good for 6th on the team. The three seniors all saw their production go down a bit in 2017 — Torrel’s was just the most noticeable.

In addition to J.T. Henke, who graduated, the Lakers will also not see Jake Hand return.  Early last season, it looked as though the Torontonian was going to break out. While he did have a career high 12 points, much of his production came early in the year as he was unable to keep his success going.

There are eight upperclassmen forwards on this squad, which the Lakers haven’t seen in many years.  The majority of them have been major point producers in their time here (each has at least two double digit point seasons), but the likes of Bryan Basilico, Ian Johnston and Brendan McKay have struggled to get on the score sheet.  Basilico had four points in 2017-18, which was the most for any of the three in their first two seasons. Good play can be contagious, however, so maybe if the rest of the offense can be productive, it can rub off on these guys too.

Defense:

Mike: On the blueline, Lake Superior lost four defensemen, all of whom saw significant time in their Laker careers. Captain Aidan Wright, assistant captain Ryan Renz and three-time recipient of the team’s Most Valuable Defenseman award Kyle Chatham, all graduated last spring.  Throw in Matt McArdle, who will be playing as a graduate transfer at Merrimack, and the Lakers have lost a group that logged many minutes on the back end.

Sophomores Tyler Anderson and Will Reidell saw plenty of action in their rookie season.  While it was apparent that they were fresh to the college level, they showed flashes of promise.  It awaits to be seen how they will develop.

Dennis: This is the most worrisome part. We lost some very solid players. It’s hard to gauge defensemen using websites like Elite Prospects, since it doesn’t show time on ice, but I feel comfortable saying that Mitchell Oliver, an incoming freshman, will be picking up a lot of that slack. Oliver, in 54 games as the captain of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL logged an impressive 39 points while also earning 64 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, he had six points in seven games.

(editor’s note: on the October 2nd edition of the Laker Hockey Show, Whitten said it’s looking as though Oliver may not be eligible this season due to an academic requirement)

But also returning are juniors Collin Saccoman and Steven Ruggerio, along with sophomore Lukas Kälble. Saccoman and Kälble both were hurt on the Denver trip last season, which crippled the team, and Ruggerio, an Anaheim Ducks draft pick (2015, #178 overall) , was dealing with his own injuries while sitting out for half the year due to him transferring from Providence. When these three guys were healthy though, the team changed completely. We also didn’t see much of Bennet Vida last season, outside of some of the exhibition games, where he looked solid, but apparently needed some more time to develop.

Even with these returning players, along with the incoming players, I’m nervous about injuries, and who we have to step into those roles. I’m hoping whomever the odd-men out are really stepped up their game in the offseason.

Goaltending:

Dennis: There isn’t much to say here. We return all three of our goalies (Roman Bengert did not play last season). There are some questions going into the season though. The Kossoff/Mitens tandem was shakey to say the least last season, but each showed flashes of brilliance. Nick really needs to return to his freshman form. Mareks’ goaltending style seems to be really flashy, which can be fun to watch, but if he doesn’t get that puck, he seems to find himself on the ice, scrambling to get back up. Honestly, I don’t care if that’s the case as long he can recover quickly and not let in soft goals.

But with Roman seemingly ready to go this season, having a third goalie push the starting two, whomever they may be. Competition is a good thing.

Mike: The only time we’ve seen Bengert in any kind of action was during last year’s Blue vs Gold game.  In that game, he had very little to do, as most of the action was in the other end in his period of play.

While we did see more goalie changes than usual last season, I don’t believe we can fully fault the guys between the pipes.  When they could see the shots, they were stopping them most of the time. Kossoff had a save percentage of .911 while Mitens was at .897.  Often times, coaches use pulling a goaltender as a move to try and energize the team. It’s also worth noting that Kossoff played the game of his life in Denver last season, making 63 saves on 66 shots and setting a school record in the process.

