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Cappo Cup series with Northern Michigan concludes Saturday on "SOOperhero Night"

Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Lake Superior State vs. Northern Michigan
 Date  Jan. 13-14, 2017 (Friday/Saturday)
 Jan. 13  7:07 p.m. ET, Friday | Berry Events Center
 Jan. 14  7:07 p.m. ET, Saturday | Taffy Abel Arena


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 Live Stats  College Hockey Stats
 Twitter  @HockeyLSSU
 LSSU Record  9-12-1, 6-9-1 WCHA
 NMU Record

 5-17-2, 3-12-1 WCHA

Coming Up This Weekend

Lake Superior State continues its second-straight weekend of home-and-home Western Collegiate Hockey Association play against Upper Peninsula rivals Northern Michigan this weekend, traveling to Marquette Friday and hosting NMU at Taffy Abel Arena at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday.

The Lakers (9-12-1, 6-9-1 WCHA) earned a 3-2 victory in the series opener against NMU last Friday night, defending their home ice. During Saturday's trip to Berry Events Center for the weekend finale, the Wildcats (5-17-2, 3-12-1 WCHA) picked up a 6-4 victory at to tie the series 1-1 and take an 8-7 lead in goal differential, a tiebreaker in determining the winner of the Cappo Cup rivalry trophy.

This Saturday's game is "SOOperhero Night", in which LSSU Athletics invites all Chippewa County first responders to receive one (1) free adult ticket to the game against NMU. All first responders, along with dispatch and administrative support staff can pick up one free adult ticket at the Norris Center Ticket Office on game day. To avoid long ticket window lines, additional tickets for family members can be purchased and free tickets can be picked up at Norris Center Guest Services during normal business hours. Simply show a badge or some kind of staff ID to claim the free ticket.

The Sooperhero Night promotion includes all area full-time and township volunteer fire and ambulance, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol, Sault Police, Sault Tribe Police, Bay Mills Police, Chippewa County Sheriff's Department, and Michigan State Police.

The Series vs. Northern Michigan

Overall: NMU leads, 67-41-11... In SSM: LSSU leads, 27-25-7… In Marquette: NMU leads, 42-14-4…

Last meeting: Jan. 6-7, 2017, LSSU won 3-2 Friday in Sault Ste. Marie, and NMU won 2-2 Saturday in Marquette

Streak: NMU 1-0-0         Last 5: LSSU leads 3-1-1           Last 10: NMU leads 5-4-1

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. The Lakers claimed the cup last season with a 2-1-1 record against the Wildcats in 2015-16.

Following last weekend's results, the series is tied 1-1-0 and the Wildcats hold a slight 8-7 advantage in total goals. If the teams split and the goal totals remain the same, the Lakers retain the cup as the previous winners.

The rivalry between the Lakers and Wildcats dates back to 1976 when NMU began a NCAA Division I team and a probationary member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association during 1976-77. In 1977-78 the Wildcats became a full member of the CCHA and the teams competed against each other as conference opponents during every season until 1983-84. From 1984-96 the Wildcats competed in the WCHA, until a return to the CCHA and conference partnership with the Lakers in the 1996-97 season. In 2013-14, following the disbanding of the CCHA, the Lakers and Wildcats joined fellow Upper Peninsula rivals, Michigan Tech, in the WCHA.

All-time, the Wildcats hold a 67-41-11 record over the Lakers and a 42-14-4 record in Marquette. In Sault Ste. Marie, the Lakers lead the series 27-25-7 and are undefeated in their last four home games against the Wildcats (3-0-1).

Scouting the Wildcats

The Wildcats enter the weekend having picked up just their second win in their last 10 games (2-8-2) in Saturday's victory, and hold a 3-12-1 mark in their last 16 games. Offensively, NMU averages just 2.17 goals per game, ranking tied for eighth in the WCHA, while allowing the eighth-most goals against at 3.29 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 (11.0 percent) and ranking last in the WCHA at 78.0 percent on the penalty kill.

Leading the way for the Wildcats offensively, is senior Dominik Shine with 12 goals and 16 points on the season and junior Robbie Payne, tying Shine with 16 points and tying for a team-high 11 assists. Last weekend, Shine posted four goals, including a hat-trick on Saturday, while Payne chipped in a pair of assists on Saturday.

Following Shine and Payne in scoring and rounding out the Wildcats to hit double digits in points this season are senior Gerard Hanson (4-11--15), freshman Darien Craighead (5-8--13), senior Brock Maschmeyer (3-9--12) 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 3.23 goals against average and .894 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 forming a 1-0-0 record despite four starts between the pipes.

