Tag: wildcats

Series Preview: #18 Lake Superior State at Northern Michigan


#18 Lake Superior State: 20-8-2

Northern Michigan: 15-14-2

Father Cappo’s Cup Part Deux

This is the second part of the annual Cappo Cup series between Northern Michigan and LSSU. Going into this series, hosted in Marquette, the series is tied 1-1, with a +1-goal differential going to LSSU.

This year’s Wildcat team has gotten a lot of help from their blue line in scoring, as their top scorer is junior defenseman Philip Beaulieu, who in 30 games has amassed 5 goals and 23 assists for 28 points. Close behind him is senior Troy Loggins (15g 12a for 27tp) then by Adam Rockwood, another senior forward with 5 goals, 16 assists and 21 points.

The net has been owned by the excellent senior Finnish netminder Atte Tolvanen, who has played in every game this season, earning their 15-14-2 record, with a 2.31 GAA and .915 Save%. Freshman backup Nolan Kent has appeared in 2 games, but looks like mostly in relief as no wins or losses are attributed to him.

After last year’s run, this year has certainly been a disappointment to Wildcat fans, and there are certainly some questions concerning the future progress of the team, especially in net. Tolvanen has played very well in spite of some of the play in front of him over the years, even managing to score a goal this season. With the workhorse leaving after this season, I hope for the sake of their fans they have another workhorse or two coming in next season.

Cappo Cup 2: Electric Boogaloo

What can be said about this team that hasn’t already been said across the College Hockey world this last week? I’ll for sure be doing a writeup at some point as a retrospective on the season, but needless to say it’s been one for the ages. I can’t imagine what this year must be like for longtime fans, who’ve seen some of the worst seasons the Lakers have had.

This year, though, has been a dream. Another dream may be realized over the next few weeks: another 100 point scorer. That player is Diego Cuglietta, who has a total of 93 points heading into this weekend. (34 senior, 23 junior, 25 sophomore,11 freshman). After him looks to be Max Humitz, who has 73 points, of course he should be hitting it next season. Tied with Humitz, for this season’s point total, is Anthony Nellis with 30 points.

Kossoff again owns the net, though Mitens did post a huge win Friday night against rival Michigan Tech. It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen in net over the weekend, and I’ve been wrong almost every time I’ve guessed this season, so use your imagination.

Puck drops both Friday and Saturday at 7:07 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, MI. In the Soo, the game will be broadcast on 99.5 YESFm, and can be heard online at yesfm.net and on the TuneIn App. FloHockey.tv will also have the video for the game.

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.