Month: February 2020

Lakers reclaim Cappo Cup in Senior Night split with Wildcats

Max Humitz (centre) carries the Father Cappo Cup after being presented with it. The Lakers claimed the Cup for the first time since 2016 (Mike Barrett/LHB)

The Cappo Cup has returned to the Soo.

The Cup, first presented in the 1991-92 season by the late Monsignor Louis Cappo to the winner of the season series between Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan, was awarded to the Lakers for the first time since 2016.

Following a 6-1 win on Friday, Lake Superior (11-21-4, 9-13-4-4 WCHA) fell 5-1 to the Wildcats (17-13-4, 15-10-1-1 WCHA), splitting the very physical series.  The Lakers received the Cup on virtue of 7 goals to 6.

“I don’t like the result tonight, so it’s bittersweet with the way the game went, especially with last night,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten, following Saturday’s game.  “It’s nice, we haven’t had it here in a few years.  It’s back where it belongs and we’re going to do our best to make sure it stays here for a good stretch.”

Friday: Lakers 6, Wildcats 1

On Friday night, Lake Superior got to Wildcat goaltender Nolan Kent early, as two quick goals by Max Humitz and Ashton Calder led Northern Michigan head coach Grant Potulny to replace Kent with John Hawthorne.  Humitz added another goal before the end of the first period, giving the Lakers a 3-0 lead.

Although Northern Michigan gained a 13-8 shot advantage in the middle period, it was the Lakers who added to their goal total, with marks from Brendan McKay and Pete Veillette.  Although Luke Voltin got the ‘Cats on the board in the third, Bryan Basilico’s first goal of the year helped seal the fate for the visitors with a 6-1 final.

“We’re two U.P. schools.  They play hard, we take pride in playing hard and playing the right way,” he said on the physicality.  “I thought [Friday’s]  game was a bit cleaner between the whistles.  [Saturday] I felt it broke down a bit, making it chippier, but a hard played rivalry is what we expect.”

Saturday: Wildcats 5, Lakers 1

Saturday was a busy night at the Taffy Abel Arena.  In addition to the game, the team was celebrating Senior Night with a pregame on ice ceremony for its six seniors, while the festivities for the annual Check Slash Survive (formerly Pink in the Rink) game also took place.  Whitten extended his thanks to all those involved with the various events of the evening.

“This was a senior class that is very well loved,” he said.  “They’ve had great success on the ice, in the classroom and in our community.  They’ve been a huge building block for our program.  It’s a great group and we’re really going to miss them.”

Playing in their final home games were Humitz, Basilico, McKay, Brayden Gelsinger and Ian Johnston.  Also honored before the game was defenseman Collin Saccoman, who sustained a season-ending injury in November.

As for the game, however, a stark reversal of fortune took place, as the Wildcats were the ones who opened up the big lead.

Mitchell Slattery opened the scoring, followed with another goal by Voltin.  In the second period, Lake Superior’s McKay was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind.  On the ensuing power play, Joseph Nardi and Griffin Loughran each connected, making the score 4-0 for Northern Michigan.

Lake Superior had opportunities to bet on the board, with two breakaway opportunities by Humitz and Chase Gamelin, but Kent was much sharper than the previous night, foiling both Lakers in their attempts.

Although Louis Boudon got the Lakers on the board in the third period, it was too little, too late for Lake Superior.  An empty net goal by Nardi wrapped up the scoring and a 5-1 win for Northern Michigan and series split.  The Wildcats snapped a five game losing streak in the process.

With the season series split 1-1, the Cappo Cup was decided by goal differential.  By a one goal margin, the Lakers captured the trophy for the second time in Whitten’s tenure behind the bench.

Lake Superior has one more weekend of play before the WCHA Tournament begins.  The Lakers will travel to Big Rapids for a series against Ferris State.  The two teams last met in early November, with the Lakers earning their first home sweep of the Bulldogs since the 2010-11 season.

“We’ve been really good for a while,” commented Whitten.  “We were a bit off tonight and couldn’t bounce back after a flat start, but we want to keep playing the way we’ve been playing.  We have been getting great goaltending and getting different guys chipping in with secondary scoring.”

Weekend Preview: Northern Michigan University & Check.Slash.Survive

So, as you all know this would normally be the spot where we preview the upcoming series and make a few (sometimes funny) jokes. But the fact of the matter is that, even if we don’t get a single point over the next two weeks, we are in the playoffs. Anchorage needs to sweep the next two weeks in regulation to tie us in points, but we would hold the tiebreaker I believe. But they are facing Bemidji this weekend, and Alaska next weekend.

