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Lakers welcome Alabama-Huntsville with critical WCHA points on the line

Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Lake Superior State vs. Alabama-Huntsville
 Date  Jan. 20-21, 2017 (Taffy Abel Arena)
 Time  7:37 p.m. ET, Friday | 7:07 p.m. ET, Saturday
 Tickets  LSSU Online Tickets | (906) 635-2602


 Windows | TuneIn
 Live Stats  College Hockey Stats
 Twitter  @HockeyLSSU
 LSSU Record  9-12-3, 6-9-3 WCHA
 UAH Record

 7-15-2, 7-9-2 WCHA

Coming Up This Weekend

Lake Superior State welcomes Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals Alabama-Huntsville this weekend for a two-game series inside Taffy Abel Arena. The series marks the second time third and fourth games between the teams this season with LSSU earning a sweep in Huntsville to open conference play in October.

The Lakers (9-12-3, 6-9-3 WCHA) enter the weekend at eighth place in the WCHA standings with 22 points, closely trailing the Chargers (7-15-2, 7-9-2 WCHA) and Ferris State tied for sixth place with 23 points and Alaska in fifth place with 24 points.

The series opens Friday at 7:37 p.m. ET and continues Saturday at 7:07 p.m. ET. A live radio broadcast will be available on 99.5 YES FM and online at https//, and a live video stream of the games will be available for purchase at https//

During Friday's game, LSSU Student Life will give away free glow sticks and food to the LSSU Laker Legion student section, while supplies last. On Saturday, free food will be available to students in attendance, inside the Laker Legion box with a valid Student ID.

LSSU Athletics also welcomes all participants of this year's Cabin Fever Tournament, hosted by the Soo Michigan Hockey Association (SMHA), to receive half-priced tickets to both games this weekend. All registered players of a team participating in the 2017 Cabin Fever Tournament are eligible to receive a child's ticket for $3 and registered coaches can receive an adult ticket for $6, during both Friday and Saturday's games. 

The Series vs. Alabama-Huntsville

Overall: LSSU leads, 8-6-2... In SSM: UAH leads, 5-1-2… In Huntsville: LSSU leads, 7-1-0…

Last meeting: Oct. 21-22, 2016, LSSU swept: 6-3 Friday / 5-2 Saturday

Streak: LSSU 2-0-0 | Last 5: UAH leads 3-2-0 | Last 10: LSSU leads 5-4-1

The first meeting between the Lakers and Chargers dates back to Jan. 14-15, 2005, when the teams battled to a 3-3 tie and 5-0 win for UAH in the series finale. In October of 2011, The Lakers earned a nonconference sweep over the Chargers on the road and the following November the teams played to a series split in Sault Ste. Marie.

In 2013-14 both teams joined the WCHA and the visitor has won all but two matchups in the series since, a Lakers loss in Huntsville in 2014 and a tie between the teams in 2015. All-time, the road team is 12-2-2 in the series, in which the Lakers hold an overall 8-6-2 advantage. Inside Taffy Abel Arena, however, the Chargers are 5-1-2 against the Lakers all-time.

The Lakers opened their WCHA schedule this season on the road at Huntsville on Oct. 21-22. LSSU claimed a 6-3 victory in the opener before claiming a sweep with a 5-2 victory on Saturday.

During the last 10 meetings, the Lakers lead the series 5-4-1; however, the Chargers have outscored the Lakers 26-25.

Scouting the Chargers

The Chargers enter the weekend on a four-game losing streak, including last weekend's sweep at the hands of Minnesota State. On the season, UAH ranks eighth among WCHA teams averaging just 2.17 goals per game and is allowing 3.50 goals against, which ties Alaska for the league's worst mark.

The Chargers' special teams have also struggled this season. On the power play, they rank eighth with an 11.2 conversion percentage. The UAH penalty kill also ranks eighth among teams inside the WCHA, killing off just 79.3 percent of opponent's power-play opportunities.

A pair of junior forwards, Josh Kestner and Max McHugh lead the way for the Chargers offensively. Kestner has six goals and 11 assists on the season to lead UAH with 17 points. McHugh leads UAH with eight goals and trails Kestner by a point to rank second on the team with 16 points.

Both Kestner and McHugh turned in two-point games against the Lakers when the teams met in October. Kestner scored a goal and added an assist on Friday and McHugh netted two goals on Saturday.

Jordan Uhelski has been the Chargers' top performer in net this season, posting a 5-6-2 record and 2.63 goals against average. Uhelski's .909 save percentage this season leads UAH netminders and ranks seventh overall among WCHA goaltenders.

