Beavers pound Lakers on road

Alex Ambrosio (seen here against Denver) had one of the two Laker goals in Bemidji this weekend, as Lake Superior fell by scores of 7-1 and 5-1 (Mike Barrett/LHB)

A rough weekend in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play has Lake Superior State searching for their first road win of the 2019-20 season.

Quite a departure from their road mark of last season.

On the road to Bemidji State, the Beavers took no prisoners Friday night with a 7-1 drubbing of the Lakers.  The following night saw much of the same, albeit with a more forgiving 5-1 final score.

Max Humitz’ 6th goal of the season, which came midway thru the 3rd period on Friday, kept Zach Driscoll from shutting the Lakers out completely.  Alex Ambrosio had Lake Superior’s lone tally on Saturday, his 2nd of the year.

Mareks Mitens started Friday night, but was chased after two periods and five goals.  Roman Bengert allowed two in relief during the final period.  Lake Superior was outshot 41-27 in a game that only had two penalties all night — one to Bemidji State’s Tyler Kirkup and one to Lake Superior’s Alec Semandel.

Saturday night saw Bengert getting the start from head coach Damon Whitten.  A 3 goal 2nd period for the Beavers led to, in an odd reversal of fortune from the previous night, Bengert being pulled for Mitens.  Shots were 26-19 in favour of Bemidji State at the end of the night.

One statistical category that the Lakers had going for them was faceoffs.  Lake Superior was 35-32 in the circle on Friday, and went 39-22 on Saturday.

This coming weekend will see the Lakers hosting Michigan Tech.  Game time on Friday and Saturday is at 7 p.m. EST.

Three Lakers garner Player of the Week accolades

Louis Boudon challenges Ferris State goaltender Carter McPhail on a breakaway chance on Saturday night. Boudon was one of three Lakers this week to earn WCHA Player of the Week honours.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) today announced its selections for the weekly Player of the Week honors.  Three Laker players were recognized by the league for their contributions on the ice during this past weekend against Ferris State.

Earning Forward of the Week was sophomore Ashton Calder.  Calder, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, had 2 goals and 3 assists on the weekend.  Both goals came in the third period on Friday night, with one on the power play.  Saturday saw 2 of his 3 assists for the weekend, with both coming on the power play.  The sophomore beat out a host of other players around the league, with Alaska Anchorage freshman Nick Wicks coming the closest to Calder point-wise, with 4 assists.  For Calder, this was the third time he had been named a player of the week.

Collin Saccoman, named Defenceman of the Week, was one of eight players nominated throughout the WCHA.  The Laker co-captain had 3 goals on the weekend, with both Saturday tallies on the power play.  Adding an assist on Friday night brought his weekend point total to 4.  Saccoman, a senior who hails from Stillwater, Minnesota, earned three Defenceman of the Week awards last season, along with two Defenceman of the Month accolades.

Freshman forward Louis Boudon became the first Laker this season to be named Rookie of the Week.  A forward from Grenoble, France, Boudon had an assist on Friday before piecing together a 3 point game Saturday night.  Four other freshmen were nominated for Rookie of the Week, including an opponent from the weekend in defenceman Jake Willets, who had 3 assists for Ferris State.

The only award the Lakers did not claim this week was Goaltender of the Week, which was won by Alaska’s Anton Martinsson.

Saccoman’s two goals propel Lakers to sweep of Ferris State

Collin Saccoman celebrates his second goal of the night, as the Lakers sweep their opening league series against Ferris State with a 4-3 Saturday night win (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Collin Saccoman had two goals and the Lake Superior State Lakers held off another late Ferris State rally as the Lakers swept the weekend series with the Bulldogs in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play with a 4-3 Saturday night win at the Taffy Abel Arena.

For the Lakers (4-6-0, 2-0-0 WCHA), it was their first sweep of Ferris State (2-5-0, 0-4-0 WCHA) on home ice since November 12-13, 2010.  The Lakers swept the Bulldogs with 1-0 and 4-0 scores.  Last season, Lake Superior managed its first road sweep of the Bulldogs since 1993.

Like the Friday night matchup, the first period saw no scoring.  Shots were much more even than they were on the previous night, with the Bulldogs holding a slim 13-12 margin after one period.  Laker goaltender Mareks Mitens and Ferris State netminder Carter McPhail (a former Soo Eagle) matched zeroes for over a period.

Lake Superior opened the scoring when Ferris State’s Dominic Lutz was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct for kneeing Jacob Nordqvist.  Nordqvist did not return to the game, but Saccoman earned a goal on the ensuing power play.

