Tag: lssu

Laker Hockey Blog: One Year Later

It was one year at the end of August that we decided to start the experiment that has been the Laker Hockey Blog. If you remember one of our earliest post, this webpage was started as a way to have a consistent source for Lake Superior State University Hockey news, seeing as the local media largely does not cover the Lakers on either side of the St. Marys.

And after looking through some of the stats, and seeing some of the traffic on our Facebook page, I’d say it was worth it. We’ve managed to reach three continents with consistent numbers! (a look at that a little later). It hasn’t been without it’s stresses, as some black hats have thought it would be funny to mess with the site on occasion, or worrying about content, but the pros outweigh the cons.

Now, onto some stats. Note: Depending on where I look at our stats, some numbers are different, but I will be going with the ones I saw first.

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Total Posts & Words:

2017 & 2018 both had 47 posts for a total of 94 total posts.

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

2018 posts have a total of 21,006 words, with 447 average words per article.

Unique Visitors and Views:

Over the website’s first year, we’ve seen a total of 1,895 total unique readers. This is outrageous to me!

Those viewers have also accounted for 5,329 total views.

Best Single Day:

10/05/2017 was the best day for Laker Hockey Blog, where we had 175 visitors, the most so far. This came a day after the first series preview was posted, but if I remember correctly, the big hit was the interview Mike did with Mike York, the then new assistant coach and former NHLer.

Top 3 Posts:

Home Page

Annual Blue vs Gold Game Showcases Laker Talent

Rumor: Nenadal Out at Lake State

Top Referrals:

Search Engines (778)

Facebook (518)

Twitter (149)

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. My personal favorite is the final search term:)

amazon (22)

hockey blog (2)

minnesota hockey blog (1)

darrin madeley(1)

keith aldridge – hockey (1)

matt brunetau(1)

where did hockey coach rich metro go (1)

Countries Reached (more than 10 viewers)

USA: 4311

Canada 771

Japan 84

Latvia 47

Sweden 29

UK 15

Germany 15

Ireland 14

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This last category I am extremely proud of. The last few seasons have seen an increase of international students & players wearing the blue & gold, and that has allowed the Laker Hockey Blog to reach audiences on three continents: North America, Europe and Asia. I never expected this to happen.

Thank you to everyone who visits this site, especially the regulars. We hope to keep bringing you quality content over the next year, and hopefully some new types of features. So please like and share our posts on Facebook, follow and Retweet us on Twitter so we can reach that broader audience.

I’ve also just added a button on the sidebar that will allow you to email us, so if you have any questions, comments, concerns or ideas, you can use any of the above ways to contact us, including email. Heck, if you’re coming in from out of town and want some ideas as to what to do or where to eat that’s not covered here, hit us up. We’d love to hear from you.

From all of us here at Laker Hockey Blog, thank you very much for what I’ll call a successful year. The new season is just on the horizon, and there has been a lot of changes this offseason. Whether that proves to be good for the boys in blue have yet to be seen, but we will be in the trenches covering all (well, most) of the action.

 

Thank you!

Series Preview: Lake Superior State @ Bemidji State

 

Bemidji State: 2016: 22-16-3 2017: 14-8-6
Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 6-20-4

“They might in the future more than ever before engage in hunting beavers.” – Samuel de Champlain
The Bemidji State Beavers are currently holding down the final home playoff spot, coming into the weekend at #4 in the WCHA. The lead Michigan Tech by 5 points and trail Minnesota State by 6. Tech is playing #14 Bowling Green this weekend, so it’s unlikely that the Beavers will lose out on their spot this weekend.
The Beavers are led by 4 20+ point scorers in Kyle Bauman, Gerry Fitzgerald, Jay Dickman and Adam Brady, all of them forwards. In net, Michael Bitzer has only missed a total of 78 minutes this season. In those 1623 minutes in net, he has recoreded a 14-7-6 record, a 2.14 GAA and a .911 Save %. Interestingly enough, he also has an assist this season.
While it’s unlikely that the Beavers move at all in the rankings this week (Minnesota State is playing UAA), they will be looking to win to keep pace with the Mavericks. The last time these two teams met, Lake State was shutout in game 1 and lost 6-3 in game 2.

