Tag: preview

Series Preview: Lake Superior State @ Bemidji State

 

Bemidji State: 2016: 22-16-3 2017: 14-8-6
Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 6-20-4

“They might in the future more than ever before engage in hunting beavers.” – Samuel de Champlain
The Bemidji State Beavers are currently holding down the final home playoff spot, coming into the weekend at #4 in the WCHA. The lead Michigan Tech by 5 points and trail Minnesota State by 6. Tech is playing #14 Bowling Green this weekend, so it’s unlikely that the Beavers will lose out on their spot this weekend.
The Beavers are led by 4 20+ point scorers in Kyle Bauman, Gerry Fitzgerald, Jay Dickman and Adam Brady, all of them forwards. In net, Michael Bitzer has only missed a total of 78 minutes this season. In those 1623 minutes in net, he has recoreded a 14-7-6 record, a 2.14 GAA and a .911 Save %. Interestingly enough, he also has an assist this season.
While it’s unlikely that the Beavers move at all in the rankings this week (Minnesota State is playing UAA), they will be looking to win to keep pace with the Mavericks. The last time these two teams met, Lake State was shutout in game 1 and lost 6-3 in game 2.

“Never give up; for even rivers someday wash dams away.” – Arthur Golden
Despite the results, the last three weekends, starting with the Ferris State series, the Lakers seemed to have regained some control and come together to play as a team, save for a few players and a period or two. Saturday night’s game against Ferris gave the Lakers their first conference win in over a month. In the series at Northern Michigan, the Lakers gave the Wildcats a run for their money both nights, losing 3-2 in both games & losing the Cappo Cup.
Last weekend was the most promising of all. The boys in blue did lose Friday night 5-3, mostly due to shaky goaltending to start the game. But on Saturday night, the Lakers took it to the then #15 Bowling Green Falcons, losing only 3-2, though by all accounts the Refs gave that game away, waving off a goal that should have counted.
But we’re not going to dive into the officiating here.
Despite the resurgence of the team, it feels too little too late. As it stands, the Lakers are out of the playoff picture right now, being eight points behind Alaska and only three points ahead of last-ranked Alaska Anchorage. The good news is that the next three weeks will be tough for the Nanooks, taking on Ferris State this weekend, #19 Northern Michigan next week and the Beavers of Bemidji State the weekend of the 15th-16th before finishing up against UAA.
The Lakers need to win and win fast. Outside of this, their fate isn’t in their hands – they will need help from the rest of the league to help secure a playoff spot. I’m not holding my breath, mind you, but it could be a very interesting final month of the season.
Lake State finally has three 20-point scorers in J.T. Henke, Max Humitz and Diego Cuglietta.

Puck drops both Friday and Saturday night games starting at 8:07pm ET or 7:07 CT. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.

Series Preview: #15 Bowling Green @ Lake Superior State -Check.Slash.Survive & Senior Night

 

#15 Bowling Green: 2016: 21-18-2 2017: 14-8-6
Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 6-18-4

“The quality of a decision is like the well-time swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.” – Sun Tzu
This week brings the #15 Bowling Green Falcons to the Taffy Abel Arena for a two game set. The team is led in scoring by defenseman Alec Rauhauser (6-22-27), but it’s the senior forward and captain of the Falcons Mitchell McLain (12-8-20) that leads in goals.
In net, Bowling Green has seemed to go with a full goalie-tandom. Sophomore Ryan Bednard has appeared in 17 games and holds a 7-4-4 record & has a GAA of 2.23 and a .914 Save %. Freshman eric Dop has appeared in 14 games and holds a very similar record at 7-4-2, with a 2.63 GAA and .899 Save %. Most weeks you hope to face off against the backup in at least one game to try and steal points, but not this weekend – both goalies will be tough opponents.
Bowling Green has been riding high since the Great Lakes Invitational, having won that tournament and sweeping two of the three series that has followed since that time, beating both Ferris State in Big Rapids and Alaska Anchorage. They did lose against Northern Michigan, but there aren’t many who haven’t this season.
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort for each individual” – Vince Lombardi
Despite the results, the last two weeks has seen a resurgence of the Lakers in terms of effort and how they look out on the ice, which may bode well for coach Damon Whitten who will be looking for an extension at the end of the season, but the effort seems too little too late.
As it stands, the Lakers are currently out of the playoff picture, sitting in at #9 & 7 points being Ferris State, meaning even if they sweep the weekend, and Ferris drops both games against Michigan Tech, we will still be a point out of playoffs going into the final month of the regular season. The decision is largely out of the Lakers hands at this point, as they will need help from the teams above them in addition to winning.
The Lakers are led in scoring by senior J.T Henke (8-16-24) and led in net by junior Nick Kossoff (21GP, 5-10-2), who has a 3.16 GAA and a .907 Save %.

