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Lakers ranked 6th in preseason polls

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) today released the 2019-20 preseason media and coaches polls.  Lake Superior State was ranked 6th in both polls.

Under head coach Damon Whitten, the Lakers finished 4th overall last season after being picked to finish 7th in the Coaches Poll and 8th in the Media Poll.

Minnesota State was a unanimous selection to win the league in the Media Poll, amassing 100 points, followed by Bowling Green State with 89.  The Lakers, with 57 points, are sandwiched between Bemidji State (62 points) and Ferris State (37).

Marc Michaelis of the Mavericks was voted the Preseason Player of the Year in the Media Poll, while Nathan Smith, also of Minnesota State, was named Preseason Rookie of the Year.  Lake Superior’s Dustin Manz and Louis Boudon each received a vote for Rookie of the Year. 

While no Lakers were voted to the Media All-WCHA Team, Max Humitz and Collin Saccoman each received votes for forward and defenceman, respectively.

The Coaches Poll also had the Mavericks in first place with 90 points, the maximum a team may obtain in the poll (coaches may not vote for their own teams).  The Lakers, with 58 points, are between 5th place Michigan Tech (59 points) and Alaska (39).

As in the Media Poll, Michaelis and Smith were voted Preseason Player and Rookie of the Year, respectively.  Again, no Lakers were included on the Preseason All-WCHA Team, but Humitz and Saccoman did each receive a vote.

This year, the media poll was restricted to just 10 entities, with one from each locale, down from the 13 who participated last season.

2019-20 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Rank      Team (1st Place Votes)   Points

  1.           Minnesota State (9)              90
  2.           Bowling Green (1)                   82
3.           Bemidji State                           63
4.           Northern Michigan                 61
5.           Michigan Tech                        59
  6.           Lake Superior State              58
7.           Alaska                                        39
  8.           Ferris State                              38
  9.           Alabama Huntsville               30
10.           Alaska Anchorage                 20

Coaches could not vote for their own teams. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2 scale.

2019-20 WCHA Preseason Media Poll
Rank      Team (1st Place Votes)  Points

   1.           Minnesota State (10)           100
  2.           Bowling Green                        89
  3.           Northern Michigan                72
  4.           Michigan Tech                        68
  5.           Bemidji State                          62
  6.           Lake Superior State              57
  7.           Ferris State                              37
  8.           Alaska                                        27
  9.           Alabama Huntsville               26
10.           Alaska Anchorage                 12

Predicted order of finish. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

The complete poll may be found at the WCHA’s website: http://www.wcha.com/men/articles/2019/09/minnesota-state-tops-the-2019-20-wcha-preseason-polls.php

2018-2019 Site Updates, and state of the Site.

Well, Laker Faithful, it’s been just over two years since we started this humble site. This summer has been a bit slow on the posting front, but there’s been a lot going on. With fall just around the corner, and that also means Laker hockey, expect more content in the weeks and months to come.

Some quick updates: The roster has been updated, as has the schedule for the year.

So, onto the stats. For any that I am not able to drill directly into, filtered by the year, I will be using a rough number based on the data from last year’s post. Some numbers may be off, as some posts were in 2018, and some into 2019.

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Total Posts & Words:

2017 & 2018 produced a total of 94. With 142 total published pages, 2019 had 48 total posts.

Articles written in 2017 had a total of 23,793 total words with 506 average words per article.

Posts made in 2019 alone had a total of 10,420 words, with 521 average words per article.

Unique Visitors and Views:

Since last year’s post, we have had 2,118 unique clicks on the site, totaling 3,566 views.

Best Single Day:

7/29/2019 was the best day for Laker Hockey Blog, where we had 197 visitors, the most so far. This was likely due to the post I made concerning drinking and driving. The article was admit-tingly self-serving, but I do hope it effected someone in the right way.

Top 3 Posts:

Home Page

PSA: Don’t Drink and Drive, and Birthday Wishes

Series Preview: Barrett Wedding

Top Referrals:

Search Engines (944)

Facebook (885)

Twitter (152)

Known Search Terms:

(Now this one is kind of fun. It seems to be a list of some of the known terms that were used on search engines in order to get to the blog.

