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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

#4 Minnesota-State Mankato AT #20 Lake Superior State

 

#4 Minnesota State-Mankato: 10-2-0
#20 Lake Superior State: 7-4-1

Mighty Magical Minnesota Mavericks May Muster Men

Another year, another Mankato team in the national rankings, and for good reason. They swept now #8 Boston University , stole a game at #16 North Dakota (and came within a goal of tying for the Saturday game), swept instate rivals #10 Minnesota. In addition to these ranked wins, they’ve also handedly swept Alaska & Ferris, but split last weekend against Bemidji.

Leading the team in scoring are a pair of juniors and a sophomore: Parker Tuomie, Marc Michaelis and Jared Spooner. The three combine for 48 points. The netminders are a whole ‘nother animal, having the duo of senior Mathias Israelsson and freshman Dryden McKay split time. Israelsson has won all 8 games he has appeared in, whereas McKay is 3-2-0 in five appearances.

Lucky Lakers Last

After splitting with Upper Peninsula rivals Northern Michigan University, may people, myself included, did not think the Lakers would remain in the rankings, despite the loss being sealed with an open net. The loss also marked the fourth straight Saturday that the Lakers have lost on.
Gage Torrel, Ashton Calder & Brendan McKay each had a multi-point weekend, with defenseman Steven Ruggiero scoring the lone goal Saturday night.
Minnesota-State has been the Lakers kryptonite since the nWCHA started, having won all but a single regular season game, having won 5-1 in the 2016-2017 series, and won game 2 of 2015-2016’s WCHA playoffs.

While they did lose on Saturday night, other than some slow skating, the team seemed to play better than what we’ve been used to for a Saturday, which is great, though there are things that need to be cleaned up

As always, show up to support your Lakers at the Taffy Abel Arena this weekend. Puck drops at 7:07pm. Those of you that are out of town can listen to the game with Bill Crawford and John Forest on 99.5 YESFM, at yesfm.net or on TuneIn.

Happy Thanksgiving

I realize that we have a lot of readers on here who are not American, but to those that are, I would like to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

To those that are outside of the States, I hope all is well with you and yours, and that you have a fantastic finish to the week.

Series Preview: NMU @ #20 LSSU – Cappo Cup, Round 1

 

Northern Michigan: 5-7-0

#20 Lake Superior State: 6-3-1

 

“I am Boo the little tiger…”

The early part of the season has been tough on Northern Michigan, who coming off a fantastic season last year was hoping to start out strong, but they have faced three ranked opponents before this weekend (#4 St. Cloud State, #9 Bowling Green and #17 Cornell), before coming to Sault Sainte Marie and taking on the new #20 Lakers. Of the three previous series, Northern has stolen one game from Bowling Green, a 2-0 shutout for Atte Tolvanen, who has come out of nowhere for the Wildcats over the last few seasons.

 

NMU’s top three scorers for the year involve a pair of senior defencemen – Troy Loggins and Adam Rockwood, and surprisingly a defenseman, Philip Beaulieu. In terms of straight goals, you can add Darien Craighead to the list, a junior with 5 goals on the year.

 

Grant Potulny, 25-15-3 in his second season at Northern Michigan has been riding Atte Tolvanen in net, who has appeared in all 12 games this season. It’s only 12 games in, but one has to imagine that Tolvanen has got to be feeling that workload, and the Lakers may be able to exploit that this weekend.

 

“Tomorrow, noon, we hit the air and then take up the strain/And watch the Mary Ellen Carter rise again”

The Lakers this year have been on a bit of a wild ride. Starting the season with sweeps at both Merrimack and Alabama Huntsville, stealing a game from #12 Michigan, getting swept by an upstart Alaska team and really giving it to Bowling Green 5-0 Friday night. 

If you’ve been following some of the various media outlets for college hockey, it’s been a fun week being a Laker fan. Anthony Nellis was featured in a USCHO article, the Lakers were ranked #20 by USCHO with 78 points, Sault native Ashton Calder scored his first collegiate goal; was named WCHA Co-Rookie of the week; and that goal was also the game winner in the 5-0 blowout of Bowling Green which also made the WCHA Plays of the Week.

Hopefully the team doesn’t eat too much turkey tonight, as they’ll need to be in top shape this weekend. The Lakers have come out of the gate swinging, and I believe could be ranked higher both within the WCHA and nationally if it wasn’t for the plague of late goals. This Wildcat team won’t just lay down, especially with the rivalry the way it is.