This weekend we will have two events happening, both on Saturday: The first is Check.Slash.Survive, which was previously known as Pink in the Rink. It was changed this season so that would help share awareness for more than just breast cancer. Apparel will be sold at the arena, along with a raffle and silent auction for jerseys that will be worn during the game. For more information on this event, please look for their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.
The second is the Blueliners annual Senior Night celebration, which will once again be held (sadly) BEFORE Saturday night’s game – between the pre-game warmups and puck drop. This year the club will be recognizing four seniors – the solo forward J.T Henke, and defensemen Kyle Chatam, captain Aiden Wright and assistant captain Ryan Renz.

Puck drops at 7:07pm both nights, and can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM in the Sault, online at www.yesfm.net , or you can watch online at WCHA.tv

Series Preview – Ferris State University @ Lake Superior State

Ferris State: 2016: 13-19-5 2017: 9-14-1

Lake State: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 5-15-4

 

“Hey, bulldog, hey man, whats up brother?”

2017 has been a pretty disappointing year for the Ferris State Bulldogs. Currently they hold the final playoff spot for the WCHA with 19 points, ahead of the Lakers by 7 points. In the 2016-2017 campaign they finished just 2 points out of a home playoff berth.

The Bulldogs are led by a trio of upperclassmen in Corey Mackin (6-12-18), Mitch Maloney (12-5-17) and Andrew Doranties (5-10-15) for point scorers. In fact, they are the top three goal scorers, with Maloney & Mackin switching up the order of the list. In this regard, they are much like the Lakers this season, however they have managed to squeak out three more league games this season, putting the final playoff spot out of reach for the Lakers this weekend.

 

Apathy Creeping In

The headline says it all here. The Lakers were outscored, outshot and outplayed all weekend in front of a crowd that totaled 893 on Friday and 803 on Saturday. The Lakers did come out swinging on Saturday night, putting up two goals in just over 4 minutes, but the Bemidji State Beavers took control of the game from there.

So, while there haven’t been many positives to focus on this season, the way they started that game showed some cohesiveness that we haven’t seen in a while, which admittingly was nice. The Lakers need to win this weekend, a sweep is preferred. that would leave them just a single point out of playoffs. But even if they do win, they will need some help getting into the playoff picture properly

Puck drops both Friday & Saturday at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at  www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.

Series Preview – Bemidji State University @ Lake Superior State

 

Bemidji State: 2016: 22-16-3  2017: 9-6-5

LSSU: 2016-11-18-7 2017: 5-13-4

 

“That beaver eatin’ Taco Bell!” – Primus

This year’s WCHA standings are a bit of a surprise to everyone, arguably for the Bemidji State Beavers more than any other. The reigning MacNaughton Cup winners, and finishing second in the Broadmoor race started off a bit slow this season, getting above .500 in the two weeks before the Christmas break, sweeping both Alaska Anchorage & Alabama-Huntsville.

The Beavers are led by seniors Kyle Bauman and Gerry Fitzgerald as their scoring leaders – both have 20 points going into this weekend. Jay Dickman leads the team in goals, with 11, and also comes in third in overall scoring.

They are backstopped by senior Michael Bitzer, who has played in all but two games for Bemidji, posting a .910 Save % and a 2.26 GAA. If you remember to last season, Bitzer ended the 2016-2017 campaign as the #5 goalie in the nation, posting the most games played, games started & tied for total team games played. He also lead in minutes played, with 1389:26 & won the most games amongst goalies. He was also in a three way tie with total shutouts with 4. He ended the season with a 1.47 GAA and a .938 Save %. BSU will have to have an outstanding second half to allow Bitzer to reach those numbers once again.

 

“…you were never intended to live in the life raft, to drift years on end, in sight of land but never close enough.” – Nick Flynn

While I can’t speak for any other Laker fan, I was hoping that the boys in blue would put up a good showing at the Three Rivers Classic, hosted by Robert Morris University & use it as a launching pad for the rest of the season. Sadly, that did not happen.