“Never give up; for even rivers someday wash dams away.” – Arthur Golden
Despite the results, the last three weekends, starting with the Ferris State series, the Lakers seemed to have regained some control and come together to play as a team, save for a few players and a period or two. Saturday night’s game against Ferris gave the Lakers their first conference win in over a month. In the series at Northern Michigan, the Lakers gave the Wildcats a run for their money both nights, losing 3-2 in both games & losing the Cappo Cup.
Last weekend was the most promising of all. The boys in blue did lose Friday night 5-3, mostly due to shaky goaltending to start the game. But on Saturday night, the Lakers took it to the then #15 Bowling Green Falcons, losing only 3-2, though by all accounts the Refs gave that game away, waving off a goal that should have counted.
But we’re not going to dive into the officiating here.
Despite the resurgence of the team, it feels too little too late. As it stands, the Lakers are out of the playoff picture right now, being eight points behind Alaska and only three points ahead of last-ranked Alaska Anchorage. The good news is that the next three weeks will be tough for the Nanooks, taking on Ferris State this weekend, #19 Northern Michigan next week and the Beavers of Bemidji State the weekend of the 15th-16th before finishing up against UAA.
The Lakers need to win and win fast. Outside of this, their fate isn’t in their hands – they will need help from the rest of the league to help secure a playoff spot. I’m not holding my breath, mind you, but it could be a very interesting final month of the season.
Lake State finally has three 20-point scorers in J.T. Henke, Max Humitz and Diego Cuglietta.

Puck drops both Friday and Saturday night games starting at 8:07pm ET or 7:07 CT. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.

Series Preview – Ferris State University @ Lake Superior State

Ferris State: 2016: 13-19-5 2017: 9-14-1

Lake State: 2016: 11-18-7 2017: 5-15-4

 

“Hey, bulldog, hey man, whats up brother?”

2017 has been a pretty disappointing year for the Ferris State Bulldogs. Currently they hold the final playoff spot for the WCHA with 19 points, ahead of the Lakers by 7 points. In the 2016-2017 campaign they finished just 2 points out of a home playoff berth.

The Bulldogs are led by a trio of upperclassmen in Corey Mackin (6-12-18), Mitch Maloney (12-5-17) and Andrew Doranties (5-10-15) for point scorers. In fact, they are the top three goal scorers, with Maloney & Mackin switching up the order of the list. In this regard, they are much like the Lakers this season, however they have managed to squeak out three more league games this season, putting the final playoff spot out of reach for the Lakers this weekend.

 

Apathy Creeping In

The headline says it all here. The Lakers were outscored, outshot and outplayed all weekend in front of a crowd that totaled 893 on Friday and 803 on Saturday. The Lakers did come out swinging on Saturday night, putting up two goals in just over 4 minutes, but the Bemidji State Beavers took control of the game from there.

So, while there haven’t been many positives to focus on this season, the way they started that game showed some cohesiveness that we haven’t seen in a while, which admittingly was nice. The Lakers need to win this weekend, a sweep is preferred. that would leave them just a single point out of playoffs. But even if they do win, they will need some help getting into the playoff picture properly

Puck drops both Friday & Saturday at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at  www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.

Series Preview – Bemidji State University @ Lake Superior State

 

Bemidji State: 2016: 22-16-3  2017: 9-6-5

LSSU: 2016-11-18-7 2017: 5-13-4

 

“That beaver eatin’ Taco Bell!” – Primus

This year’s WCHA standings are a bit of a surprise to everyone, arguably for the Bemidji State Beavers more than any other. The reigning MacNaughton Cup winners, and finishing second in the Broadmoor race started off a bit slow this season, getting above .500 in the two weeks before the Christmas break, sweeping both Alaska Anchorage & Alabama-Huntsville.

The Beavers are led by seniors Kyle Bauman and Gerry Fitzgerald as their scoring leaders – both have 20 points going into this weekend. Jay Dickman leads the team in goals, with 11, and also comes in third in overall scoring.