Ferris State struck back a mere 15 seconds later when Dallas Tulik, serving the Lutz penalty, exited the box and got in alone on Mareks Mitens.  Lake Superior reclaimed the lead late in the period, when freshman Louis Boudon notched his second goal of the season.

The third period began with another Ferris State player getting the gate, as Coale Norris was called for checking from behind, taking Saccoman down in the process.  As they did earlier, the Lakers made the Bulldogs pay, as Saccoman returned and put Lake Superior up 3-1.

The Lakers got another goal, this time from Pete Veillette, extending the lead to three goals.  Veillette’s first of the season came with under 11:00 to play.

Just as they did on Friday, however, the Bulldogs put together a rally that made things interesting.  Tulik scored his second of the night with 4:12 remaining.  Then, with McPhail pulled and Max Humitz in the box, Ferris State climbed within one goal.

Desperately pushing for overtime, the visitors threw everything they could at Mitens, but the native of Ventspils, Latvia, held strong, ensuring a 4-3 final score.

Mitens made 20 saves on 23 shots, while McPhail stopped 33 of 37 he faced.

Prior to the game, the Lakers honoured Sault Ste. Marie mayor Tony Bosbous on the ice.  Bosbous has served as mayor since 2001 and elected not to seek reelection.  His term will end on Election Day.

Ferris State will host the Lakers down at Ewigleben Ice Arena at the end of the regular season.  With the setup of the WCHA schedule, the Lakers and Bulldogs always play four games a season, including a series to conclude the year.

Lake Superior is home in two weeks time, welcoming the Michigan Tech Huskies to town.  Both Friday and Saturday games will comme-nce at 7 p.m. EST.

Lakers snap skid with wild win over Ferris State

The Lakers celebrate the overtime winner by Max Humitz (right). Lake Superior won 5-4, snapping a six game losing streak (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Coming off of a four game road trip that saw them come up fruitless, Lake Superior State needed a bounce back win to snap a six game losing streak as they entered Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play.

The Ferris State Bulldogs did not allow the drought to end quietly.

The Lakers (3-6-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) held a 2 goal lead late in the 3rd period, but two quick goals by the Bulldogs (2-4-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) forced overtime, where Max Humitz found the back of the net to claim a 5-4 victory at the Taffy Abel Arena.

Lake Superior came out hungry in the opening period, peppering Bulldogs netminder Roni Salmenkangas with many quality shots, including a crossbar.  The native of Tampere, Finland, held off the Lakers’ onslaught.  His goaltending counterpart across the ice, Mareks Mitens, stopped all 6 shots he saw in the opening period, sending the teams back to the dressing room tied 0-0 after one period.

After holding their respective opponents scoreless, it was Salmenkangas who blinked first.  Laker defenceman Mitch Oliver drilled a shot on net that Salmenkanags initially stopped, but gave up a big rebound that found the stick of sophomore forward Pete Veillette, who hit the wide open net, breaking the scoreless deadlock.

Ferris State did not wait long to respond, as Jake Transit scored his 2nd goal of the season, getting the Bulldogs on the board.  A mere 2:02 later, Jason Tackett capitalized on a power play, allowing Ferris State to take their first lead of the night.

Late in the second period, the Lakers found themselves with a two man advantage, as Marshall Moise was off for cross checking, while the Bulldogs were serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice.  Two posts spared Ferris State from suffering any damage on the attempt, however, as the visitors held a slim 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Lake Superior amped up the pressure on Salmenkangas and the Bulldog D corps as the 3rd period wore on, with Ashton Calder breaking thru for the Lakers, tying the score at 2 goals apiece with 13:36 remaining.

The Lakers had a golden opportunity to retake the lead midway thru the 3rd period when Ferris State’s Oskar Andren closed his hand around the puck while standing in the crease and made a hand pass, which led to a Laker penalty shot.  Max Humitz took the shot, but was stopped by Salmenkangas.

Although they failed to convert on the penalty shot, Lake Superior kept pressing, and a shot by Collin Saccoman from the right circle was tipped by Will Reidell, putting the Lakers ahead 3-2.

A throwing the stick penalty was assessed to Ferris State’s Connor Fedorek, which enabled Lake Superior to go up by two goals, as Calder potted his second of the night with 5:01 left to play.