“matt bruneatu” (3)

what end do the lssu laker’s shoot on in the 1st and 3rd periods of home games (1)

superior state 2019-2020 hockey exhibition games (1)

Countries Reached (more than 10 viewers)

USA

Canada

Japan

Latvia

Slovakia

Sweden

UK

Germany

Ireland

Hong Kong


So, some areas aren’t as indepth as last years, but that’s just because it’s either tedious, or not really needed.

I am proud of the fact that we continue to attract more readers from outside of North America. Yes, the United States and Canada are our primary visitors, but we had a large uptick in Latvian, Swedish and Slovakian readers. Japan remained steady, as one would expect, and for some reason we had a handful of readers near the start of the season from Hong Kong. This will continue to be a priority going forward. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this, please reach out to us, either on social media or email.

I’m sure this sounds like a broken record, but I personally hope that we will be able to flesh this site out more into what I dream it will someday be: A place that Laker fans can go to to find out dang near anything they’d want to know about the team and it’s history, but that will be tough work.

The season is only a few short weeks away. Personally, I will be missing the first weekend series against Merrimack, but I’ll be in my Blue & Gold when the Lakers take on Denver during Great Lake State Weekend.

Have a safe end of your summer, and start of fall. We will see you in Abel Arena soon enough. Go Lakers!

PSA: Don’t Drink and Drive, and Birthday Wishes

First, I would like to apologize for the lack of content during this summer. It’s been relatively quiet on the Laker front, but that will be changing as August starts and students start to return to campus.

But what I have for you today doesn’t have any direct ties to the Lakers or hockey in general, but it’s nonetheless important. And if you haven’t figured out what it is by reading the headline, well, here you go:

Don’t drink and drive.

It’s a message that we hear on the radio, see on TV…if you look hard enough, you’ll see it. While it seems obvious to some, and most people think they never will, that’s while they are sober, but we need people to remember when they are inebriated. But how?

Side note: While our demographic on this site seems to be ‘older’ Laker fans, hopefully this will reach some students, and they will keep this in the back of their minds too.

Well, what if I gave a real world example of the effects of drunk driving? Because I’ve got one.

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Let me introduce you to my Uncle Ed. He was a Detroit Lions fan, a biker, a son, a husband and a father. He was also a veteran, having been enlisted in the U.S Navy from November 1987-November 1991.

He was someone I looked up to. The guy just oozed cool to me. Growing up, I spent a lot of time around him, and I learned a lot. When my parents were building the house that I grew up in, we shared a room for a period of time and we would talk a lot. He’d never talk down to me; that I can remember anyways.

In July of 1999, he got the call that his country needed him again. The evening of July 24th, 1999 he rode his motorcycle up to K.I Sawyer from Gladstone, MI to pick up his papers. But on a lonely stretch of M-35, everything came to a halt.

Why? Because someone decided to drink all day and drive. Someone who, even after almost hitting another individual earlier on the day, continued to drink, and ended up driving his truck head on with a motorcycle.

And that was it. All the was left were tears and a trial.

On July 24th, 1999 a wife was widowed, a 3 year old and a 3 month old were left without a father, a mother lost a son; sisters: a brother. Nieces and Nephews were left without an uncle, close friendships ended…ultimately all because one man decided to drink and drive.

I’ve talked to people who have actually laughed at the fact that someone they know, say a son, was caught driving under the influence, like it’s no big deal. But it is. You’re not just taking your own life in your hands, but literally any- and everyone between your point A and B.

Call a parent, a friend. Call an Uber or Lyft if they are available in your area, or a taxi if you’re in a small town. If you’re feeling tempted to drive and you know you shouldn’t, just throw your keys away or something: getting new keys is way cheaper than a life.

If you’re with someone who is about to drive drunk, do everything in your power to stop them. If you cannot, call 911, report the car & licence plate to the authorities so they can get them off the road. The fallout will likely be rough, but imagine you just letting them go off, then finding out they killed someone. I don’t think I could shoulder knowing I could’ve prevented that.

Here are some stats for you:

Now, some may be wondering why I’m doing this now and not before this since I’ve had this platform for almost 2 years now. Well we buried my uncle on what would’ve been his 30th birthday…July 29th, 1999. Today would’ve been his 50th birthday. I’d like to think if his story stops even 1 individual from getting behind the wheel and driving drunk, then I think that’s a good a birthday gift as any.

Thank You.

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.