They are backstopped by senior Michael Bitzer, who has played in all but two games for Bemidji, posting a .910 Save % and a 2.26 GAA. If you remember to last season, Bitzer ended the 2016-2017 campaign as the #5 goalie in the nation, posting the most games played, games started & tied for total team games played. He also lead in minutes played, with 1389:26 & won the most games amongst goalies. He was also in a three way tie with total shutouts with 4. He ended the season with a 1.47 GAA and a .938 Save %. BSU will have to have an outstanding second half to allow Bitzer to reach those numbers once again.

 

“…you were never intended to live in the life raft, to drift years on end, in sight of land but never close enough.” – Nick Flynn

While I can’t speak for any other Laker fan, I was hoping that the boys in blue would put up a good showing at the Three Rivers Classic, hosted by Robert Morris University & use it as a launching pad for the rest of the season. Sadly, that did not happen.

The Lakers opened up the weekend against the hosts Robert Morris University Friday night. To say it was disappointing would be a huge understatement. RMU shutout Lake State 5-0, scoring three goals against Mareks Mitens in the first period, and finishing off with two against Nick Kossoff in the second. The Colonials would outshoot the Lakers in the first alone 17-4, ending the night 38-19.

Now while these stats look bad, the tape looks worse. The team left Mitens out there all alone in the first, with a defense even more porous that what we’ve been seeing of late.

While the consolation game against the Arizona State Sun Devils would have a different result, they were largely outplayed – Nick Kossoff would stop 48 of 49 goals, however ASU goalie Ryland Pashovitz would only stop 17 of 20 total shots.

This team needs a change of heart, otherwise they will end the month, which marks their last home game, with playing in an empty arena and no hope for the playoffs. As of right now, the Lakers are on the outside looking in: two games behind both Alaska and Alabama-Huntsville. If they can get on a run, there is a shot at making the playoffs.

But all of that could be for naught if the coaching staff can’t get the locker room back, and from my vantage point, it doesn’t look likely that it will happen, which is a shame as I still maintain that, on paper, this could be the most talented group of players we’ve seen in a while, based off of their previous years with the Lakers, or with their recent Juniors results.

January will be the make it or break it month for Lake State: if they cannot start closing the gap, they will miss the playoffs, and I believe that the tone for this month will be set this weekend against Bemidji. Puck drops both Friday & Saturday at 7:07pm. They can be heard locally on 99.5 YesFM, online at  www.yesfm.net, or on the TuneIn app. For those fans not in the area, or cannot make it to the arena but still want to watch the action, both games will be available on www.WCHA.tv.

Rumor: Nenadal Out at Lake State

 

Rumors are starting to circulate within the Laker community that Junior forward Josh Nenadal (2017: 20GP, 2-2-4) is no longer with the team. 

While I have heard of the possible reason why, but unless I can confirm it, I do not feel comfortable possibly tarnishing a player’s name of reputation.  

We simply lost on what we know, or on items we can substantiate or. Confirm to a reasonable degree.  LakerHockeyBlog isn’t in the yellow journalism business. 

News: Ruggerio Cleared by NCAA

The NCAA has officially cleared Sophomore transfer defenseman Steven Ruggerio to play this weekend against the Michigan Tech Huskies. 

The bad news of is that the team bus left Sault Saints Marie before this news broke. But I would expect to see him in the lineup this weekend, one way or another.

Lake Superior State at Michigan Tech – Series Preview

 

Michigan Tech: 2016: 23-15-7. 2017: 8-7-4

Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7. 2017: 4-11-3

 

 

Huskies Mushing To Home Ice

The last time these two teams met, Tech was ranked #15 in the nation, and effectively swept the Lakers on their own ice during Great Lake State Weekend. The Huskies won Friday night, and the Lakers took them to the end of Overtime, but lost the extra conference point in a shootout.

Since that Saturday night, the Huskies have won four games cleanly, and one in OT, forcing a tie in three conference games, but losing in the shootout. They’ve lost six games, nine counting the shootout losses, all to conference opponents. Despite this, however, they have enough points to be third in the conference, behind Bowling Green and Minnesota State.

Last weekend Tech split with the dark horse Ferris State who have won four of their last six. They will be hoping to be above .500 conference by the end of the weekend.

 

“We have struck in iceberg and sinking by the head,”

The above quote comes from the ill-fated RMS Titanic. It was a message that was broadcast to a German ship named the Frankfurt (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17631595). I believe this is a fitting quote for how this season has gone down in this first half of the season.