Down but not out, the Bulldogs responded over a minute later when Brendan MacLaren cut the Ferris State deficit to one goal.  Showing a never-say-die attitude, the team from Big Rapids found the tying goal thanks to Tackett cashing in again, which sent the contest to overtime, deadlocked at 4.

Overtime saw Lake Superior dominate, outshooting the Bulldogs 6-1.  With under 30 seconds to play, Humitz found the back of the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Though he was not tested as often as Salmenkangas, Mitens made a number of big saves himself, including a huge one with under 3:00 to play to preserve the then-lead, tallying up 24 by the end of the game.  Salmenkangas made 35 saves on 40 shots in defeat.

The series will conclude on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. faceoff.

Series Preview: Ferris State at Lake Superior State

Ferris: 2-3-0 Overall

Lake Superior State: 2-6-0 Overall

First, I would like to apologize for the lack of previews over the last couple of weeks. For the Michigan series, I was still getting over the sickness I got while on vacation. Then last week a stick of RAM decided to die in my PC, which made pretty much anything that I opened became corrupted, and that didn’t get fixed until late Friday. So, let’s get back on track:

Bulldogs In the Doghouse

The start of the Bulldog’s season has been an interesting one. Since starting NCAA play, they’ve beat Colgate in a best-of-one, and split with Miami in Miami before getting swept by conference rivals Northern Michigan on their own ice.

They are led by senior defenseman Nate Kallen with senior forward Dominic Lutz being named as an alternative captain. Bob Daniels also returns for his 28th season as bench boss. Roni Salmenkangas, the Finnish sophomore goalie looks to be their workhorse, playing in 4 games, with Carter McPhail, a Michigan native having played in two games looking like the backup in the early part of the season, although other than the two wins that Salmenkangas has posted, their stat lines look very similar.

Lake State Heading Toward Dry Dock

While there may  have been a number of fans who though the Lakers were going to come out swinging, starting off where they left off last year, I was not really one of them. Excited to see what would happen? Sure. But losing the likes of Nellis and Cuglietta scoring was going to depend greatly on who could step – would it be sophomore Mucha? One of the Freshman? So far Humitz and Erikson lead the pack with 8 total points, followed closely by Ashton Calder and Collin Saccoman, each of whom have 6 total points.

Looking at the start of this season, it has not been easy on the Lakers. After sweeping Merrimack to start the season, they’ve dropped six straight, all against non-conference opponents and two ranked teams. In those six games, they’ve been outscored 26-13. With this week starting conference play, the rest of the team has to step up and contribute more.

Both games this weekend drop the puck at 7:00pm EST. Bill Crawford will have the call on 99.5 YesFM, both locally and streaming online. WCHA Partner FloHockey will have the livestream from the Taffy Abel Arena if you want to watch the game but can’t make it to the arena.

Pioneers escape with Saturday night win

A first period shot by Ashton Calder eludes Denver goaltender Magnus Chrona in the first period Saturday. The Lakers rallied from a two goal deficit in the third period, but were beaten by a late Denver goal (Mike Barrett/LHB)

A goal by Denver’s Ryan Barrow with 20 seconds remaining in regulation spoiled a comeback by Lake Superior State, as the No. 2 ranked University of Denver Pioneers claimed a 4-3 win over the Lakers for a weekend sweep during Great Lake State Weekend (GLSW).

More to come.

Lakers play Pioneers hard and close in 3-1 loss

Ashton Calder attempts to bring the puck around Denver’s Ian Mitchell in the third period. Calder had the lone goal for the Lakers, as they fell to the Pioneers 3-1 (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Going up against one of the top teams in the nation, Lake Superior State gave the Denver Pioneers all they could handle, but came up short nonetheless on Great Lake State Weekend in a 3-1 loss Friday night.

Ranked No. 2 in the nation coming into the series, the Pioneers (3-0-0, 0-0-0 NCHC) picked up their third straight win against a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) team, after sweeping Alaska last weekend.

Unlike the trip the Lakers made to Denver two seasons ago, which saw the host Pioneers figuratively skate circles around Damon Whitten’s squad, Lake Superior (2-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) managed to skate well with the visitors, playing them hard until the final horn.

Ashton Calder got Lake Superior on the board first with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway that resulted in the Pios drawing a penalty.  Despite picking up three power plays, the host Lakers had a difficult time generating zone pressure.

The second period saw the Pioneers begin pressuring Lake Superior hard.  Although the team weathered the storm, including shutting down the Denver power play, the Lakers surrendered a goal by Ian Mitchell just 14 seconds after the expiration of a Laker penalty taken by Miroslav Mucha, setting up the teams for a tense third period.

