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Lakers host No. 10 ranked Minnesota State Nov. 4-5

Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Lake Superior State vs. Minnesota State
 Date  Nov. 4-5, 2016 (Friday/Saturday)
 Time  7:37 p.m. ET Friday/ 7:07 p.m. ET Saturday
 Location  Taffy Abel Arena (4,000) | Sault Ste. Marie


 Windows | TuneIn
 Live Stats  College Hockey Stats
 Game Notes
 Lake Superior State | Minnesota State
 Twitter  @HockeyLSSU
 LSSU Record  5-1-0, 3-1-0 WCHA
 MSU Record  2-4-0, 1-1-0 WCHA

Coming Up This Weekend

Lake Superior State hosts Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponent Minnesota State this Friday at 7:37 p.m. ET and at 7:07 p.m. ET on Saturday in a two-game weekend series.

The Lakers are coming off their first loss of the season, at home against Alaska last weekend, and are looking to get back on track after ripping off five-straight wins to open the 2016-17 campaign. The Mavericks enter the matchup with a 12-1-0 record all-time over the Lakers and also head to Sault Ste. Marie with a No. 10 national ranking and a 6-2-0 record overall.

Student Life at LSSU is giving away stick-on Laker Blue mustaches to the first 600 fans in attendance for Friday night's game to help kick-off a "Movember" initiative led by the team. Movember is a global effort to increase men's health awareness and help prevent prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide.

November is also Hospice Awareness Month, and Hospice of the EUP plans to recognize its most-dedicated volunteers and build its volunteer base during upcoming LSSU hockey and basketball games. During Saturday's hockey game, fans can sign up to receive hospice volunteer and patient care information. Hospice staff will also rally votes for the Soo Co-op Credit Union's video on the Love My Credit Union Online Campaign. The SCCU, which is also a partner of Laker Athletics, has dedicated this year's video to Hospice of the EUP.

Special Laker Legion long-sleeved t-shirts will also be given away on Saturday to the first 350 students sitting in the Laker Legion student section. 

With firearm deer season right around the corner, students and adults will also celebrate "Dress like a Yooper" Night during Game 2 of the series.

The Series vs. Minnesota State

Overall: MSU leads 12-1-0... In the Soo: MSU leads: 4-0-0

Last meeting: March 11-13, 2016, WCHA Quarterfinals (MSU won 5-2, LSSU won 2-0, MSU won 3-0)

Streak: MSU 1-0-0        Last 10: MSU leads 9-1-0

Since joining the WCHA in 2013-14 the Lakers have not fared well against Minnesota State. MSU won 11-straight to open the series with the Lakers and have outscored the Lakers 61-15 in the 13 games played over the previous three seasons.

The teams have met in WCHA Quarterfinals during each of the last two seasons. In 2014-15 the Mavericks swept the Lakers in two games. Last season the Lakers earned their first ever win over the Mavericks, 2-0 in the second game of the quarterfinals series. Gordon Defiel set a WCHA record for saves in a regulation shutout with 57 saves to force a deciding third game. The Mavericks ultimately won the third game and advanced to the 2016 Final Five, but the Lakers had finally broken the losing streak against MSU.

This season the teams enter the weekend series separated by just three points, with the Lakers also holding two game in-hand. MSU is in second place of the WCHA standings with a 4-2-0 record in conference play and the Lakers are 3-1-0 for nine points.

Scouting the Mavericks

MSU has split in each of their last two series, including last weekend's win on Friday and loss on Saturday at home against Ferris State. Two weeks ago the Mavericks traveled to Alaska for their first road test of the season and split with the Nanooks.

Following a 5-0-0 start, the Mavericks are 1-2 in their last three games.

Freshman forward Marc Michaelis is tied with sophomore defenseman Daniel Brickley for the team lead in scoring at 10 points. Michaelis (3-7--10) ranks second behind Ferris State's Craig Pefley (2-9--11) for the league-lead in scoring among freshmen. Michaelis and Brickley (1-9--10) are also tied for third among WCHA skaters in overall points behind Hults and Pefley.

With a shutout to his credit and a 6-1-0 overall record to open the season, 2016 WCHA Goaltending Champion Cole Huggins is off to another hot start this season. Huggins ranks second among WCHA goaltenders with both a .923 save percentage, and a 1.74 goals-against average. Part of Huggins success should be attributed to the fact that he faces just 19.75 shots-against per game he's appeared in this season, the 11th-most among the 12 WCHA goaltenders to have appeared in at least four games. The Mavericks rank sixth among WCHA teams with 13.25 blocked shots per game, while the Lakers rank second, blocking 14.33 shots per game.