The Lakers opened up the weekend against the hosts Robert Morris University Friday night. To say it was disappointing would be a huge understatement. RMU shutout Lake State 5-0, scoring three goals against Mareks Mitens in the first period, and finishing off with two against Nick Kossoff in the second. The Colonials would outshoot the Lakers in the first alone 17-4, ending the night 38-19.

Now while these stats look bad, the tape looks worse. The team left Mitens out there all alone in the first, with a defense even more porous that what we’ve been seeing of late.

While the consolation game against the Arizona State Sun Devils would have a different result, they were largely outplayed – Nick Kossoff would stop 48 of 49 goals, however ASU goalie Ryland Pashovitz would only stop 17 of 20 total shots.

This team needs a change of heart, otherwise they will end the month, which marks their last home game, with playing in an empty arena and no hope for the playoffs. As of right now, the Lakers are on the outside looking in: two games behind both Alaska and Alabama-Huntsville. If they can get on a run, there is a shot at making the playoffs.

But all of that could be for naught if the coaching staff can’t get the locker room back, and from my vantage point, it doesn’t look likely that it will happen, which is a shame as I still maintain that, on paper, this could be the most talented group of players we’ve seen in a while, based off of their previous years with the Lakers, or with their recent Juniors results.

January will be the make it or break it month for Lake State: if they cannot start closing the gap, they will miss the playoffs, and I believe that the tone for this month will be set this weekend against Bemidji. Puck drops both Friday & Saturday at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at  www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.

Minnesota State-Mankato @ LSSU – Series Preview

#8 Minnesota State-Mankato: 2016: 22-13-4. 2017: 9-5-0

Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7. 2017: 4-9-3

 

Number 8 in the nation…Number 2 in the WCHA

It’s another year, and the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks are once again ranked, despite being behind unranked Bowling Green in the WCHA. The team is led by second year captain C.J. Suess (formerly Franklin), a Winnipeg Jets draft pick who has 4 goals, 12 assists for 16 points. His fellow co-captains (this team has 3 C’s, with no A’s).

Sophomore defenseman Ian Scheid has a team leading 3 PPGs, ahead of Suess, Knutson, McClure & Rivera, all with 2. Daniel Brickley, a junior defenseman, has the honor of being the most penalized player on the team, taking 11 penalties for a total of 33 minutes. Despite this, he has 10 points in 14 games.

Backstopping the team, you have the duo of seinor Connor Lacouvee, who has played 9 games for the Mavs, with a 7-2-0 record, and Jason Pawloski, a junior with a 2-3-0 record in 6 games played, with his two wins being shutouts. Expect to see Lacouvee in net Friday night.

 

Making for Lake Huron

It’s December here in the Upper Peninsula, and after the last few days, it seems like the snow is here to stay. Before too long, the Sault Locks will be shutting down. The Lakers, with a 4-9-3 record after splitting with the Alaska Nanooks last week, will have to make great strides this week in order get through the metaphorical locks before it’s too late.

Save for a few players, the Lakers looked just bad in the 5-3 loss last Friday night. It showed in coach Damon Whitten’s postgame with Bill Crawford on 99.5 YesFM, stating that some player showed up not ready to play, and saying that they will shorten the bench if they need to. He also noted that the players had called a closed door meeting after the game.

Whatever was said or done in the 20+ hours after the game seemed to spur the team, which went on to win 4-1 Saturday at the Taffy Abel Arena. Let’s hope that whatever was done last weekend motivated the team for this week, since you cannot make a mistake against the Mavericks.

In brighter news, last weekend showed the return of Colin Saccoman, in his first series back since injuring himself in Denver. He did play in the Under-18 game, but that was a single night. He seemed to be testing it Saturday night as the game went on, despite taking regular shifts. It also sounds like Lukas Kaelble is back on the ice, and the team hopes he is back soon. Yuki Miura and Steven Ruggiero hope to make their seasonal debut either next week against the Michigan Tech Huskies, or at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh, PA.

The keys of the game remain the same as they have been: Stay out of the box, and put shots on net. While it is not realistic to get a sweep this weekend (though we will be hoping for such), getting a split will go a long ways when it comes to the teams’ confidence going forward, even more so since Mankato has been a thorn in Lake State’s side since the dissolution of the CCHA, and the realignment into the WCHA.