Coaching staff:

Mike: Damon Whitten, as mentioned, is back for his fifth season behind the Laker bench.  In his first four seasons, he has compiled a record of 43-80-18. The Brighton, Michigan native signed a four year extension during the off season, meaning expectations are high that Whitten will be able to turn the team around.  Also returning is assistant coach Mike York, who will be in his second season with the Lakers.

Perhaps the most notable news to affect the Lakers over the summer was the departure of assistant coach Rich Metro.  A Sault native, Metro accepted an offer to coach the boys U-16 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota. One of the most prestigious prep schools in the nation, SSM gains Metro after spending eight years (in two stints) behind the bench at Lake Superior.

Replacing Metro is a Zach Cisek (pronounced SIZE-ick).  A graduate of Michigan State, Cisek spent a couple of seasons at Miami University as a graduate assistant before moving on to Notre Dame.  A former goaltender, he worked closely with their goaltenders, including Cale Morris, who went on to win the Mike Richter Award as the top collegiate goaltender.

Dennis: While this isn’t the place to debate coach Whitten’s extension, I think that will be a sort of cloud hanging over his head heading into the season. I also don’t have much to add concerning Mike York or Zach Cisek. I do hope that Coach York will continue to impress upon the players, namely forwards, what it takes to be successful on the ice, seeing as he played in 579 NHL games. Also to note, Zach Cisek helped Notre Dame to a Frozen Four appearance last season, ultimately losing to winners Minnesota-Duluth.

But the loss of Rich Metro is the biggest news going into the season. We’ve heard all sorts of rumors about how the coaching staff got along, but Rich always felt like he was kind of the emotional core of the staff, never seemed to have a bad thing to say about anybody and would spin even the worst trait into something to look forward to – that’s something that’s hard to replicate. But these things should serve him well at Shattuck.

Schedule: Following with the four year pattern the WCHA appears to be following with its scheduling, the Lakers will essentially play a similar slate to their 2016-17 campaign.  The five squads they played four times that season (Ferris State, Minnesota State, Alabama Huntsville, Northern Michigan and Alaska) will be seen four times this year. Michigan Tech and Bemidji State play the Lakers twice in Sault Ste. Marie, while Alaska Anchorage and Bowling Green will host Lake Superior in their only meetings of the season.

As per usual, Ferris State will be the final opponent of the regular season.  Unlike last season, the games will be at the Taffy Abel Arena, meaning the home slate will not end in January this year.

The non-conference schedule is a mixed bag; Lake Superior will host Michigan, travel to Merrimack, and play Michigan State and either Michigan Tech or Michigan again at the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI).

Michigan returns to the Soo for the first time since the dissolution of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

As mentioned, the Lakers will open their season against Merrimack — only the second Hockey East school (after Vermont) that Lake Superior has faced since Whitten became head coach.  This series is full of intrigue, as former Lakers head coach Scott Borek was named bench boss of the Warriors in May.

Finally, the Lakers will be making a return to the GLI in Detroit for the first time since 1999.  The GLI has been held annually since 1965 and has traditionally involved Michigan Tech, Michigan, Michigan State and a fourth team chosen at-large.  This will be the Lakers fourth appearance. They finished 3rd in 1977, 2nd in 1996 and 4th in 1999.

Outlook:

Mike: On paper, there are many things to look at that both give hope and cause concern.  The question marks on the blue line and the comparatively down years of some players on the forward unit do raise some concerns.  On the flipside, the goaltending showed last season that it could keep the team in a game. And while some of the big point producers of years past had down years in 2017-18, the law of averages says they should be able to bounce back this year.

Unlike in previous seasons, the Lakers looked better after Christmas than before.  Maybe it was the team jelling, maybe it was the presence of Ruggiero, Miura and Ambrosio in the lineup.  Nobody can argue February was a bad month with four straight road wins. On paper, the team should be able to build off that late season push and put the rest of the WCHA on notice.  On paper.

In practice…that awaits to be seen.

