Month: December 2018

Lakers down Michigan Tech, claim GLI Championship

The Lakers celebrate with the John MacInnes Cup beneath the Great Lakes Invitational banner (Mike Barrett/LHB).

Bryan Basilico’s first goal of the year was the difference maker as Lake Superior State defeated Michigan Tech 6-3 to win their first ever Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) title.

Senior Captain Diego Cuglietta, who had four goals during the tourney, was crowned Most Valuable Player of the 54th incarnation of the GLI.  He was joined by goaltender Nick Kossoff and defenseman Collin Saccoman, who were also named to the All Tournament Team.

In a reversal of their first period against Michigan State the previous day, it was the Lakers (11-6-1, 6-5-1 WCHA) who jumped out to a two goal lead.  Cuglietta’s third goal of the tourney was followed by Hampus Erikkson’s first goal of the year just over a minute later.  Erikkson collected his own rebound off his initial shot on Huskies netminder Robert Beydoun and squeezed the puck thru on the short side.

The Huskies rallied to tie the game, with a Jake Lucchini wraparound cutting the lead in half.  Michigan Tech tied it up early in the second when a major penalty and game misconduct was assessed to Gage Torrel for contact to the head.

Nevertheless, Lake Superior regained the lead when Max Humitz drilled a shot from inside the right faceoff circle.  Humitz was aided by Cuglietta, who screened Beydoun.

Late in the period, with Michigan Tech’s Trenton Bliss off for hooking, Bryan Basilico knocked in a pass from Brayden Gelsinger right in front of the net, restoring the two goal lead.

Early in the third, the Huskies closed the gap further, as a goal by Bliss made it 4-3 Lakers.  Lake Superior appeared to make it 4-2 with a tally by Humitz, but the goal was disallowed due to a player in the crease.

With a tight game, the Lakers did what they needed to do, sustaining offensive zone pressure late, making it difficult for the Huskies to pull Beydoun.

Finally, with over a minute left, Michigan Tech coach Joey Shawhan pulled Beydoun in favour of an extra skater.  The moved backfired, as Cuglietta notched his fourth goal of the tourney with a shot from centre ice.

Rolling the dice again, Beydoun was pulled a second time, but a shot by Steven Ruggiero from deep within his own zone lightly bounced off a post and in the goal, securing a 6-3 win and GLI title.

This was the fourth time Lake Superior was invited to the GLI.  Their previous three trips saw them finish 2nd (1996), 3rd (1977) and 4th (1999).  Now they have finished in all four spots.

For the Huskies, this marks the fourth straight season in which they have fallen in the title game.  Last year saw them lose to Bowling Green, while they have also fallen to Western Michigan and Michigan (twice).

The two teams will face off again in February in WCHA play.

Gallery: Lakers vs Michigan State (GLI)

Photos from the Great Lakes Invitational matchup between Lake Superior State and Michigan State.

Edit: Working on making a proper slideshow.

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Lakers upend Michigan State in GLI semifinal, will play Tech for title

Diego Cuglietta’s overtime winner was the difference maker in a 4-3 win for Lake Superior State against Michigan State in the second semifinal game of the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) at the home of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Spartans (6-10-1, 2-5-1 Big Ten) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals by Dennis Cesana and Wojciech Stachowiak.  After settling down, Lakers netminder Nick Kossoff kept Michigan State at bay, including the line of Taro Hirose, Patrick Khodorenko and Mitch Lewandowski, who have a combined 23 goals and 35 assists between them.

“We didn’t come out strong, going down by two goals was tough, but we battled back and stuck with it,” said Lakers assistant coach Mike York.

“This is a great group of kids who come into practice and work hard every day,” added York, on the team culture.

Anthony Nellis halved the Lakers’ deficit with a rocket from the high slot midway thru the first period.  Later, Cuglietta redirected a Nellis shot on the power play, tying the game in the process.