Against LSSU in October, Uhelski made 28 saves in a 5-2 loss during the series finale. The night before, the Flint native made six saves in relief of Matt Larose and held the Lakers scoreless during the third period of a 6-3 loss.

Last Time Out Against the Wildcats (Fri.: 1-1, T | Sat.: 1-1, T)

Last weekend the Lakers played to a pair of 1-1 ties with Northern Michigan in their second-consecutive weekend of home-and-home action against their Upper Peninsula rivals. The pair of ties required the Lakers relinquish control of the Cappo Cup rivalry series trophy to the Wildcats after splitting the season series 1-1-2 and the Wildcats holding a 10-9 total goals advantage.

On Friday the Lakers opened the scoring 5:02 into the game with a power-play goal by Max Humitz, assisted by Collin Saccoman and J.T. Henke. The Wildcats tied the game late in the first period and the teams skated through the rest of regulation and the five-on-five overtime scoreless. In the three-on-three overtime, Gage Torrel scored with nine seconds remaining to give the Lakers the extra point towards the WCHA standings.

On Saturday, Humitz scored another power-play goal, again assisted by Henke and Saccoman, late in the second period to tie the game at 1-1. The game remained tied throughout and went to a shootout, which the Wildcats won in the first round.

Gordon Defiel backstopped both games, saving 60-of-62 shots faced to finish with a .968 save percentage on the weekend, the nation's second-best mark among goaltenders to appear in both games for their teams last weekend.

With both of the Lakers' goals last weekend, Humitz tied for the league-lead in total goals and led the WCHA in power-play goals for the weekend.

Laker Log

  • With two assists on the weekend, following a five-point weekend Jan. 6-7, Henke now leads the Lakers in scoring with seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points.
  • Mitch Hults previously led the Lakers in scoring but has been held scoreless in four straight games against NMU.
  • With a pair of power-play goals on the weekend, Humitz leads the Lakers in goals (11) and power-play tallies (6).
  • Among WCHA freshmen, Humitz is tied for first with Minnesota State's Marc Michaelis in total goals, has the most power-play goals (4), and ranks tied for fourth in points (14).
  • Freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman continues to lead the nation with 71 blocked shots on the season and is averaging a nation's best 2.96 blocked shots per game.
  • Between Henke in third and Hults (6-16--22) tied for fourth, the Lakers have two forwards in the top-five of league scoring.
  • Diego Cuglietta is tied for sixth in total goals with 10 and ranks tied for 12th among WCHA players with 17 points.
  • 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 17 games, the Lakers are 3-11-3 and have been outscored 57-35.
  • During that stretch, 57 goals (3.35 GAA) allowed is the league's worst mark, while 35 goals-for (2.06 goals per game) ranks fifth. LSSU has also allowed a league-high six shorthanded goals during that stretch and the second-most power-play goals against.
  • The Lakers currently rank third in the WCHA with a 2.92 goals per game average.
  • Defensively, the Lakers have allowed 3.04 goals-against per game this season.
  • The Lakers rank sixth in the WCHA at 14.3 percent on the power play and rank fifth in penalty kill at 84.4 percent. 
  • With a combined 35 goals and 62 assists for 97 total points, the Lakers' sophomore is tied with Notre Dame's junior class for the third-most combined points by a single class.
  • Among freshmen classes, the Lakers freshman class is tied for 10th nationally with 24-33--57.
  • As a group, the Lakers' forwards lead the WCHA and rank tied for 12th nationally in combined points (150). Their 64 combined goals rank tied for 11th nationally.
  • At home this season, the Lakers are 6-3-1 overall.
  • When the Lakers score first, they are 5-2-1 this season.

Looking Ahead (at Minnesota State Jan. 27-28)

The Lakers mark their first two-game road series of the second half next weekend when they travel to Mankato, Minnesota to face Minnesota State. The Mavericks enter this weekend 14-8-2 overall and 10-6-2 in WCHA play, tying Bowling Green for third place in the conference standings.

MSU travels to Copper Country this weekend to face second-place Michigan Tech.

The Lakers and Mavericks met earlier this season, Nov. 4-5, inside Taffy Abel Arena. The Lakers claimed their first-ever home victory, 5-1 over the Mavericks and just their second win against the Mavericks all-time on Friday (Nov. 4). The Mavericks earned a split with a 2-1 victory on Saturday (Sat. 5).

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 for college students, $15 for single members, $25 for couples and $30 for 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.