Tag: series preview

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.

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.

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.

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.

Series Preview: GLSW Weekend! #12 Michigan at Lake Superior State

 

(#12) Michigan: 3-2-0

Lake Superior State: 4-0-0

 

From #4 to #12 – Hail to the…Victors?

Michigan started the year off at #4 in the national polls, but slipped after a drumming put on by unranked Vermont, maintained their rank after beating Waterloo, but slipped to #9 before losing 6-3 to a stacked USNTP U-18 Team, then to #11 for their match with WMU. After splitting with #19 Western Michigan, they dropped to #12, even after sweeping St. Lawrence at home.

The Wolverines return only two of their top 5 scorers this season: Defenseman Quinn Hughes and forward Jake Slaker. Their top scorer last season was Cooper Marody, a junior, but he decided to go pro, and is currently with the Edmonton Oilers organization. This will also be a homecoming of sorts for Luke Morgan, who decommitted from the Lakers after an outstanding freshman year. It just so happens that former Michigan Tech head coach, and Damon Whitten’s former boss Mel Pearson was tapped to replace longtime & Hall of Fame head coach Red Berenson.

While this will not be the first time the Wolverines and Lakers have faced each other since the dissolution of the former CCHA, this will mark the first time Michigan has been back to Abel Arena since the 2012-2013 season, where the two teams split the weekend.

Even Keel for the Lakers

There’s been some nervous optimism going through the fanbase here in the Sault going into this weekend, with the Lakers being 4-0 on the year and 6-0 counting the exhibition series.

Of course, we’re hoping that the record goes to 6-0, especially considering that this weekend is Great Lake State Weekend! And we will have two Laker Legends in the house, being inducted into the LSSU Hall of fame: Former goaltender Darrin Madeley (1989-1992) and Mark Astley (1988-1992). Madeley had a fairly long post- college career, filling in for the Ottawa Senators. Astley played primarily in Switzerland, but had a few stints with the Buffalo Sabres. He also has his own banner hung up in Abel Arena, as he played with the Canadian National Team for 54 games, ultimately winning silver in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

This will be the first major test for the Lakers, going against a nationally ranked team.  I don’t know if anyone can say that Michigan has more to lose than the Lakers have more to gain. Either way, it will be fun to see the blue and maize return to the Sault, and the stands ought to be packed.

 

On Friday night, the puck will drop at 7:37pm at Taffy Abel Arena, and 7:07pm Saturday night. If you have not ordered your tickets, I would urge everyone to order ahead of time to 1) guarantee your seat, and 2) avoid the long lines. If you are not able to make it to the game, or you are out of town, you can listen to the Voice of the Lakers Bill Crawford on 99.5 YESfm over the air or online, or watch the game on FloHockey.tv.