The Lakers may have struck the biggest iceberg of all this past weekend, getting beaten handily by Minnesota State, losing 5-1 Friday and 7-0 Saturday. The lone goal came from a soft tap in from the neutral zone by freshman Erikkson. The weekend was mired by horrible officiating, and quite frankly horrible play on the ice.

The team, in recent weeks, have felt much like the movie adaption of the Titanic sinking – people jumping ship and others giving up. Kudos to those players that go out and try their hardest despite linemates not keeping up their level of play.

This weekend looks to be a litmus test for the rest of the season. The play last week was embarrassing to watch, and I couldn’t even imagine what it was like to be on the ice for either game. If the passengers on the team felt embarrassed by their play & the score from last weekend, it should show this week in Houghton, and we should see a hard skating team for all 120+ minutes Friday & Saturday night.

The keys to winning any points this weekend sounds simple, but has proven to be difficult: If you are suiting up to play, play your hardest.

If you are in the area, the game can be seen on the campus of Michigan Tech at the John McInnis Student Ice Arena, or you can listen to the Voice of the Lakers Bill Crawford locally on 99.5 YesFM. If the audio stream is working, the game can also be heard online at www.yesfm.net. Puck drops at 7:07pm both nights.

Minnesota State-Mankato @ LSSU – Series Preview

#8 Minnesota State-Mankato: 2016: 22-13-4. 2017: 9-5-0

Lake Superior State: 2016: 11-18-7. 2017: 4-9-3

 

Number 8 in the nation…Number 2 in the WCHA

It’s another year, and the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks are once again ranked, despite being behind unranked Bowling Green in the WCHA. The team is led by second year captain C.J. Suess (formerly Franklin), a Winnipeg Jets draft pick who has 4 goals, 12 assists for 16 points. His fellow co-captains (this team has 3 C’s, with no A’s).

Sophomore defenseman Ian Scheid has a team leading 3 PPGs, ahead of Suess, Knutson, McClure & Rivera, all with 2. Daniel Brickley, a junior defenseman, has the honor of being the most penalized player on the team, taking 11 penalties for a total of 33 minutes. Despite this, he has 10 points in 14 games.

Backstopping the team, you have the duo of seinor Connor Lacouvee, who has played 9 games for the Mavs, with a 7-2-0 record, and Jason Pawloski, a junior with a 2-3-0 record in 6 games played, with his two wins being shutouts. Expect to see Lacouvee in net Friday night.

 

Making for Lake Huron

It’s December here in the Upper Peninsula, and after the last few days, it seems like the snow is here to stay. Before too long, the Sault Locks will be shutting down. The Lakers, with a 4-9-3 record after splitting with the Alaska Nanooks last week, will have to make great strides this week in order get through the metaphorical locks before it’s too late.

Save for a few players, the Lakers looked just bad in the 5-3 loss last Friday night. It showed in coach Damon Whitten’s postgame with Bill Crawford on 99.5 YesFM, stating that some player showed up not ready to play, and saying that they will shorten the bench if they need to. He also noted that the players had called a closed door meeting after the game.

Whatever was said or done in the 20+ hours after the game seemed to spur the team, which went on to win 4-1 Saturday at the Taffy Abel Arena. Let’s hope that whatever was done last weekend motivated the team for this week, since you cannot make a mistake against the Mavericks.

In brighter news, last weekend showed the return of Colin Saccoman, in his first series back since injuring himself in Denver. He did play in the Under-18 game, but that was a single night. He seemed to be testing it Saturday night as the game went on, despite taking regular shifts. It also sounds like Lukas Kaelble is back on the ice, and the team hopes he is back soon. Yuki Miura and Steven Ruggiero hope to make their seasonal debut either next week against the Michigan Tech Huskies, or at the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh, PA.

The keys of the game remain the same as they have been: Stay out of the box, and put shots on net. While it is not realistic to get a sweep this weekend (though we will be hoping for such), getting a split will go a long ways when it comes to the teams’ confidence going forward, even more so since Mankato has been a thorn in Lake State’s side since the dissolution of the CCHA, and the realignment into the WCHA.

