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Laker Hockey opens with exhibition against Laurentian on Sunday

Courtesy of Michael McSweeny
Courtesy of Michael McSweeny
Lake Superior State vs Laurentian
 Date  Sunday, Oct. 2
 Time  5:00 p.m. ET
 Location  Taffy Abel Arena 
 Tickets  Online Tickets


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 Live Stats  College Hockey Stats
 Twitter  @HockeyLSSU
 LSSU Record  0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA
 LU Record  0-0-0 CIS

Coming Up This Weekend

Lake Superior State hockey opens the 2016-17 season, it's 51st season of varsity hockey, with an exhibition contest hosting the Laurentian Voyageurs of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) on Sunday evening at 5 p.m.

The Lakers hold the series advantage over the Voyageurs with a record of 21-6-5 all time. The last time the teams met, (Oct. 29, 2013) the Lakers skated to a 9-2 victory in exhibition play.

A Look Back at Last Season

The Lakers marked a six-win improvement in 2015-16, going 14-22-5 overall and picked up three more victories in conference play (10-13-5 WCHA) compared to 2014-15.

Last season the Lakers made several large strides throughout the year and appear capable of using that momentum for more improvements in 2016-17. The Lakers earned their first victory at Ewigleben Ice Arena against Ferris State since Oct. 31, 2008; won 2-0 over Minnesota State in Game 2 of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Quarterfinals for their first-ever victory over the Mavericks, and also reclaimed the Cappo Cup from Upper Peninsula rivals Northern Michigan.

The Lakers were led offensively by sophomore transfer J.T. Henke (10-12--22) and freshmen Mitch Hults (9-11--20) and Gage Torrel (8-11--19).n Goaltender Gordon Defiel earned All-WCHA Third Team honors last season following an impressive season in which he ranked 15th nationally and third among WCHA goaltenders with a .926 save percentage. During the second half of the season Defiel ranked tied for fourth nationally with a .934 save percentage and had a 2.19 goals-against average along with all three of his shutouts from last season.

Returning Firepower

The Lakers return 85-percent of both the goals, and the team's total points scored last season with each of their top eight scorers returning and nine of their top-10. Of the 10 lettermen set not to return due to graduation or orther circumstances, the Lakers lose just 11 total goals and 29 combined points.

Hults, Torrel and classmate Anthony Nellis (4-13--14) all reached the top five in WCHA rookie scoring last season. Diego Cuglietta (6-5--11) led WCHA rookies with four game-winning goals and tied for the league-lead among freshmen with two shorthanded tallies.

The defensive corps will be anchored by four juniors that have combined for nearly 300 collegiate games in their careers, including assistant captain Aidan Wright who has not missed a game since first donning the anchor. The group also returns sophomore Owen Headrick who ranked tied for 10th among league rookies in scoring last season with five goals and seven assists. Headrick led WCHA freshmen defenders with five goals and ranked second in points.

WCHA Changes in 2016-17


Ensuring that each contest will have a "winner" in the league standings, each WCHA regular season league game that remains tied after regulation and the NCAA-mandated, five-minute 5-on-5 overtime period will now advance to a second five-minute overtime period, of 3-on-3 play; if the game is still tied, it will be settled in a sudden death shootout (wherein each team will receive a minimum of one shot, and the second team to shoot can match if the first team to shoot, scores). All WCHA postseason games will revert to the NCAA standard of sudden death, 20-minute overtime periods to determine a winner.

Points Structure

  • Game decided in regulation: three (3) points to winning team.
  • Game decided in 5-on-5 overtime (five minutes, sudden death): three (3) points to winning team.
  • Game decided in 3-on-3 overtime (five minutes, sudden death): two (2) points to winning team, one (1) point to losing team.
  • Game decided in shootout (sudden death): two (2) points to winning team, one (1) point to losing team.

