Category: Series Previews

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.

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: 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.

Series Preview: Bemidji State At #18 Lake Superior State

 

Bemidji State: 12-11-3

#18 Lake Superior State: 15-7-2

 

Beavers Bouncing Back

After an on-and-off start to the season, the Beavers of Bemidji has strung some big-time wins together, having split their weekend series at Bowling Green and sweeping Michigan Tech outside on Lake Bemidji last weekend, albeit with some extra time Friday night.

In an interesting turn, the Beavers are led in scoring by senior defenseman Justin Baudry with 19 points, though their leading goal scorers are a pair of sophomore forwards Aaron Miller (10g) and Charlie Combs (9g) .

Freshman Zach Driscoll and sophomore Henry Johnson seemed to have split more weekends, with Driscoll starting 15 games, and Johnson starting 13. GAA and Save % are nearly identical, though the freshman does have 2 more wins.

Lakers Leaning Towards the Light

With 10 series left before the post season, the Lakers have positioned themselves to be in the final spot for home ice this season. They have the tie breaker, as of now, on Michigan Tech, and are only a point ahead of their opponents this weekend. Through the USCHO poll, the Lakers are ranked #18, however through the Pairwise rankings, they are at #20. They’ll need to start a good run this weekend in order to break into the top 15, and a chance at an at-large bid.

Our top three scorers are the same as they’ve been for a while – led by captain Diego Cuglietta (17-7-24), Anthony Nellis (11-12-23) and Max Humitz (9-12-21). Diego is officially a point-a-game player, with Nellis being 1 point behind that mark, the same with Humitz going into the weekend. 

The goaltending will be the story in the later half of the year. Nick Kosshoff has played in 16 games, with a record of 11-3-2, and Mareks Mitens following him with 8 games played and a 4-4-0 record, with all 4 of the wins being shutouts. This includes last weekend where Mareks made 29 saves. While I don’t think Nick has lost his net, I think Mareks is certainly lighting the fire – hopefully a bit of competition is a good thing.

 

Friday night, the Lakers will also try to battle domestic violence, providing a free t-shirt to the first 1000 fans so they can white-out the arena, so do try to come out to the arena this weekend to support your Lakers. However, if you can’t, it will be on over the air on 99.5 YESFm, streaming through Yesfm.net or through the TuneIn app. Flohockey.tv will have the video feed of the game.

Series Preview: #18 Lake Superior State University @ #6 Minnesota State-Mankato

LSSU: 14-6-2

MSUM: 18-5-1

 

Purple Posse

So, we meet again, Mankato. Since the realignment, the Mavericks have had the Lakers number. Of course, Lake State hopes that changes this weekend, but looking at Minnesota State’s record of 18-5-1, and a perfect 11-0-0 at home, that this weekend will be another battle.

Surprisingly, the Maverick’s top scorers are either juniors or sophomores. Junior forwards Marc Michaelis and Parker Tuomie top this list, with 26 and 22 points respectively, followed by sophomore forward Jared Spooner at 21 points.

In net, Freshman Dryden McKay has won the starting role, having played in 17 games with a 11-4-1 record, 2.05 GAA and a .919 Save %. Behind him is senior Mathias Israelsson who has played in 9 games this season, 7-1-0 record, with 1.74 GAA and a .908 Save%.

On a side note, they’ve out of the 12 series they’ve played as part of the regular season, half of them have been against ranked opponents (Ferris x2, Bemidji, UAA, Michigan Tech and Alaska were unranked). They dropped 1 game against any of those opponents, Saturday night at Bemidji.  The only series they were swept in was against the then #12 Bowling Green in December. They also lost against Minnesota Duluth and tied against Arizona State at the Desert Hockey Classic, and then #16 North Dakota early in the season.

Blue Bombshells Bombast the Best

Minnesota State-Mankato: The real test to any season. This season, however, having been ranked on and off throughout the season, becoming the new GLI champions, and being on a 8-game unbeaten streak, Mankato will be the ultimate gut check. Remember: Six of those wins came from opponents #52 or lower in the pairwise. The other two are #30 Michigan State and #31 Michigan Tech.