 

Laker Hockey has two promotions going on this weekend:

Friday night is Superhero Night: Laker Hockey will be honoring local law enforcement, first responders and military personnel. Get to the arena early between 4-7pm for the EUP United Way Chili Cookout.

Saturday night: Teddy Bear Toss: Bring a stuffed toy to the arena and throw it onto the ice during the first intermission. These will be collected & given to local children in need.

Puck drops at 7:07pm both nights, and can be heard locally on 99.5  YesFM in the Sault, online at www.yesfm.net , or you can watch online at WCHA.tv

Alaska @ Lake Superior State – Series Preview

 

Alaska: 2016: 12-20-4. 2017: 4-10-2

LSSU: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 3-8-3

 

Bearing Down

Coming off of a tough 5-4 OT loss Friday night against the Huskies of Michigan Tech, and a Saturday night game that they’d rather forget, a 5-1 loss to MTU, the Alaska Nanooks return to Sault Sainte Marie for a two game stretch, albeit with one less player.

Junior defenseman Jack Weiss was given a one game suspension after a contact to the head call made against the player in Saturday night’s game. The defenseman has skated for only four games this season and currently only has a single goal with no assists. Despite only skating for four games, he has enough penalty minutes to come in second for most penalized player on the team, well behind senior defenseman Zach Frye.

Backstopping the team this season are a duo of sophomores, with the lead workhorse being the Sweade Anton Martinsson, with 13 games played and posting a GAA of 3.16 and SV% of .895.

Turning Up The Heat

The Lakers are in a tough spot coming off of 6-0 showing against the USNTDP U-18s last Saturday. While the team gets back star sophomore defenseman Colin Saccoman, there were a few players missing from the exhibition game and are rumored to be injured: forwards Brayden Gelsinger and Jake Hand and defenseman & captain Aiden Wright. This is in addition to Lukas Kaelble still being out and losing C.J. Hayes to the SPHL.

Despite the injuries and losses, the Lakers will have to use this win as a springboard for the rest of the season. The rest of the first half certainly doesn’t get any easier, as the #8 Minnesota State-Mankato comes to town next weekend, and the Lakers travel to Houghton to take on the Huskies the weekend of the 15th/16th. For the final weekend of the year, they will travel to Pittsburgh for the Three Rivers Classic to take on the hosts Robert Morris University, and one of either Arizona State or Providence, who is currently ranked #9 in the country (and this reporter will be at PPG Paints Arena for the tournament).

One of the keys for the remainder of 2017, and really for the season, is to stop taking stupid penalties and making easy mistakes. The top two penalty-getters couldn’t be any different. Matt McArdle has taken 10 penalties in 14 games for a total of 23 minutes. Max Humitz has taken two less penalties  but has 27 minutes.  The Lakers have a broken D-corp at the moment, so having a defenseman in the box isn’t ideal, nor is the top goal-getter of the team.

 

Puck drops at 7:07pm both nights, and can be heard locally on 99.5  YesFM in the Sault, online at www.yesfm.net , or you can watch online at WCHA.tv.

Series Preview: Lake Superior State at Bowling Green University

Bowling Green: 2016: 21-18-2 2017: 4-3-2

Lake State: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 2-6-2

 

Bowling Over the Competition

Unsurprisingly, the Bowling Green Falcons are off to a great start this season, backstopped by the underclass duo of Ryan Bednard and Eric Dop. Bednard, a sophomore, has posted a 2.14 GAA with a .924 SV%; Dop has a 1.75GAA and a .936 SV%. On the front end, they are being lead by freshman forward Cameron Wight, who has 9 points in 9 games, followed closely by sophomore defenseman Alec Rauhauser.

The Falcons will be making it tough on the Lakers this weekend at the Slater Family Ice Arena, where the Falcons have a 3-1-1 record early in the season. Behind the bench they are lead by 8th year head coach Chris Bergeron, who has not had a losing season since the 2012-2013 campaign.

They were slated to be #4 by the preseason polls, but are sitting on top of the WCHA. After this weekend, their schedule for the rest of the year certainly does not get any easier, facing #10 Minnesota State, Miami and Bemidji State over the next three weeks, although all three are at home.

