|Date|| Jan. 9-10, 2016 (Friday/Saturday)
|Jan. 6|| 7:37 p.m. ET, Friday | Taffy Abel Arena
|Jan. 7|| 7:07 p.m., Saturday | Berry Events Center
|Windows | TuneIn Radio | WCHA.tv|
|Live Stats|| College Hockey Stats
|LSSU Record||8-11-1, 5-8-1 WCHA|
4-16-2, 2-11-1 WCHA
Coming Up This Weekend
Lake Superior State opens the 2017 portion of the schedule with consecutive home-and-home weekends against Upper Peninsula rivals Northern Michigan. This weekend the Lakers host the Wildcats on Friday (Jan. 6) at 7:37 p.m. ET, before traveling to Marquette for the series finale at 7:07 p.m., Saturday (Jan. 7).
The Lakers (8-11-1, 5-8-1 WCHA) enter the matchup in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, while the Wildcats enter the series in 10th place with a 4-16-2 overall record and 2-11-1 mark in conference play. LSSU struggled in the month of December, going 1-4-1 in six games, but looks to get on track to open January.
Friday's game against NMU is War Memorial Hospital Night and College Night at Taffy Abel Arena. All area college students with a valid student I.D. to any university or college can receive a free ticket to the game.
The Series vs. Northern Michigan
Overall: NMU leads, 66-40-11, at LSSU: LSSU leads, 26-25-7, at NMU: NMU leads, 41-14-4
Last meeting: Feb. 26-27, 2016 (Sault Ste. Marie), LSSU won 3-1 Friday | tied 2-2 Saturday
Streak: LSSU 2-0-1 Last 10: NMU leads 5-4-1
The pair of upcoming series also renews the Cappo Cup rivalry, which the Lakers claimed with a 2-1-1 record against the Wildcats in 2015-16. The Cappo Cup, first awarded by the late Monsignor Louis Cappo in 1991, has been awarded to the team that claims the season series every year since the 1994-95 season. All-time, the Wildcats hold a 14-9 advantage in the Cappo Cup series.
Next weekend the Wildcats host Friday's (Jan. 13) matchup and conclude the season series in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday (Jan. 14).
Scouting the Wildcats
The Wildcats enter the weekend with just one win in their last 10 games (1-9-1) and a 2-13-1 mark in their last 16 games. Offensively NMU averages just 2.00 goals per game, ranking ninth in the WCHA, while allowing the eighth-most goals against at 3.27 goals allowed per contest.
Special teams have also been a struggle for the Wildcats this season, producing the WCHA's ninth-ranked power play percentage (10.2 percent) and ranking last with a 77.8 penalty kill percentage.
Five forwards lead the way for the Wildcats offensively with junior Robbie Payne leading the squad with five goals and nine assists this season. Following Payne are seniors Gerard Hanson (4-9--13) and Dominik Shine (8-4--12), freshman Darien Craighead (5-6--11) and junior Zach Diamantoni (1-9--10).
Following a freshman campaign as one of the nation's top goaltenders last season, sophomore netminder Atte Tolvanen has struggled to find consistency this season. Tolvanen has produced a 3.19 goals against average and .897 save percentage this season, compared to a 2.46 goals against average and the nation's 11th best save percentage (.928) last season.
Backing up Tolvanen in net, Matthias Israelsson has also struggled this season, posting a 3.23 goals against average and .875 save percentage while posting a 1-0-0 record despite four starts between the pipes.
Last Time Out Against the Mavericks (Fri.: 4-1, L | Sat.: 5-3, L)
Last weekend the Lakers fell victim to a road sweep at the hands of then-No. 20 ranked Omaha, Dec. 30-31. The Mavericks opened the series with a 4-1 victory over LSSU on Friday and stormed back from a 2-0 deficit on Saturday, scoring five goals in the third period to claim victory.
Freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman led the Lakers on Saturday with a goal and an assist and finished the weekend with a league-best eight blocked shots. Saccoman's eight blocked shots extended his nation's best mark to 61 total on the season and he is now averaging national-best 3.05 blocked shots per game. The native of Stillwater, Minn., has registered eight or more blocked shots in four-straight weekends.
- Sophomore forward Mitch Hults continues to lead the Lakers and ranks third among WCHA players in scoring with six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 20 games this season.
- Henke's two-point weekend moves the junior forward to second on LSSU in scoring behind Hults with 6-10--16 on the season and is tied for ninth among WCHA players.
- Sophomore forwards Diego Cuglietta (8-7--15) and Gage Torrel (8-7--15) are tied for 12th in WCHA scoring and sophomore defenseman Owen Headrick (2-12--14) rounds out the top-five scorers in the Lakers lineup.
- Cuglietta and Torrel currently sit tied for fourth in total goals scored among WCHA players with eight goals each.
- Following a 6-1-0 start to the season and averaging 5.0 goals per game, the Lakers have since been held to two or fewer goals in nine of their last 15 games.
- In their last 13 games, the Lakers are 2-10-1 and have been outscored 47-26.
- During that stretch, 47 goals allowed is the league's worst mark, while 26 goals for ranks tied for ninth. The Lakers also have scored the fewest power play goals (5) and have allowed the league's most power play goals (13) and shorthanded goals (5)
- The scoring struggles have dropped the Lakers from the league-lead in scoring to ranking third with a 3.05 goals per game average.
- The Lakers rank seventh in the WCHA at 13.0 percent on the power play and rank fifth in penalty kill at 83.8 percent and lead the WCHA with five shorthanded goals.
- With a combined 31 goals and 57 assists for 88 total points, the Lakers' sophomore ranks second nationally behind Notre Dame's junior class in combined goals (31), and points (88) this season.
- As a group, the Lakers' forwards lead the WCHA and rank 13th nationally in combined points (128). Their 55 combined goals ranks 11th nationally.
- Much of the Lakers' offensive success this season has come during the first 40 minutes of play. In fact, the Lakers are tied for 16th nationally in goals during the first period (20), as well as rank tied for ninth in second-period goals (23). Combined, the Lakers' 43 goals during the first and second periods ranks tied for 11th.
- In the third period, however, the Lakers have 18 goals in 20 games to rank tied for 35th and have failed to score during the third period in 9 games, in which the Lakers are 2-6-1 overall.
- When scoring in the third period the Lakers are 6-5-0 this season.
LSSU Alumni Association Gathering
LSSU Alumni and fans are invited to attend the LSSU Alumni Association pre-game social at the Ore Dock Brewery in Marquette from 5:30 p.m. until 6:45 p.m. prior to Saturday's game at NMU.
Hosted by Chris Ogren (LSSU '13), the social will include pizza, salad & opportunities to win Laker door prizes. All Laker fans are welcome to attend.
To purchase tickets in advance, contact the NMU ticket office at 906-227-1032. Seats are reserved for the LSSU group in Section 12 until 5pm on Jan. 4, after Jan. 4 they are first come, first serve.
RSVP via facebook message, email (email@example.com) or call 906-635-6219.
Looking Ahead (at NMU Jan. 13 | vs. NMU Jan. 14)
Next weekend the Lakers and Wildcats continue the rivalry and crown the Cappo Cup winners for the 2016-17 season with NMU hosting the Friday, Jan. 13 game, and the Lakers hosting Saturday (Jan. 14). Next Saturday's contest will mark the 60th meeting between the two teams in Sault Ste. Marie.
After the back-to-back series against the Wildcats, the Lakers remain at home to face Alabama-Huntsville on Jan. 20-21. The Lakers previously swept the Chargers, who are currently tied with Minnesota State for 4th in the WCHA standings, during a two-game series in Huntsville on Oct. 21-22.
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. The Laker Hockey Show provides a review of past games, a look ahead to future action and more information, as well as 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 http://lakers.sovcomm.net/.
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 http://lakers.sovcomm.net/.
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.
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.