Lake Superior (10-6-1, 6-5-1 WCHA) took the lead midway thru the game when Max Humitz executed a perfect wraparound that beat Spartan goaltender John Lethemon, giving the Lakers their first lead of the afternoon.

Michigan State tied the game in the third when a Laker turnover led to a 3 on 1.  Stachowiak picked up his second of the day, which was enough to force overtime.

A faceoff in the Spartan end following an icing set up Lake Superior for the win.  Cuglietta collected a pass from Jacob Nordqvist and buried the puck behind Lethemon for the win.

Lake State is set to take on tourney host Michigan Tech in the title game tomorrow.  The game will follow the consolation game between Michigan State and Michigan, which starts at 11:30 a.m.  Michigan (6-7-5, 2-4-4-2 Big Ten) and Michigan Tech (10-7-2, 9-2-1-1 WCHA) skated to a 2-2 tie in the first semifinal game.  A shootout victory by the Huskies lifted them into the championship.

“They’re a good team, they made the tournament out of our league last year,” said York, on the Huskies.  “We’ve struggled against them in the past, but this is a new year and a new group of guys.” 

Quick History of the Great Lakes Invitational & Series Preview – Lake Superior State @ Great Lakes Invitational.

First, I hope everyone who celebrates had a Merry Christmas, or at the very least a Happy Holiday. But now that the holidays are done, that means that the second half the Laker hockey season is set to begin. And to start out the second half, the boys in blue will return to Detroit for the first time since 1999 (that’s 19 years!) to play in the Great Lakes Invitational!

I’m sure most people who follow college hockey are familiar with the GLI, but for those who aren’t, hopefully this will shed a little bit of light on the tournament. Most of this will have been taken from the Wiki, which will do a much better job than I could at explaining it, but I will try to hit the important bits.

The first tournament was held in 1965, at the former home of the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Stadium. Michigan Tech has served as it’s main host from the beginning, but in 1976, the University of Michigan were made co-hosts, with Michigan State being the traditional third member. After Olympia closed, it was moved to the Joe Lewis Arena, and the second tournament will be held at Little Ceaser’s Arena this season. The 2013 edition was held at Comerica Park in an outdoor game.

27 of the current 61 D1 teams have participated in the tournament at least once, some non-D1 programs have also included Western Ontario, Pennsylvania & Toronto.

Lake Superior State has participated in the Great Lakes Invitational three times, placing in each place but first. Our first appearance was in 1977, coming in third behind MTU and Michigan.

1996 featured the Lakers coming in second behind Michigan. The third and final time was in 1999, coming in last behind the three traditional participants: Michigan State, Michigan and Michigan Tech.

Now, what does the winning team get? Well, other than bragging rights, a banner is raised within the arena with the most current winner’s name. A trophy is also handed out that will be engraved with the winner’s name.

So, that brings us to this season. This year’s Great Lakes Invitional features the Lakers alongside Tech, Michigan and State. While we don’t know the opponent for Monday, as that will depend on who wins Sunday, we do know our first opponent: Michigan State.

Michigan State: 6-9-1

Lake Superior State: 9-6-1

The Spartans are led in scoring this season by two junior and a sophomore forwards, Taro Hirose, Patrick Khodorenko and Mitchell Lewandowski, totaling 58 of the team’s 112 points. The net is split between Junior John Lethemon & Freshman Drew DeRidder. Lethemon has the better of the stats, but neither are worth writing home about.

Your Lakers are being led by the senior duo of Anthony Nellis, Diego Cuglietta and junior Brayden Gelsinger. Nick Kossoff has seemed to have won the main goaltending spot over Mareks Mitens, but I’m sure Mareks will be competing hard to take that spot from Nick.

Your other two potential opponents records look like this:

Michigan: 6-7-4

Michigan Tech: 10-7-1.

I will not be getting a preview out for Monday’s series as I will be in Detroit, and won’t have time to post anything.