 

Laker Hockey has two promotions going on this weekend:

Friday night is Superhero Night: Laker Hockey will be honoring local law enforcement, first responders and military personnel. Get to the arena early between 4-7pm for the EUP United Way Chili Cookout.

Saturday night: Teddy Bear Toss: Bring a stuffed toy to the arena and throw it onto the ice during the first intermission. These will be collected & given to local children in need.

Puck drops at 7:07pm both nights, and can be heard locally on 99.5  YesFM in the Sault, online at www.yesfm.net , or you can watch online at WCHA.tv

USNDTP U-18 @ Lake Superior State – Game Preview

USNDTP U-18 2017: 12-5-0-2

LSSU: 2017: 3-8-3

Changes are Coming

For those that are unaware, the USNTDP is broken up into two programs: U-17 & U-18. Both teams play as part of the USHL through a shared schedule, but the Under-18 team also plays against NCAA opponents, whereas the U-17 won’t. These teams mark the official start of the USA Hockey program with a number of players over the years representing the United States in the Olympics along with other IIHF events. Recent alumni from the various USNDTP rosters have included Jack Eichel (drafted #2 overall by Buffalo) and Auston Matthews (Drafter #1 overall by Toronto).

All this is to say that you can’t underestimate this team. Only 2 players from the U-17 team aren’t committed to a school yet, and 1 from the U-18 squad, though every other player, both U-17 & U-18, are committed to an NCAA Division 1 school. You’ll likely see or hear about these players coming out of the NHL draft or potentially representing our country in various international events, especially now that the NHL does not foresee themselves returning to the Olympic games any time soon.

If you’re a fan of hockey, and want to see some of the best players this country has to offer, this is the team you will want to watch.

 

Black and Blue (and Gold)

The Lakers split last week’s series against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, winning in regulation Friday night to earn some points. Sadly they could not keep up with the Chargers Saturday night, which seems to be the trend this season.

There’s been a lot of things to say negatively about the team this season and not as many positives, with most of the positives being made off the back of another player’s shortfalls – the same goes for this week. Goaltender Nick Kossoff played very well in net Friday night, but let in 5 goals before being pulled in favor of Mitens who shut out UAH from that point forward.

This season has been rough for everyone, and it has already taken a victim. Junior forward C.J Hayes (4-4-8 in 55GP) has officially left the team to join the Mississippi RiverKings in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). The RiverKings are currently sitting on top of the standings of the SPHL. Look for an opinion piece on this in the near future.

 

With this weekend being American Thanksgiving, Lake Superior State University is offering an amazing deal. Gather up your ‘family’ (read: anyone wanting to join), go to the Norris Center before the 5pm puck drop and pay only $13 for your entire group. This means you pay $13 for only 2 people, or $13 for 100 people. The box office will be open starting at 2pm on Saturday, November 25th to handle the large crowds we hope to see.

The puck drops early at 5pm Saturday, and can be heard on 99.5 YESfm locally, or at www.yesfm.net , YESfm on Tunein.

Hayes leaves Lake State in favor of SPHL

C.J. Hayes (20) playing in an exhibition game against Laurentian early this season. Hayes signed with the Mississippi RiverKings of the SPHL on Tuesday (Brittany Litchard/LHB)

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – The Mississippi RiverKings of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) announced Tuesday that they signed forward C.J Hayes to a standard player contract. Hayes, who hails from Margate, Florida played in 55 games for the Lakers, tallying 4 goals, 4 assists for 8 points, but he has only skated in three games for the Lakers this season as the forward ranks were bolstered in the recent offseason.

As of this posting, no official word from the school has been released. This is the second mid-semester signing of a player in two seasons, with the previous being defenseman Owen Headrick, who left the team a few weeks after the Christmas break to play with the Erie Otters in the OHL.

The 2017-18 team has now seen two early player departures, as netminder Cooper Lukenda left the team in early November to play junior hockey with the Kemptville 73’s of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL).

We will update this post if more details come out from this departure. We wish C.J. nothing but the best as he takes his first steps into professional hockey.

Read the RiverKings’ release here: http://riverkings.com/news/posts/riverkings-sign-rookie-forward-cj-hayes-to-standard-player-contract