Lakers Get Dogged

While the goal was to sweep last week, it was sure good to see the Lakers split the weekend series with the Sea Wolves of Alaska-Anchorage. The Lakers certainly did not play a clean game Saturday night and squandered some chances, but I liked what they were trying to do to get pucks in the net.

But seeing as the Sea Wolves provided that much of a challenge for the Lakers, this weekend will prove tough to nobodies surprise. However,  one bright spot going into this weekend is that the Lakers actually have 2 more total points than BG, being lead by 1.3 Pts/game J.T. Henke (13 points in 10 games). Bowling Green’s scoring looks to be a bit more spread out across their roster, with only 8 skaters not having points (6 not counting goalies), whereas the Lakers have 10 players without points (8 without goalies).

The keys to getting points this weekend are the same as they should be every week: Limit shots, generate shots & stay out of the box. The Lakers cannot afford to take any stupid penalties or give the officials any reason to look for a penalty.

This slugfest can be seen locally at the Taffy Abel Arena, with the Friday game starting at 7:37pm and the Saturday night game starting at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at  www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.

Series Preview: Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State

Michigan Tech: 2017 record: 2-1-0. 2016: 23-15-7

Lake Superior State: 2017 Record: 1-1-0. 2016: 11-18-7

 

Shawhan Mushing the Huskies

After an outstanding 2016-2017 campaign, a number of changes happened in Houghton, MI during the offseason that lead many to believe that dark days were coming for the Huskies. Outstanding goaltender Angus Redmond, who led the Huskies to a #2 WCHA & #19 NCAA finish last season left the team to go pro with the Aniheim Ducks organization (and is currently assigned to the San Diego Gulls of the AHL).

In addition to Redmond, Michigan Tech also lost their Head Coach, Mel Pearson, to take over for long-time Michigan head coach Red Berenson  who retired after 33 years of coaching the Wolverines, ending with an outstanding 848-429-92 record. The Tech vacancy was filled by former assistant coach, and Sault Sainte Marie native Joe Shawhan who played for the Lakers from 1982-1987 & was a volunteer coach for their 1992 & 1994 national championships.

Last week, however, critics were silenced as Tech doubled up  #16 Union and beat #6 Minnesota-Duluth to win the annual Ice Breaker tournament. The huskies hope to continue that streak this weekend against the Lakers.

Rough Seas Ahead

Those of us who were at Abel Arena on Friday last week for game 1 against NMU would think that this year was the year, much the same was as we did last year against Michigan State during GLSW. The Lakers beat the Wildcats 5-3 in the first game of a home-and-home series. Diego Cuglietta scored two goals for the Lakers, with the others coming from Max Humitz, J.T Henke and Anthony Nellis. Freshman Lukas Kaelble assisted on 3 of the 5 goals.

Saturday night was a different story, however, as NMU outscored the Lakers 4-1 with the final 3 goals coming late in their respective periods. Philip Beaulieu scored the game winning goal at 19:20 of the second, with goals 3 & 4 coming at 18:01 and 18:28 of the third.

The Lakers know firsthand just how dominant Michigan Tech can be after being trounced in the first round of the WCHA playoffs last  year, losing 6-4 and 8-0. They also have not won a game against Tech since bench boss Damon Whitten took over.

The keys for the Lakers this weekend is to close out periods & not to give their top scorers in Joel L’Esperance and Mark Auk any good looks at the goal. Whitten also has to not be gun shy in pulling a goalie or shortening the bench if a player does not perform. The Huskies are a team that will take advantage of anything you give them.  On paper, they have it all: goal scorers, a solid blueline & a barn full of goalies, but all of that is for naught if you can’t finish a game as strong as you started it.

The games start Friday night at 7:37pm and Saturday at 7:07pm, and will be part of the GLSW celebration.

Series Preview: Northern Michigan University @/vs. Lake Superior State

2016-2017 Records:

NMU: 13-22-4, 10-15-3-1 WCHA

LSSU: 11-18-7, 8-13-7-4 WCHA

This week opens up regular play for the Lake Superior State Lakers, and it just so happens to be against in-state, in-U.P. rivals the Northern Michigan University Wildcats in a home-and-home non-conference set. Both teams are coming off of disappointing seasons and both have had some major changes in the locker room.  But both teams have the same goals on their minds: First, win the Cappo Cup. Second, get into the NCAA tournament.