So…

There is the Cappo cup, but it’s just for this weekend series, and I’m not sure if there are any special rules due to that. And the Lakers will, of course, do their best to earn points as we could leapfrog Bowling Green (five points behind) and possibly catch Michigan Tech (assuming they get swept both weekends), but it’s looking like it’s going to be another trip to Mankato, or possibly Bemidji.

But almost more importantly, this Saturday is both Senior night and Check.Slash.Survive, which used to be called Pink in the Rink. A few years back it was rebranded so as not to focus just on breast cancer, which is generally represented by the pink ribbon.

This year’s C.S.S is focusing on Lung, Prostate and Colon cancers. The Check.Slash.Survive organization will be selling shirts, hoodies and other sort of apparel and swag, and a jersey auction will be done during the game Saturday night. The funds raised will go towards various local charities and organizations.

Six seniors will also be honored during pre-game Saturday. Brayden Gelsinger, Ian Johnston, Bryan Basilico, Max Humitz, Colin Saccoman and Brendan McKay will all be honored. Sadly, this will also mean for the first time since the 2012-2013 season, next year will be the first year without a McKay brother. The end of an era for sure.

So come on out, 7pm puck drop both nights. Saturday pre-game will be the senior night festivities. Otherwise, 99.5 YESFm locally or on Tunein will have the call, or Flohockey.tv will have the broadcast.

Riedell, Calder earn weekly league accolades

Will Riedell and Ashton Calder (not pictured) were both named WCHA Players of the Week at their respective positions (LHB File Photo)

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) announced today the recipients of its Player of the Week awards for the past weekend.  Lake Superior State, on the strength of its weekend split with Michigan Tech, captured two of the four awards, with one player earning his first ever.

Will Riedell and Ashton Calder, who each had four points in Houghton, were named Defenceman of the Week and Forward of the Week, respectively.

Riedell, a blue liner from Greensboro, North Carolina, racked up three assists in the Lakers’ 7-3 win over Michigan Tech on Friday night.  He assisted on two goals by Calder (the first being a shorthanded goal, the second being the game winner), plus one that belonged to team captain Max Humitz.  Saturday night saw him pick up another assist, again helping Calder find the back of the net.  With the weekend totals, the junior has equaled his point total of 11 from last season — his best mark in a Laker uniform so far.

In claiming the award, Riedell beat out Tim Theocharidis of Bowling Green and Edwin Hookenson of Minnesota State.

Earning his second weekly award of the season, and the fourth of his career, Calder had three goals and an assist.  His first tally proved to be the last seen by Matt Jurusik that evening, as the netminder was swapped for Blake Pietella after allowing the shorthanded goal.  The sophomore from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, connected in the second period against Pietella, and earned his third goal of the weekend on Saturday, beating Robbie Beydoun, thus scoring three goals against three different goaltenders.  In addition, Calder helped set up Pete Veillette’s game tying goal late in regulation during the Saturday overtime loss.

Calder beat out Max Newton of Alaska, Connor Ford of Bowling Green, Jared Spooner of the Mavericks and Brian Halonen of Michigan Tech.

The other two awards were claimed by Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay (Goaltender of the Week) and Alaska defenceman Markuss Komuls (Rookie of the Week). No other Lakers were nominated.

 

Lakers spoil Winter Carnival for host Huskies, earn series split

Lake Superior State collected its first Friday road win of the season with a solid effort in a 7-3 over Michigan Tech, before falling in overtime to the Huskies 4-3 for a series split.

Michigan Tech (16-14-3, 11-11-2 WCHA) lost its second straight Winter Carnival series, having fallen to Minnesota State last season. The Lakers prevailed in the two game, total goals series 10-7, capturing the MacInnes Trophy.

Friday: Lakers 7, Huskies 3

On Friday night, Lake Superior (9-20-3, 7-12-3-3 WCHA) bounced back from a 1-0 deficit on an Alec Broetzman tally in the first period by scoring three goals, from Brendan McKay, Ashton Calder and Max Humitz, 6:36 apart from each other, giving the Lakers a 3-1 lead entering the second period.

The Huskies got the first goal of the second and third periods as well, but Damon Whitten’s bunch doubled the Michigan Tech response both periods, as Colin Swoyer’s goal was answered by Calder and Miroslav Mucha, while Logan Pietella’s thrd period mark garnered responses by Chase Gamelin and Arvid Henrikson.  Gamelin, McKay and Henrikson each had their first goal of the season.