The Lakers also hold a slight edge in special teams over the Mavericks with a league-leading 20.5 percent power-play average and rank third with an 87.5 percent penalty kill success rate. The Mavericks are hitting on 20.0 percent of their power-play opportunities and kill 86.5 percent of their power-plays against. Only the Mavericks and Michigan Tech have scored more power-play goals than the Lakers this season.

Both the Mavericks and Lakers are atop of the league for shots on goal margin per games played. The Mavericks lead the WCHA with a +7.62 shots-on-goal margin advantage and the Lakers hold a +7.50 margin for second.

Last Week Against the Nanooks (Friday: 3-2, W, Saturday: 4-3, OTL)

The Lakers came away with just three points and a split last weekend against Alaska at home. The Nanooks jumped out of the gates with early two-goal games in both contests but the Lakers quelled the storm both nights.

On Friday the Lakers took a 2-0 defecit into the locker room before exploding for a three-goal second period, capped by Diego Cuglietta's shorthanded game-winner late in the period. It was Cuglietta's second shorthanded game-winning goal this season and the sophomore's sixth game-winning tally and fourth shorthanded goal of his career.

In Saturday's contest, Gage Torrel scored a power-play goal late in the first to cut the Nanooks lead to 2-1 before the break. Mitch Hults netted two game-tying goals to keep the Lakers within striking distance. Hults' first goal came 38 seconds into the second period and later forced overtime with less than five minutes remaining in regulation on a give-and-go with Lakers defenseman Kyle Chatham.

Laker Log
  • Hults is now the Lakers' leading scorer, having racked up 11 points in six games during the opening month of October. Hults has four goals, including a game winner and is a +6 to start the season. The Stoughton, Wis., native has registered a point in every game this season and has a pair of three-point games and one other two-point game.
  • Sophomore forward and line mate of Hults, Gage Torrel was the only other Laker to capture multiple points this weekend, assisting on a goal in Friday's win and opening the scoring for LSSU on Saturday.
  • Following Hults in scoring is Torrel (4-4--8), J.T. Henke (3-5--8), Brayden Gelsinger (3-5--8) and Owen Headrick (2-6--8), all tied with eight points in six games.
  • Cuglietta is also averaging a point-per game with four goals and two assists in six games and freshman Bryan Basilico scored a goal in his only appearance this season.
  • Junior defensive partners Kyle Chatham and assistant captain Aidan Wright shined defensively throughout the weekend with both players tallying an assist and finishing with +3 ratings.  Chatham led the WCHA with eight blocked shots on the weekend and went without committing a penalty, while Wright finished with five blocked shots.
  • The Lakers offense is clicking for five goals per game this season, good for second nationally. Defensively, the Lakers allow just 2.50 goals-against per game, tying for 20th nationally.
  • LSSU ranks tied for third nationally in goal margin with a +15 total.

Poll Position

For the second-straight week, the Lakers earned 44 votes in the Division I Men's poll. The Lakers also received one vote in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll.

The Lakers were last ranked in the national top-20 poll on Jan. 6, 2014, coming in at No. 19. The following poll on January 13, 2014, is the last time the Lakers received votes in the national polls.

Young Guns Stepping Up

  • The sophomore class, one of the top point-producing classes in the nation as freshmen last season, is leading all other sophomore classes in goals, assists and points, and also ranks second nationally behind Harvard's seniors for combined points-per-game from a single class.
  • The freshman class for LSSU has performed well beyond their years through their first month of college hockey as well, combining for the third-most points by a freshman class in the nation, tying Minnesota State.

Looking Ahead (at Michigan Tech, Nov. 11-12)

Next week the Lakers travel to the western side of the Upper Peninsula to reignite the U.P. rivalry against Michigan Tech. The Huskies currently sit two points above the Lakers in the WCHA standings, having played two more league contests, and hold a 3-2-1 WCHA record.

The Huskies are receiving balanced scoring throughout their lineup with three players leading the team with five points and four players tied with four points.

Between the pipes MTU has given looks to all three goaltenders, but freshman Angus Redmond looks ready to be the leader of the pack following a terrific weekend allowing just one goal and sweeping Northern Michigan in a home-and-home series.

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.

The show is live from the Antlers restaurant 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.