Although Lake Superior played arguably its best period of the young season, Denver tallied two goals in the final stanza, including the game winner by Emilio Pettersen at 7:15 of the period, and the nail in the coffin from Jaakko Heikkinen on a shorthanded chance with just 1:04 left to play.

Despite the setback, the Lakers made a Hurculean attempt at a comeback, pulling Mareks Mitens and pressing hard.  Although they had difficulty getting chances, they prevented the Pioneers from hitting the empty net a couple of times, preserving the 3-1 final score.

In goal for the Lakers, Mitens made 26 saves on 29 shots.  In the other crease, Magnus Chrona earned the win with 23 saves on 24 chances.

When the Lakers last played Denver, Mitens, who started the Saturday night game of the series, saw 54 shots — substantially fewer than tonight, which serves as a testament to Lake Superior limiting the Pioneers’ chances.

The two teams will conclude their series tomorrow night with a 7:07 p.m. puck drop.

Series Preview: #2 Denver @ Lake Superior State – GLSW Edition

#2 Denver: 2-0-0

LSSU: 2-0-0

Denver Pi(oneering)ning For The Frozen Four

The Denver Pioneers are coming off their 12th straight NCAA tournament appearance and another Frozen Four appearance. They’re also only two years removed from a national championship.  Denver is lead by second-year head coach David Carle, with assistants Tavis MacMillian, Dallas Ferusona nd Corey Wogtech. Carle, who took over for Jim Montgomery, now with the Dallas Stars, posted a 24-12-5 record in his first season behind the bench.

On the ice, they are captained by senior defenseman Ian Mitchell, and assisted by fellow defenseman Michael Davies and forward Tyson McLellan, both of which are seniors. With two games under his belt, and both wins, it looks like Swedish goaltender Magnus Chrona will be their starter…and at 6’6, he takes up a lot of net.

Great Lake State Wins Weekend

Much like their opponents, the Lakers are coming off of a weekend sweep. Tripling up on Merrimack Saturday night, they won by a single goal Sunday. This weekend marks the 24th Great Lake State Weekend, which serves as Lake Superior State’s homecoming. There will be events going on all around campus both Friday and Saturday, but we will be focusing on the two games.

The last time these two teams met was two years ago in Denver, where the Lakers nearly spoiled the Pioneers’ championship banner raising, losing in OT, then being crushed 5-1 Saturday. They were also ranked #1.

That Laker team was much different than the current one, both in players and mindset. After the incredible season last year, the team finally has a winning attitude, and hopefully co-captains Max Humitz and Collin Saccoman, with help from their alternates Brendan McKay and Lukas Kaelble can take the momentum the team had last season and come out of the gate swinging. If you are planning on attending the games this weekend, we urge you to go online & reserve your seat ASAP if you have not done so. GLSW weekend is generally the biggest weekend of the season in terms of ticket sales. Friday night’s game starts at 7:30pm, with Saturday’s starting at 7:00pm. The games will be broadcast locally by YesFM, with the Voice of the Lakers Bill Crawford doing as he has done for so long, calling the play-by-play. If you are not able to attend or listen, consider watching the game through FloHockey.

Lakers complete sweep of Warriors

Will Riedell tries to cut down the angle on a shot by Merrimack’s Mac Welsher. Riedell chipped offensively as well, and was one of five Laker defensemen with a goal this weekend (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Lake Superior State hockey team wrapped up its first series of the season on Sunday, October 6th.  The Lakers (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) defeated the visiting Merrimack Warriors (0-2-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) by a 4-3 score at home.

“It was kind of a tale of two nights,” Whitten said on the opening weekend.  “We watched it back and thought we didn’t give up much offensively, but tonight they outworked us and that can’t happen.  There are not many nights you’re going to steal a win getting outworked.  It’s a good lesson, but two very different games.”

Merrimack got the scoring started when freshman defenseman Zach Uens put a shot behind Laker junior goaltender Mareks Mitens just 55 seconds into the contest.  The Lakers did not wait long to respond, as junior defenseman Tyler Anderson answered for Lake Superior a mere 21 seconds later.  For Anderson, it was the second goal of his Laker career.

Following the opening goals, both Mitens and Warriors freshman goaltender Troy Kobryn kept their respective opponents off the board for the remainder of the period.

Lake Superior struck next when senior forward Max Humitz notched his second goal of the season.  Prior to the season, Humitz, along with senior defenseman Collin Saccoman, was named co-captain of the team this season.

