Category: Series Previews

Series Preview: Michigan Tech @ #19 Lake Superior State University

 

Michigan Tech: 12-14-4

#19 Lake Superior State: 18-8-2

 

WhatYearIsIt.meme

I think if you asked any Laker or Husky fan this time last season, who would be ranked higher in the pairwise, or USCHO polls, I don’t think many would’ve answered the Lakers. Yet here we are: with three weeks left to go in the season, the Lakers are ranked #19 in both the USCHO and Pairwise rankings, whereas Michigan Tech sits unranked in the poll, and #42 in the Pairwise.

That’s not to say that Michigan Tech is a bad team. In fact, they’ve played against a number of ranked opponents, and split against #14 Wisconsin & #10 Bowling Green. Senior Jake Lucchini continues to be a driving force for the Huskies, scoring 7 goals, 15 assists for 22 points. Behind him are Sophomore defenseman Seamus Donohue with 1 goal, 16 assists & 17 points and Brian Halonen, freshman, with 9 goals, 7 assists and 16 points.

They’ve certainly spread some love around the net this season. Junior Matt Jurusik has 15 games under his belt this year, going 7-5-2, whereas sophomore Robbie Beydoun has played in 12 contests and going 4-6-1. Devin Kero, the senior statesman, has only played in 6 games, going 1-3-1.  It was Robbie Beydoun who was in net the only time these two teams have faced each other this season: in the GLI championship game where he allowed 4 goals (a fifth came with an empty net). to Nick Kossoff’s 3.

My belief is that they will split the net again this weekend, unless whomever starts Friday just knocks it out of the park. My gut is also telling me that we will be seeing Beydoun Friday night for two reasons: 1) He’s already played against this Laker team this season and 2) To give him some redemption.

Lakers Gear up for Playoffs…and what comes next

Well…this season has certainly been interesting. Sure, I was hoping the Lakers were going to have a good season, but there were a lot of question marks concerning some of the incoming players & the kind of impact they were going to have on the team. For those who’ve had any amount of ice time, their impact has.been.felt. That’s not even taking into account the returning players who’ve really came out swinging. At this point, I would love to wax poetic, but I think I’ll save that for the post-season coverage.

The focus this weekend are the Michigan Tech Huskies. Since realignment Michigan Tech has had the Laker’s number, and their more outspoken fans will do everything to make sure you know that. But this season feels like a turning point in the rivalry, what with winning the Great Lakes Invitational.

This preview wouldn’t be as positive if it wasn’t for the hard work of these players. LSSU has three point-a-game players: In seniors & Hobey Baker candidates Diego Cuglietta (18-13-31 in 28 GP) and Anthony Nellis (14-15-29 in 28GP) and Junior Max Humitz (12-15-27 in 26GP).

Nick Kossoff has owned the Laker’s net for most of the season, having gone 13-4-2 in 19 games played. Mareks Mitens has appeared In 9 games, having gone 5-4-0 and Roman Bengert was put in for part of a period to give him a little bit of time in net, but has gone down with a 0-0-0 record.

The Lakers will have to find a way to win not only Friday night, but also Saturday night, which they have not done at home this season, if they want to gain some ground in the Pairwise. Of course, they’ll need the teams surrounding them to lose, but in order to get into the top 16 our boys in blue are going to have to play lights out hockey over these last three weeks of the regular season.

The puck drops both nights ay 7:07pm at the Taffy Able Arena here in Sault Sainte Marie. The game can be heard locally on 99.5 YESFm, or for those not in the area, Bill Crawford will have the play by play on the YESFM stream, or on the TuneIn app. If you care to watch the game, but not in the arena, it will be shown on FloHockey for a fee. Saturday is also Check.Slash.Survive, the rebranded Pink in the Rink, so please stop by the arena and help support that initiative, even if you are unable to attend the game.

 

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.

Series Preview: University of Alabama-Huntsville @ #18 Lake Superior State

 

University of Alabama-Huntsville: 4-18-0

(#18) Lake Superior State University: 13-6-1

 

Charging Towards the Finish Line

Going into this weekend, the Chargers of Alabama-Huntsville are only two points above Ferris State for the final playoff spot. But despite their record, they do have two wins against some pretty good teams: Michigan Tech and Bemidji State. They also forced overtime last Saturday against Ferris to take an extra point.

The Chargers are led by two 8 point scorers, forwards Christian Rajic and Jesper Ohrvall, but almost all of their points are from assists. Jack Jeffers, Bauer Neudecker and Austin Beaulieu are the top goal-getters, with 5, 4, 4 respectively.

They’ve been riding sophomore goaltender Mark Sinclair this year, playing 14 games compared to senior Jake Theut’s 8 games. However, they both have 2 wins each, and nearly the same save percentage, with Sinclair having a .918 and Theut with a .917.

Lakers Looking For a Third Weekend Sweep

It’s certainly been an interesting season for the Lakers. On the road, they are almost perfect with 9-1, 2-0 at neutral sites, but are only 2-5-1 at home. They hope to make that 4-5-1 this weekend.

They are led by two 21 point scorers, seniors Diego Cuglietta and Anthony Nellis. Lukas Kaelble follows up in third with 16 points, 15 of them being assists. We’re of course hoping for the return of Max Humitz, but I personally hope that he takes all the time he needs to properly grieve, so he can come back 100%.

On the backend, Nick Kossoff has all but won the starting spot in net, having won 10 of the 13 games he’s started in. Sophomore Mareks Mitens is just on the wrong side of .500, winning 3 of the 7 games he started. Despite the way Kossoff has played, I would not be surprised if the coaching staff try to get Mitens some ice time this weekend.

 

The puck drops both nights ay 7:07pm at the Taffy Able Arena here in Sault Sainte Marie. The game can be heard locally on 99.5 YESFm, or for those not in the area, Bill Crawford will have the play by play on the YESFM stream, or on the TuneIn app. If you care to watch the game, but not in the arena, it will be shown on FloHockey for a 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.

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.

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.