The top point getters stay the same, except Max Humitz breaks into the top. Diego Cuglietta and Anthony Nellis lead with 23 and 22 points respectively, with Humitz bringing up the rear at 19. Both Cuglietta and Nellis  have also been nominated for the Hobey Baker Award – you can vote for them here (https://www.hobeybaker.com/vote) , and they also have a shot at breaking 100 points, though by my math, Humitz should be the next 100 point scorer next season.

Puck drops at 7:07pm CST, so 8:07 pm both Friday and Saturday nights in Mankato. Locally it can be heard on 99.5 YESFm, or on it’s website stream or on Tunein. You can see the game on FloHockey.tv for a nominal fee.

Series Preview: University of Alabama-Huntsville @ #18 Lake Superior State

 

University of Alabama-Huntsville: 4-18-0

(#18) Lake Superior State University: 13-6-1

 

Charging Towards the Finish Line

Going into this weekend, the Chargers of Alabama-Huntsville are only two points above Ferris State for the final playoff spot. But despite their record, they do have two wins against some pretty good teams: Michigan Tech and Bemidji State. They also forced overtime last Saturday against Ferris to take an extra point.

The Chargers are led by two 8 point scorers, forwards Christian Rajic and Jesper Ohrvall, but almost all of their points are from assists. Jack Jeffers, Bauer Neudecker and Austin Beaulieu are the top goal-getters, with 5, 4, 4 respectively.

They’ve been riding sophomore goaltender Mark Sinclair this year, playing 14 games compared to senior Jake Theut’s 8 games. However, they both have 2 wins each, and nearly the same save percentage, with Sinclair having a .918 and Theut with a .917.

Lakers Looking For a Third Weekend Sweep

It’s certainly been an interesting season for the Lakers. On the road, they are almost perfect with 9-1, 2-0 at neutral sites, but are only 2-5-1 at home. They hope to make that 4-5-1 this weekend.

They are led by two 21 point scorers, seniors Diego Cuglietta and Anthony Nellis. Lukas Kaelble follows up in third with 16 points, 15 of them being assists. We’re of course hoping for the return of Max Humitz, but I personally hope that he takes all the time he needs to properly grieve, so he can come back 100%.

On the backend, Nick Kossoff has all but won the starting spot in net, having won 10 of the 13 games he’s started in. Sophomore Mareks Mitens is just on the wrong side of .500, winning 3 of the 7 games he started. Despite the way Kossoff has played, I would not be surprised if the coaching staff try to get Mitens some ice time this weekend.

 

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.

Lake Superior State @ Alaska-Anchorage

Lake Superior State: 11-6-1

Alaska Anchorage: 2-15-1

Seawolves Seek Shelter From Storm

What is there to say about this Anchorage team that other pundints haven’t said? According to the current Pairwise rankings, UA-A are dead last in the whole of the NCAA.

Their points leader has 6 total points, with 4 being goals, is Nicolas Erb-Ekholm, followed by Nils Rygaard with 3 goals, 2 assists for 5 goals. They’ve also utilized three goalies t his year, but the only one has their two wins, and that is Brody Claeys.

Former head coach Matt Thomas certainly didn’t leave any real help to first year head coach Matt Curley, and Mr. Curley has a lot of work cut out for him to get the program on the right track after dwelling in the cellar for a number of years, which is not that unlike Lake State.

Lakers Sailing the High Seas After Tournament Win

What can I say about these Lakers that hasn’t already been said on both this site & others? Overall they’ve been playing good hockey, though the games they’ve played bad in were very noticeable on the ice.

But after winning the Great Lakes Invitational, having captain Diego Cuglietta named MVP of the tournament, having three (!) players named to Player of the Week in the WCHA last week, they’ve got to be flying high, albeit not nearly as high following news of the death of Max Humitz’ father on January 1st.

Anchorage is hard place to play as they have an Olympic ice sheet, and of course the long flight. But they’ll be playing for more than themselves this weekend.

Catch the action on 99.5 YESFm, or on TuneIn, where it will likely feature the Alaska feed. You can watch the game using FloHockey.

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.