Wild(cat) changes in Marquette:

The Wildcats made the WCHA playoffs as the 8th seed and took the eventual champions, Bemidji State, to three games.  Just making the playoffs was an accomplishment for Northern Michigan, however, as very little went right for the ‘Cats in the first half of the season.  As a result, NMU stood with a woeful 4-16-2 overall record at the start of 2017.  It took the patented Walt Kyle second half turnaround to get the Wildcats to even contend for a playoff spot.  In addition, they tied Wisconsin(B1G) 2-2 in two non-conference series; and a nine game winning streak, sprinkled with a five game shutout streak for goalie Atte Tolvanen, which fell just short of former Lake State star goalie Blaine Lacher. Tolvanen went for 339:05 without a goal against, where Lacher went 375:01 in route to the 1994 NCAA championship.

Lucky for NMU, Tolvanen will be coming back for what will be his junior season. Also returning is senior Robbie Payne, who had the second most points on the team behind the now graduated Dominik Shine. On the blueline, sophomore Philip Beaulieu and Jordan Klimek return.

Northern will also be carrying seven freshman this year: one goalie, two defensemen and four forwards. They will have to step up and help lift this team up.

The major news in the offseason was the firing of head coach Walt Kyle. There was some controversy surrounding Kyle’s departure that came out in the days that followed the announcement, but they hired former Minnesota assistant coach Grant Potulny, who helped the Gophers to a half-dozen regular season championships and nearly as many NCAA appearances. I think everyone who follows college hockey knows just how strong Minnesota has been, so this hiring should have Northern fans excited.

 

Lakers setting sail for playoffs

If you just looked at the first month of the 2016-2017 season, you would have expected the Lakers to make it to the WCHA finals, or at least host a game on their home ice. The Lakers started the season 5-0 against NCAA opponents, outscoring the opposition 27-11 in that time, and 30-15 for the month of October. November started the same way, beating Minnesota State 5-1, but after this, the team was inconsistent but showed flashes of brilliance before being trounced by Michigan Tech in the WCHA quarterfinals, being outscored 14-4 in two games.

The Lakers have had their fair share of changes in the offseason. Last year’s leading goal scorer, sophomore Mitch Hults, left the Lakers at the end of the season to join the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League. Likewise, standout blueliner Kristofers Bindulis joined the Hershey Bears of the AHL following the season finale. Luke Morgan transferred to Michigan after only one year with the Lakers after netting 22 points in 36 games. Goaltender Gordy Deifel used his last year of eligibility and is now with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL.

Returning players include forwards J.T Henke, Diego Cuglietta and Anthony Nellis, who each had outstanding seasons and Collin Saccoman will be anchoring the blueline alongside the newly named captain Aiden Wright. Saccoman ended last season tied for fourth in blocked shots across the entire NCAA with 94 blocked shots, which is 2.61 blocks per games played.

Once again the Lakers have their fair share of freshman, with eight freshmen and one sophomore transfer coming in. Included in these players are two goalies, Mareks Mitens and Roman Bengert, each have impressive resumes, having been named Goaltender of the Year in each of their leagues, and Mitens being named the NAHL MVP after a record –setting season.

The blueline will have four new members battling each week for a spot, and they are some big guys, averaging a height of nearly 6’3.

Three players join the forward corp, with Hampus Erikkson being the most noteable standing at 6’6”. Hailing from Sweden, Erikkson joined the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL last season, Posting 17-38=55 points in 57 regular season outings. He had 2-6=8 in 7 playoff games. The Lakers hope that will transition to the NCAA level.

With just these notable examples, this writer believes that the Lakers have shore up some of the deficiencies that many fans thought they would have after the losses from last season.

Give me a Cup of that Cappo:

The Cappo Cup was first awarded by the late Reverend Monsignor Louis Cappo, a pastor from Baltic, MI, but spent much of his life along the shores of Lake Superior. He was a member of the LSSU Board of Trustees, was given the Northern Michigan University President’s Award; These are what links the two schools, and what lead to him creating the Cappo Cup in 1991.

The cup goes to whichever team takes either 1) the season series or in the event of a tie 2)outscores opponents during the season series. NMU holds the series record, by our count of 15-9.

The puck drops Friday at 7:07 PM at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Sainte Marie, MI & Saturday at 7:00 PM at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, MI. Both games can be heard both locally and on the net at 99.5 YesFM.