Happy Thanksgiving

I realize that we have a lot of readers on here who are not American, but to those that are, I would like to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

To those that are outside of the States, I hope all is well with you and yours, and that you have a fantastic finish to the week.

Playoff scenarios entering final series against Bulldogs

The final two games of the regular season are here and the Lakers are still in a fight for the playoffs.

Coming out of this past weekend, the standings in the 6 thru 9 slots in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) are as follows:

6 (tie) Alabama Huntsville and Alaska – 30 points
8 – Ferris State – 28 points
9 – Lake Superior State – 27 points

Last weekend, the Lakers and Chargers had byes, while Ferris State was swept by Minnesota State and Alaska claimed one point against Bemidji State.  In other words, the Lakers’ bye could hardly have gone better.

While it is entirely possible that Lake Superior could propel itself as high as 6th place after this weekend, the chance that their season ends down at Ewigleben Ice Arena is still in play.

The fact that LSSU and Ferris State play each other is huge.  A sweep by either team will ensure the winner qualifies while the loser stays home.  

Below is an analysis of what will become of Lake Superior given the seven possible point outcomes of this weekend:

0, 1 or 2 points – Lake State finishes with either 27, 28 or 29 points and fails to qualify for the postseason.  Since their opponent is the team directly ahead of them in the standings, failing to take at least half of the points guarantees they will place behind the Bulldogs and not overtake either UAH or UAF.

4, 5, or 6 points – Lake State finishes with either 31, 32 or 33 points, eliminating Ferris State from playoff contention.  4 points on the weekend ensures that the Bulldogs cannot earn more than 30, edging the Lakers past FSU.  Where exactly the Lakers sit in the standings after this is dependent on what happens with UAH and Alaska.  The Chargers host Bowling Green (who will finish either 2nd or 3rd) while the Nanooks play Alaska Anchorage (who will miss the WCHA postseason for the the fourth straight year).

3 points – Earning exactly three points is a dangerous situation.  This will give the Lakers 30 points, while Ferris State will have 31.  Whether the Lakers make the playoffs or not will depend on the results of the previously mentioned games.  Should a three-way tie exist, the WCHA tiebreakers will come into effect.

  • Tiebreaker A – This tiebreaker is only used if all teams have played 4 games against each other.  This is not the case, as LSSU, UAH and UAF all have played each other twice.
  • Tiebreaker B – This one says the teams are seeded in order of the highest number of conference wins.  Currently, UAH and UAF have 9 wins, while LSSU has 8.  In order for a tie to happen at all, UAH & UAF must lose both of their games.  If LSSU earns 3 points from a win, then there is a tie at this tiebreaker.  Should the Lakers get 2 points from a shootout win and 1 from a shootout loss, the Lakers would be eliminated.
  • Tiebreaker C – This tiebreaker seeds teams in order of fewest league losses.  If UAF and UAH both get swept, they would both have 17 losses.  Given that the only way for this tiebreaker to matter is for the Lakers to have a series split, the Lakers would have 16 losses, putting them ahead of both teams.

For those unfamiliar with the WCHA’s tiebreakers, which go all the way to G (a coin toss), they may be found here:  http://www.wcha.com/men/standings.php

 

The Best College Hockey Tradition Around!

As any Laker fan could tell you, one of the best and most special traditions that the Lake Superior State University Laker Hockey Team holds is that of the ringing of the Victory Bell. After each home game win, the boys run out of the Norris Center, gear and all (sans skates) through a tunnel of cheering fans and out to the Frank and Gladys Hoholik Victory Bell (see history under the Abel Arena page). Led by the player voted by their team as MVP of the game, each player takes their turn tolling the infamous Victory Bell. It’s a tradition unique to Lake State and one which every fan should get the opportunity to experience during their lifetime. Rain, snow, sunshine or bitter cold, this tradition is a great way for the team to celebrate their win with the fans. Ever heard the term “Ringy Dingy” used around the rink? That term originated around this tradition as longtime equipment manager and Laker Hockey fan Gil Somes used the term to wish the boys luck as they took the ice every game, reminding them of the goal to win the game so they could ring the bell. A plaque commemorating Somes and his now famous phrase was placed on the northern end of the Laker’s bench following Somes’ death in 2015.

See attached video for a unique daylight view of the ringing of the victory bell.