Like the Lakers earlier, Merrimack managed a quick response of their own, as sophomore forward Jordan Seyfert tied things up 39 seconds after the Humitz goal.  The Warriors retook the lead later in the period with a goal from senior forward Tyler Irvine.

Merrimack had a huge opportunity to add to their lead, as Humitz received a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing.  The Lake Superior penalty kill held strong, however, sending the teams to the locker room with a one goal game after 40 minutes.

At 8:14 of the third period, the home Lakers managed to tie the game back up with a shot from junior defenseman Will Riedell.  1:27 later, Lake Superior went back in front courtesy of Saccoman. 

Pulling Kobryn for an extra skater, Merrimack pushed hard for the tying goal.  Mitens and the Laker defense stood tall, however, as Lake Superior held on for the 4-3 win, with Saccoman’s goal standing as the game winner.

In goal, Mitens stopped 20 of 23 shots to earn the win.  Across the ice, Kobryn made 15 saves on 19 shots.

Special teams play saw both teams fruitless with the extra attacker.  Lake Superior was 0 for 3, while the Warriors went 0 for 6, including the 5 minute power play.

After Sunday’s game, Whitten was complimentary about his defensive corps, who accounted for 5 of the team’s 10 goals on the weekend.

“We’ve talked a lot about them early on,” commented Whitten.  “Five of our six starters are back, as well as guys who’ve also gotten experience in there.  We have to lean on them to be strong defensively early on and for them to contribute offensively.  They’re gonna have to be good for us all season long.”

On seeing a former Laker bench boss return to the arena, Whtten said that he and Borek “had a really good conversation Thursday, and Scott talked about what his time here meant to him.  It was nice to hear him talk about all the things he loved about Sault Ste. Marie.  I was a player when he was coaching here, so I know him more from playing against him, but it was great to hear him speak so fondly of his time here.”

Lake Superior is home again on Friday, October 11th and Saturday, October 12th, when they host the University of Denver for Great Lake State Weekend.  Game time for Friday’s matchup is 7:30 p.m.

Lakers start season on right foot, beat Merrimack in opener

Michell Oliver uncorks the shot that earned him his first collegiate goal in the Lakers’ 6-2 win over Merrimack on Saturday night (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Lake Superior State could not have asked for a better opening to its 54th season of collegiate hockey, as they downed the Merrimack Warriors 6-2 at Taffy Able Arena.

Head coach Damon Whitten saw his team win their fourth straight season opener by beating the same opponent they faced last year on opening weekend.

Mitchell Oliver, who was unable to play last season due to eligibility issues, opened the scoring with a rocket shot from the blue line that beat Merrimack goaltender Jere Huhtamaa. The Warriors responded with a goal by Chase Gresock late in the period that sent the teams to the locker room tied after 20 minutes.

Lake Superior restored their lead with a goal by Hampus Eriksson. The native of Forsbacka, Sweden, dug the puck out of a pile up in front of the net and flipped it over the shoulder of Huhtamaa.

Merrimack did not stay down for long, as Gresock tallied his second goal of the evening, beating goalie Mareks Mitens and tying the game at 2. The Lakers got another goal, this time from Jacob Nordqvist, who put the puck past Huhtamaa while skating parallel to the net, regaining the lead for the home team.

Late in the period, Lake Superior went up by 2 when Yuki Miura deflected a shot from captain Collin Saccoman past an outstretched Huhtamaa. For Miura, this was the 3rd goal of his collegiate career.

A goal by Max Humitz in the third period signaled the end of the night for Huhtamaa, as he was switched in favour of Troy Kobryn. As freshmen, neither Huhtamaa nor Kobryn had ever played a minute of NCAA hockey before tonight.

Going for broke, Merrimack pulled Kobryn with under four minutes to play. Lake State’s Miroslav Mucha put the final nail in the coffin with an empty netter, setting up the final 6-2 score.

In collecting the win, Mitens made 27 saves on 29 shots.  His counterpart Huhtamaa allowed 5 goals on 23 shots, taking the loss.  Kobryn stopped all 4 shots he faced in relief.

Starting his second season behind the bench for Merrimack is Scott Borek. Head coach of the Lakers from 1996-97 to 2000-01, Borek amassed a 76-94-15 record. That his first game as head coach of the Warriors last season was against his former team was purely a coincidence — the schedule had been made prior to his hire.

The two teams will conclude their series on Sunday.  Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.