Dennis: A number of fans have been asking how I think the team will do this year, and my standard reply is thus: On paper, I think this team has the skill to shock not only the league, but the NCAA at large. With these powerhouse freshman forwards coming in, along with some leadership on the back end, the Lakers are poised to make their games a high scoring affair.

However, there is one big unknown stopping me from getting too excited: the coaching staff.

I had a paragraph set up talking about why, but I think summarizing it up with Coach Whitten’s overall record of 43-90-18 over his first four years tells the story here. Lake States’ new Athletic Director David Paitson must have seen something in Whitten to give him a four year extension with that record, and he does have a bit of hockey operations experience, so like most of last season, I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt here, but the extension does have many fans worried, so the team will have to have continual success throughout the season, not just a hot streak at the start and end of the season like we experienced last year.

 

Lakers picked 7th, 8th in preseason polls

BLOOMINGTON, Minn — The preseason polls were released today during the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Media Day.  The Mankato Free Press Coaches’ Poll saw Lake Superior State picked to finish 7th, while the UAHHockey.com Media Poll had the Lakers pegged at 8th place.

Minnesota State was selected to take home the MacNaughton Cup, awarded to the regular season champion, in both polls.  The Mavericks received 7 of a possible 9 first place votes in the Coaches’ Poll (coaches do not vote for their own team), while Northern Michigan earned two and Michigan Tech received one vote.

The Media Poll saw 13 of 19 first place votes given to Minnesota State, while Bowling Green captured five and Northern Michigan picked up one.

In addition to the polls, the preseason teams and WCHA Players of the Year were named.  Northern Michigan had the Player of the Year from both polls — Adam Rockwood in the Coaches’ Poll and Troy Loggins in the Media Poll.

No Lakers were named to either preseason All-WCHA team, though goaltender Nick Kossoff did receive votes for the media’s team.

The results of the polls are as follows (numbers in parentheses indicate first place votes):

UAHHockey.com Media Poll

  1. Minnesota State (13) – 182 pts.
  2. Bowling Green State (1) -159 pts.
  3. Northern Michigan (5) – 150 pts.
  4. Michigan Tech – 133 pts.
  5. Bemidji State – 110 pts.
  6. Ferris State – 102 pts.
  7. Alabama Huntsville – 69 pts.
  8. Lake Superior State – 57 pts.
  9. Alaska – 47 pts.
  10. Alaska Anchorage – 28 pts.

Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll

  1. Minnesota State (7) – 88 pts.
  2. Northern Michigan (2) – 80 pts.
  3. Bowling Green – 76 pts.
  4. Michigan Tech (1) – 64 pts.
  5. Bemidji State – 54 pts.
  6. Ferris State – 49 pts.
  7. Lake Superior State – 40 pts.
  8. Alaska – 36 pts.
  9. Alabama Huntsville – 35 pts.
  10. Alaska Anchorage – 18 pts.

Both polls are based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.  As mentioned, coaches did not vote for their own team in the Coaches’ Poll.

The full release from the WCHA may be found here: http://www.wcha.com/men/articles/2018/09/minnesota-state-picked-to-repeat-as-wcha-regular-season-champion.php

Laker Hockey Blog: One Year Later

It was one year at the end of August that we decided to start the experiment that has been the Laker Hockey Blog. If you remember one of our earliest post, this webpage was started as a way to have a consistent source for Lake Superior State University Hockey news, seeing as the local media largely does not cover the Lakers on either side of the St. Marys.

And after looking through some of the stats, and seeing some of the traffic on our Facebook page, I’d say it was worth it. We’ve managed to reach three continents with consistent numbers! (a look at that a little later). It hasn’t been without it’s stresses, as some black hats have thought it would be funny to mess with the site on occasion, or worrying about content, but the pros outweigh the cons.

Now, onto some stats. Note: Depending on where I look at our stats, some numbers are different, but I will be going with the ones I saw first.

————————————————-

Total Posts & Words:

2017 & 2018 both had 47 posts for a total of 94 total posts.