The 3-on-3 overtime and shootouts will only affect the WCHA standings, while any game that is tied after the 5-on-5 overtime remains officially a tie for NCAA purposes. Thus, the WCHA standings will show Wins, Losses, Ties and 3-on-3/Shootout Wins ("W-L-T-3/SW"). In this format, W-L-T will add up to games played, with the "Tie" column signifying how many times a team has been to a 3-on-3 overtime or shootout; and, the "3-on-3/Shootout Wins" column representing how many games a team has won in that fashion.


WCHA skaters will have four additional inches to work with behind the net in each league rink this season, as all 10 member institutions will install the 40-inch goal frame that is standard across the NHL. A vast majority of WCHA arenas in 2015-16 had the 44-inch frames that long have been a staple of college hockey. 

On Campus Champs

The entirety of the WCHA postseason – from the quarterfinals through the championship game – will be hosted by the highest remaining seeds at on-campus venues, beginning immediately in 2016-17.

Starting in 2017 and continuing for at least the next three seasons, the "WCHA Playoffs" will consist of four (4) best-of-three, quarterfinal round series hosted by the league's top four regular-season finishers on the first weekend of March, followed by two (2) best-of-three semifinal round series hosted by the highest remaining seeds on the second weekend of the month. The "WCHA Championship" will be a single game, hosted by the highest remaining seed, on the third Saturday of March (the same weekend as the "Final Five" of previous seasons). As has been the case since the 2013-14 campaign, the top eight teams from the WCHA regular season will qualify for the postseason.

Single Game Tickets

Single game tickets to all of the Lakers home games cost $12 for adults and $6 for children (17-under) unless a special promotion is running. Tickets for all LSSU Athletics events can be purchased online at or by calling the Norris Center ticket office at (906) 635-2602.

Season Tickets

Adult season packages are $199 and include 17 home games plus three Western Collegiate Hockey Association first-round playoff games. Child season tickets are $95 and also include three playoff games. The Snowbird package includes the Lakers' first nine home games for $90. Single-game tickets will again be $12 for adults and $6 for children 17 and under. LSSU is introducing a new senior citizen single-game ticket rate of $10 for seniors 60 and over.

Starting this season, WCHA Playoff second-round series will be played at campus sites, but second-round tickets will be sold separately from the season package. If the Lakers don't host a first-round playoff series, the deadline for playoff ticket refunds is May 15, 2017. Refund requests are processed after playoff tickets are returned to the Norris Center at the conclusion of the season.

The LSSU Department of Athletics will feature fun promotions throughout the season. Look for details on and in weekly media releases. The LSSU student cheering section has moved from Sections S & T to Sections A, B, C & D. Sections S&T will be general admission in 2016-17.

Season tickets can be purchased online through or at the Norris Center Guest Services Desk during summer hours. LSSU faculty/staff and retirees must pick up tickets at the Norris Center. Returning season ticket holders have until Sept. 9 to reclaim their seats.

Laker Hockey Show

Every week Bill Crawford along with head coach Damon Whitten, the assistant coaches and players take a look at the Laker Hockey program.  A review of past games, a look ahead to future action and more information and insight on the team and players. n The show is live from the Antlers restaraunt on East Portage Ave. every Tuesday night starting at 6 p.m. and can be heard on WKNW ESPN Radio 1400 or you can catch up on any shows you have missed through podcasts that will be made available on

Laker Hockey Talk

Laker Hockey Talk, also on ESPN 1400, returns this year on Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Bill Crawford and Damon Whitten preview the upcoming weekend's match up.

Soo Blue Liners

The Soo Blue Liners commenced operations as a support group in 1982-83 with a membership of 75 people. The organization was developed for the specific purpose of supporting Laker hockey.

Soo Blue Liners memberships are: $5 college students, $15 single members, $25 couples, $30 families. Membership applications are available at the Norris Center Ticket Office or by calling 906-248-5732.

Laker Club

The LSSU Laker Club is the principle fundraising initiative for athletics at Lake Superior State University. With the help of a strong and active membership, the club will work to increase fan support at all LSSU athletic events. Membership also supports athletes in the classroom through Laker Club funded scholarships. LSSU athletes are high achievers inside and outside of the classroom.