I believe tickets are still available in the suggested Laker sections, so I would emplore anybody who can make it to Detroit to come and cheer your Lakers on. A few wins this weekend could set us up for the rest of the season.

For those who can’t make it, 99.5 YesFM should have the call again for both games. Sunday’s game starts at 4pm, with Monday’s starting at either 11:30 for the third place game, or 2:30pm for the championship game. I will do my best to post this information on both Facebook and Twitter. It looks like Fox Sports Detroit will either be showing the championship game live, either on TV or streaming through their website or app.

For anyone that is attending, if you see me walking around the arena, do stop and say hello. If anyone else is driving through the upcoming storm this weekend, drive safe.

No Series Preview this Week

I just wanted to let all the readers know that there will not be a series preview for Sunday’s matchup against the USNTDP U-18 team. There’s not much to say anyways:

 

All but one player has committed to a D1 school, and they’ve only lost 7 games.

 

It’s been hectic here the last few weeks, so this will be about it for the week. I’ll try to put something out over the next week or so previewing the GLI, which I will actually be attending this year. I’ll probably also do some sort of mid-season update at some point during the break, explaining why some features have seemingly been left by the wayside.

 

But stay strapped in Laker faithful. I have a feeling the wild ride that is this season is only starting.

Series Preview: Lake Superior State AT Alaska

 

Alaska: 4-10-2

LSSU: 7-6-1

 

Striking Iron

It was just a few short weeks ago that the Nanooks and Lakers faced each other for the first time this season, where the Nanooks got not only their first win of the year, but the first sweep (albeit with an official tie). Since then they’ve split with Alabama-Huntsville, were swept against Michigan Tech and swept Ferris State. Last week against the Bulldogs marked the start of a three week stretch for the Nanooks of home games before travelling back south to Bemidji.

 

The top three scorers consist of Steven Jandric, Colton Leiter and Chris Jandric, all of whom have 10 points each, with Jandric having 3 game winning goals. Junior netminder Anton Martinsson has started in 10 of Alaska’s 18 games, losing all but two of them, with the two being ties. Freshman Gustavs Grigals has given them all four of their straight wins.

 

Expected Results

In the last two series, the Lakers have won 1 of 4 games, that being against U.P rivals Northern Michigan, where they currently lead in goal differential of +1, with the Cappo Cup series currently tied, and won’t reach it’s conclusion until the second to last series in February. Last weekend’s series against #3 Minnesota-State Mankato went about how I expected, a sweep in favor of the Mavericks. They’re playing at a completely different level than the rest of the league (without having seen Tech play yet), and certainly deserve to be in consideration for #1 in the country.

Nellis, Cuglietta and Torrel still lead the team in scoring, with Anthony Nellis running away with 15 points. Colin Saccoman and Jacob Nordqvist earned WCHA honors for November, those being Defenseman of the Month and Rookie of the Month respectively. Saccoman is certainly an important piece on the Laker’s backend. Nordqvist, a freshman defenseman, is looking to be that next anchor piece on the blueline after Sacco. Congrats to those two! In goal, Kossoff has pretty much run away with the starter, having a 5-2-1 record compared to Mitens 2-4-0 record.

There will be a lot for the Lakers to deal with this week: Travelling across the country, the jetlag, maybe actual polar bears and moose. But the Carlson Center features an Olympic sized sheet of ice. With our slate of international players, managing this should be easier than it has in the past, as most international leagues use the large sheet. 

 

The games this weekend start at 11:07pm local time, or 7:07pm Alaska time. 99.5 YesFM will have a feed, both locally over the air and online at  YesFM.net and on TuneIn. I am not sure if it will be Bill Crawford, Matt Pocket or if we will be hearing Alaska’s feed like we normally do. And like every weekend, FloHockey, the official streaming service of the WCHA will be carrying the game. As of now, I am unaware of any viewing parties, probably due to the late start time.