Mareks Mitens was busy all night, as the Huskies racked up 42 shots on net, with the Hobey Baker nominee stopping 39.  Matt Jurusik took the loss for Michigan Tech by allowing 2 goals on 9 shots, before being relieved by Blake Pietella, who was scorched for 5 tallies on 21 shots.

With the Friday night win, the Lakers won their first game in Houghton since the 2013-14 season.  The Lakers defeated the Huskies 5-3 on November 15th, and had gone 0-8-1 at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena since that time.

Saturday: Huskies 4, Lakers 3 (OT)

Saturday night had a much different feel to it.  The Lakers, despite leading the shot count the entire way, never led at any point in the game.  Despite this, Lake Superior never let the Huskies pull away, as the hosts never had more than a one goal lead.

After less than stellar performances from his goaltenders the previous night, Huskies head coach Joe Shawhan went with Robbie Beydoun in net, while Mitens returned for Lake Superior.

Brian Halonen opened the scoring for Michigan Tech just 45 seconds into the game.  The Lakers responded early in the second period, when Calder potted his third goal of the weekend.

The Huskies got another goal from Halonen later in the period, but the game was tied back up a mere 15 seconds later by McKay, who picked up his second goal of the series.  Likewise, Broetzman scored his second on the weekend 1:09 later, giving Michigan Tech a 3-2 lead after two periods.

Going for broke, Lake Superior yanked Mitens for an extra skater.  With the clock winding down, Pete Veillette connected or his 9th goal of the season, sending the game to overtime in the process.

Looking for a series sweep, the Lakers’ hopes were dashed when Alex Smith found the back of the net with only 30 seconds remaining in overtime, giving the Huskies a 4-3 win.

In net, Mitens made 22 saves on 26 shots, while Beydoun stopped 39 of 42 faced.

Leading the Lakers on the weekend were Calder (3-1—4, +2) and defenceman Will Reidell (0-4—4, +2).  Despite this, it was Michigan Tech’s Halonen (2-2—4, E) who was named the Winter Carnival MVP.

Series Preview: Lake Superior State University at Michigan Tech – Winter Carnival Edition

Lake State: 8-19-3

Michigan Tech: 15-13-3

Huskies Get Bit

I wouldn’t want to be the Lakers this weekend as they travel over to Houghton to face the Michigan Tech Huskies. The Huskies are sure to be wound up this weekend, not only because of it being the 98th Winter Carnival, but also because they were trounced by the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers last Saturday night, splitting the weekend.

Tech is led in scoring by a trio of sophomores: Alec Broetzman (12-7–19), Trenton Bliss (9-10—19) and Eric Gotz (4-13—17). Brian Halonen (10-6—16) is also worth mentioning, being second in overall goals for the team.

Senior Matt Jurusik leads the trio of goalies,  having played in 27 of their 31 games. He has a 2.04GAA and a .921 Save %. Junior Robbie Beydoun and Blake Pietila have also played a handful of games, with Beydoun having the better record & stats compared to the freshman goalie.

Tech looks to be set up to be a pretty consistent team over the next few years, with a large stable of freshmen and sophomores, with their sophomores leading in scoring.

Lakers Lean into the Home Stretch

The last few weeks have been interesting. They ‘swept’ the Seawolves at home, winning on Friday and winning in 3×3 OT, but we all know It counts a tie, then losing in OT to the US Under-18 team. We also saw our second 100 point player in as many years and a come from behind win.

Co-captain Max Humitz leads in overall scoring & goals for the Lakers – doubling up on the second overall goal-scorer, Pierre-Luc Veillette, with 16 goals, 7 assists for 24 points. Junior center Hampus Eriksson (5-14–19) and freshman Louis Boudon (4-14—18) round out the top 3 in points.

Goaltending has been the Mareks Mitens show despite having a 2.77 GAA and a .901 save %. Unless something strange happens in the offseason that would see Mitens leave, we will have another year to find a proper replacement starting goaltender, especially seeing as Roman Bengert is also a junior. The Lakers do have former Brahma Seth Eisele who, in 33 games for the Brahmas last season, posted a 2.28 GAA and a .926 Save5 in the regular season, and a 1.73 GAA and .943 in 5 playoff games.

This weekend’s games can be heard or seen in the normal spots: At Michigan Tech, on local radio 99.5 YesFM or on Tunein. Flohockey.tv will have the video feed from Houghton. Puck drops Friday night at 7:07pm, then a quick turnaround for 5:07pm Saturday night.