Articles written in 2017 had a total of 23,793 total words with 506 average words per article.

2018 posts have a total of 21,006 words, with 447 average words per article.

Unique Visitors and Views:

Over the website’s first year, we’ve seen a total of 1,895 total unique readers. This is outrageous to me!

Those viewers have also accounted for 5,329 total views.

Best Single Day:

10/05/2017 was the best day for Laker Hockey Blog, where we had 175 visitors, the most so far. This came a day after the first series preview was posted, but if I remember correctly, the big hit was the interview Mike did with Mike York, the then new assistant coach and former NHLer.

Top 3 Posts:

Home Page

Annual Blue vs Gold Game Showcases Laker Talent

Rumor: Nenadal Out at Lake State

Top Referrals:

Search Engines (778)

Facebook (518)

Twitter (149)

Known Search Terms:

(Now this one is kind of fun. It seems to be a list of some of the known terms that were used on search engines in order to get to the blog. My personal favorite is the final search term:)

amazon (22)

hockey blog (2)

minnesota hockey blog (1)

darrin madeley(1)

keith aldridge – hockey (1)

matt brunetau(1)

where did hockey coach rich metro go (1)

Countries Reached (more than 10 viewers)

USA: 4311

Canada 771

Japan 84

Latvia 47

Sweden 29

UK 15

Germany 15

Ireland 14

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This last category I am extremely proud of. The last few seasons have seen an increase of international students & players wearing the blue & gold, and that has allowed the Laker Hockey Blog to reach audiences on three continents: North America, Europe and Asia. I never expected this to happen.

Thank you to everyone who visits this site, especially the regulars. We hope to keep bringing you quality content over the next year, and hopefully some new types of features. So please like and share our posts on Facebook, follow and Retweet us on Twitter so we can reach that broader audience.

I’ve also just added a button on the sidebar that will allow you to email us, so if you have any questions, comments, concerns or ideas, you can use any of the above ways to contact us, including email. Heck, if you’re coming in from out of town and want some ideas as to what to do or where to eat that’s not covered here, hit us up. We’d love to hear from you.

From all of us here at Laker Hockey Blog, thank you very much for what I’ll call a successful year. The new season is just on the horizon, and there has been a lot of changes this offseason. Whether that proves to be good for the boys in blue have yet to be seen, but we will be in the trenches covering all (well, most) of the action.

 

Thank you!

Welcome Back Students

We here at Laker Hockey Blog would like to welcome all students back to the Sault for the 2018 school year. May both your exams and hangovers be short.

But moreso, the new school year also signals a new hockey season! Yes, a new season is just around the corner, just over a month away as of the writing of this post. For those of us that run the site, however, that means a yearly update.

Yearly update? That’s right, we are roundabout the one year mark here on LHB. I’m hoping to do a little post with some stats on this sometime this week, but before that, the aforementioned updates.

Since nothing updates manually around here, the following cleanup needs to occur:

Roster Update

Schedule

…Yeah, that’s about it for right now. Good news though! The Roster has been updated, as of 8/27. If any changes are announced, we will be sure to update it.

As for the schedule, I will be working on that throughout the week, as there isn’t exactly an easy or reliable way to cheese the system, so it will have to be manually typed out. Not hard, just time consuming. Another post will announce the update.

Now, a note for the future: I was really hoping to get some quality content lined up for over the summer, and get some more of the pages filled out, and getting the site looking a bit more professional…and as you can see, I kind of failed at that. Hell, if it wasn’t for Mike, we wouldn’t have had any content at all, so kudos to him. But moving forward, I hope we can really start to realize my dream for this site, as a one-stop shop for all things Laker Hockey, but I suppose that bridge will be crossed when we get there, eh?

But until then, please help us out by spreading the word. Like our Facebook page, share the page, share our posts. Like us and retweet us on Twitter. I hate begging, but in order to grow the site, it’s something that we’ll need. 

Thank you all for sticking with us for the last year, and hopefully you’ll be with us for many more. Go Blue!