 

Puck drops both nights at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally at 99.5 YESfm, or online at www.yesfm.net or on TuneIn. You can see the action yourself at the Taffy Abel Arena, or online at Flohockey.tv.

Series Preview: Lake Superior State at Bowling Green University

Bowling Green: 7-2-2

LSSU: 5-2-1

 

Flying into #10

The Falcons this year have had an interesting schedule, having played 8 non-conference games, and only two series worth of WCHA play. Amongst those NC games, they split a home-and-home with Robert Morris, where the home team took the win, went up 3 points on #19 Western Michigan and dunked #4 Ohio State 8-2. This kind of play has landed them in the #10 spot this week, after splitting with Northern Michigan and forcing a tie & win with UAA.

 

They are led in scoring by a trio of sophomores: Max Johnson  (6-7-13), Brandon Kruse (3-10-13) and Connor Ford (6-5-11). Ryan Bednard looks to be their go-to netminder so far this season, having played in 9 of the 11 games. He currently has a 1.33 GAA and a .943 Save %. Eric Dop has similar numbers, though he does only have 3 goals against to Bednard’s 12.

 

Chris Bergeron returns for his 9th season as the Falcons head coach, with a record of 146-143-39.

 

“If it’s brown, lay down. If it’s black, fight back. If it’s white, goodnight.”

The Lakers learned the hard way the above phrase. They both fought back against the Nanooks and was fought against. Even though it was stated both on this website along with other online outlets, the Nanooks were a better team than their record gave them credit for, but it doesn’t make the sweep any easier to swallow.

 

Not only will the Lakers have to fight back against a very good Bowling Green team. The good news is that the Lakers tend to play pretty well against them, and have been some of the more fun games that I’ve been able to witness.

 

There is one takeaway from the last couple of weeks that the coaching staff will need to clean up: Using the bottom two lines more. I don’t have the numbers, but it certainly seemed to me that the fourth line had maybe 4 minutes total last weekend, with the third getting just a few more. Yes, it’s great that the top 2 lines are firing on all cylinders, but history has proven, both in the NCAA and the NHL that you need to be able to roll all 4 lines to win championships.

 

As always, the game will be on http://www.yesfm.net, or can be seen on Flohockey.tv. If you living near Bowling Green, please support your Lakers at the Slater Family Ice Arena. Puck drops at 7:37pm Friday and 7:07pm Saturday. Also, for those in the Sault, Laker Athletics will be hosting a viewing party at Buffalo Wild Wings starting at 7:30pm Friday.

Series Preview: University of Alaska at LSSU

 

Alaska: 0-7-1

LSSU: 5-1-0

 

Bad Intros and Bad Scoring

(Seriously, look up the Nanook’s old intro video).

Alaska has had a very tough schedule to open their season which has only allowed them to score 9 points in 8 games. Their top three in scoring have a total of11 points between them, and only 3 goals. After lighting up Simon Fraser for 13, the Nanooks have faced Arizona State, #5 St. Cloud State, #9 Denver & #7 Minnesota State on the road, save for St. Cloud, which was played in Fairbanks.

This week, they travel to the lower 48 yet again to Sault Sainte Marie. They bring in 10 Freshman, with only 4 seniors returning this season. Their head coach is a man named Erik Largen, who previously coached for Marian down in Division III hockey, where he went 18-4-4.

The University of Alaska skates on a large Olympic sized ice sheet at home, so they are nearly always a good skating team, and with all the traveling they’ve done as part of the early season, they are a team that the Lakers can’t underestimate. Hell, they only lost to Denver in regulation once, losing in Overtime that Saturday night.

 

All Aboard The Hype Train!

The Lakers have started their year out at 5-1, losing last Saturday to their former CCHA rivals, Michigan and their head coach Mel Pearson. They’ll be looking to built that momentum, and on paper, there doesn’t seem much that Alaska can really do to slow it down, but the team has to give it their all.

The Laker’s scoring leaders are led by two seniors, Anthony Nellis (5-5-10) and Gage Torrel(0-7-7), followed closely by upstart freshman Jacob Nordqvist (1-5-6). Add in Hampus Eriksson, and you have 4 point-per-game players.

The goaltending save % looks good for both Mitens and Kossoff, at .933 and .900 respectively. Their Goals Against Average is a bit subpar, as they’ve been getting peppered with shots. Whoever stands in net this weekend will have to try and stay awake and not let any soft goals in.

 

Puck drops both nights at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally at 99.5 YESfm, or online at www.yesfm.net or on TuneIn. You can see the action yourself at the Taffy Abel Arena, or online at Flohockey.tv.