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Lakers welcome back Michigan State for Great Lake State Weekend

Lake Superior State vs. Michigan State
 Date  Oct. 14-15, 2016 (Friday/Saturday)
 Time  7:37 p.m. ET Friday/ 6:07 p.m. ET Saturday
 Location  Taffy Abel Arena (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)


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 Game Notes
 Lake Superior State | Michigan State
 Twitter  @HockeyLSSU
 LSSU Record  0-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA
 MSU Record  0-0-0, 0-0-0 B1G

Coming Up This Weekend

Lake Superior State hockey opens the 2016-17 regular season by hosting former Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival Michigan State this weekend (Oct. 14-15), in a two-game nonconference series.

The weekend series is the marquee event of the annual Great Lake State Weekend homecoming festivities for LSSU. The weekend includes inductions to the Laker Athletics Hall of Fame, alumni awards, and a special gathering for hockey alumni and fans following Saturday evening's contest.

The Series vs. Michigan State

Overall: MSU leads 71-35-14... In the Soo: MSU leads: 25-17-7
Last meeting: Oct. 22-23, 2015, LSSU won 4-2 / MSU won 2-0
Streak: MSU  1-0-0

The last time the teams met in Sault Ste. Marie marked their final meeting as CCHA opponents, during the 2012-13 season. The weekend ended in a split after the Lakers took the first game 3-2 and MSU won 4-2 in the finale. The Lakers and Spartans did not play in either the 2013-14 or 2014-15 seasons.

Last season the teams met for three games, first in the Ice Breaker Tournament held in Portland, Maine, followed by a two-game series in East Lansing. MSU claimed a 4-1 victory at the Ice Breaker Tournament, before hosting the Lakers two weeks later. LSSU took the first game at Munn Ice Arena 4-2, and the Spartans salvaged a weekend split by winning 2-0 in the second game. In their last 10 games, the Lakers and Spartans are deadlocked 4-4-2.

Great Lake State Weekend

GLSW 2016 kicks off with the Alumni Awards Reception and Banquet beginning at 4:30 p.m. on friday in the Cisler Center. Recipients of the LSSU Alumni Awards will be recognized during the first period of Friday evening's hockey game.

After the game on Friday LSSU men's and women's basketball teams are holding alumni gatherings at 10 p.m. The men's team will gather at the Christopher Columbus Hall and the women's basketball alumni will meet at the Captain's Pub inside the Ojibway Ramada Hotel.

Saturday's GLSW events include a women's basketball scrimmage at 11 a.m., tours of the South Hall renovation project and free planetarium shows at 1 p.m., and the LSSU Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony at 2:30 p.m. A tailgate outside of the Norris Center will run from 4-6 p.m. prior to Saturday's game against MSU, slated for an early 6:07 p.m. start.

Immediately following the hockey game, fans and alumni of Laker Hockey will be encouraged to gather in the Cooper Gymnasium for a reunion with former players and coaches. The gathering will feature special guest speakers, admission is free, and a cash bar will be available.

For a complete list of GLSW activities, go to

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).

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.

Last weekend Defiel was named to the watch list for the Mike Richter Award, which honors the nation's top goaltender each 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 Wrightwho 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.

Scouting the Spartans

MSU returns 14 letterwinners (10 forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender) from last season including third-leading scorer Joe Cox, who posted 11 goals and 12 assists last season. Also returning to the Spartan lineup in 2016-17 are Mason Appleton who led MSU with 17 assists last year and tied for fourth in points (22) with fellow returner J.T. Stenglein (8-14--22). Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection Zach Osburn also returns to the MSU blue line after posting 6-13--19 during his rookie campaign.

The Spartans will look to replace the scoring void left with the departure of top scorers  Mackenzie MacEachern (14-16--30) and Michael Ferrantino. Another question mark will be in net, where the Spartans return one career start from junior Ed Minney and have a pair of freshmen backing him up.

The Spartans finished 10-23-4 last season and 6-12-2 in Big Ten play to finish fifth in the six-team conference.

A Look Ahead

Following the weekend series with the Spartans, the Lakers travel south to face Alabama-Huntsville in their first Western Collegiate Hockey Association action of the season. Following the series with the Chargers, LSSU returns home for Pink in the Rink weekend on Oct. 28-29 to close out the opening month against the Alaska Nanooks.

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.

Fans planning to attend this weekend's series are encouraged to pick up their tickets at the Norris Center Information and Guest Services Desk or online throughout the week to avoid long lines prior to the games.

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. Podcasts for the Laker Hockey Talk show will also be available at

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 906-635-0568.

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.