Last Time Out Against the Wildcats (Fri.: 3-2, W | Sat.: 6-4, L)

Last weekend the teams began the first leg of back-to-back weekends squaring off, with LSSU claiming a 3-2 victory on Friday night and the Wildcats collecting a 6-4 win on Saturday. Saturday's victory puts NMU ahead 8-7 in total goals on the series tied at 1-1-0.

Sophomore forward Anthony Nellis and linemate J.T. Henke led the way for the Lakers on the weekend, each tallying five points in the series. Nellis opened the scoring Friday with a pair of goals, each assisted by Henke.

Fellow sophomore Diego Cuglietta capped Friday's scoring with his ninth goal of the season and team-leading third game-winning tally of the season to put the Lakers ahead 3-2.

Junior goaltender Gordon Defiel looked sharp early on, stopping the first 15 shots he faced, however, allowed a power-play goal by Maschmeyer with four seconds remaining, allowing the Wildcats to cut the lead in half heading into the second intermission, trailing 2-1. In the third period, Defiel made seven saves on eight shots and closed the door on his ninth victory of the season, finishing with 23 saves on 25 shots.

On Saturday Nellis added three assists in the 6-4 loss to continue a four-game point streak. After finishing with two assists on Friday, Henke responded with a goal and two assists on Saturday to extend his own four-game point streak. Cuglietta added his second goal in as many games and now holds the team-lead with 10 goals on the season.

Laker Log

  • In the Lakers' last six games, Henke has three goals and eight points.
  • Sophomore forward Diego Cuglietta extended his team-lead in goals with a power-play marker and eventual game-winner on Friday and tallied a goal in Saturday's game to draw into a tie for third among WCHA players with 10 goals and is tied for eighth in the WCHA with 17 points.
  • Freshman Max Humitz scored two goals and added an assist in Saturday's loss. Among WCHA freshmen, Humitz is tied for second in goals (9), tied for the lead in power-play goals (4), and ranks ninth in points (12).
  • Freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman continues to lead the nation with 61 blocked shots on the season and is averaging a nation's best 2.86 blocked shots per game.
  • Sophomore forward Mitch Hults continues to lead the Lakers and ranks third among WCHA players in scoring with six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 22 games this season.
  • Henke's five-point weekend keeps him second on LSSU in scoring behind Hults with 7-14--21 on the season and is now fourth among WCHA players.
  • 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 17 games.
  • In their last 15 games, the Lakers are 3-11-1 and have been outscored 55-33.
  • During that stretch, 55 goals (3.67 GAA) allowed is the league's worst mark, while 33 goals for ranks fifth.
  • The Lakers currently rank second in the WCHA with a 3.09 goals per game average.
  • The Lakers rank seventh in the WCHA at 13.6 percent on the power play and rank sixth in penalty kill at 83.5 percent and are tied for the league lead with five shorthanded goals.
  • With a combined 35 goals and 62 assists for 97 total points, the Lakers' sophomore class leads the nation for most combined points by a single class.
  • The Lakers freshman class is tied for 10th nationally among freshmen classes with 22-31--53.
  • As a group, the Lakers' forwards lead the WCHA and rank ninth nationally in combined points (146). Their 62 combined goals rank tied for eighth nationally.

Looking Ahead ( vs. Alabama-Huntsville Jan. 20-21)

Next weekend the Lakers remain home to host Alabama-Huntsville in a two-game WCHA weekend series on Jan. 20-21. The Lakers and Chargers (7-15-2, 7-9-2 WCHA) met earlier this season in Huntsville, with the Lakers claiming a road sweep with a 6-3 victory on Friday (Oct. 21) and a 5-2 decision on Saturday (Oct. 22).

The Chargers enter the week in fifth-place of the WCHA standings, four points ahead of the Lakers, but LSSU holds two games in hand over UAH. This week UAH is idle with a bye week before traveling to Sault Ste. Marie. In the all-time series between the Lakers and Chargers, the visiting team has gone 12-2-2 overall with LSSU holding a 7-1-0 series lead in Huntsville and the Chargers producing a 5-1-2 record at Taffy Abel Arena.

LSSU Alumni Association Gathering (Mankato Jan. 28)

The LSSU Alumni Association invites all Lakers fans to join alumni and fellow fans at Rounders Sports Bar for a pre-game tailgate before the Lakers play at Minnesota State on Saturday, Jan. 28 (7:07 p.m. CT). The Alumni provides free appetizers and a drawing for Laker door prizes. Anna (Kerr) Hotz '03 is hosting this Laker gathering. There is no charge; Donations will be accepted.

Tickets for the game can be purchased from Ticketmaster. Ask to be seated in Section 200 with other Laker fans. Contact the Alumni Office with questions or to RSVP, 906.635.6219 or email

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

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.