|Date|| Jan. 27-28, 2017 (Verizon Wireless Center)
|Time|| 8:07 p.m. ET, Friday and Saturday
|Tickets|| Ticketmaster | 507-389-2019
|Windows | TuneIn Radio | WCHA.tv|
|Live Stats|| College Hockey Stats
|LSSU Record||11-12-3, 8-9-3 WCHA|
14-9-3, 10-7-3 WCHA
Coming Up This Weekend
Lake Superior State travels to the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, Minnesota, this Friday and Saturday to face Minnesota State in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play.
The Lakers (11-12-3, 8-9-3 WCHA) enter the weekend in fifth place of the league standings after picking up a valuable six points in last weekend's series sweep over Alabama-Huntsville. The pair of victories saw the Lakers pass Alaska, Ferris State and the Chargers after opening the week in eighth place.
Entering the week, the Lakers lead the Nanooks by one point and the Bulldogs by two points.
The Mavericks (14-9-3, 10-7-3 WCHA) enter the weekend in fourth place of the WCHA standings, six points ahead of the Lakers and trailing third place Bowling Green by a single point. MSU picked up two-point weekend last week at Michigan Tech, tying the Huskies 4-4 and winning in the shootout on Friday, before losing 4-0 on Saturday.
LSSU will open the series against MSU without two of their top forwards as sophomore Diego Cuglietta and senior captain Gus Correale were handed disqualification penalties for fighting after the final whistle in Saturday's series-sweeping victory over UAH. Cuglietta and Correale will each serve one-game suspensions on Friday night and can return to action in Saturday's series finale. Three Chargers players also received fighting penalties and are banned for their next contest at home against Michigan Tech this weekend.
The Series vs. Minnesota State
Overall: MSU leads, 13-2-0... In Mankato: MSU leads, 8-1-0… In SSM: MSU leads, 5-1-0…
Last meeting: Nov. 4-5, 2016, LSSU won 5-1 Friday / MSU won 2-1 Saturday
Streak: MSU 1-0-0 | Last 5: MSU leads 3-2-0 | Last 10: MSU leads 8-2-0
This weekend's series presents a matchup of the two highest-scoring offenses in the WCHA. MSU opens the week with a 3.08 goals per game average while the Lakers are clicking for 3.04 goals per game.
The teams previously met Nov. 4-5 and split the weekend series at Taffy Abel Arena. The opening game was won by the Lakers in convincing fashion, 5-1. For the Lakers it was their first victory over MSU at home and first regular season victory over the Mavericks.
In the series finale, the Mavericks scored a power-play and shorthanded goal in picking up a 2-1 victory. MSU goaltender Jason Pawloski made 19 saves on 20 shots to keep the Lakers at bay.
The series between the teams only dates back to the 2013-14 season when the Lakers joined the Mavericks in the WCHA after the disbanding of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The Mavericks dominated by opening the series with 11-straight victories over the Lakers, however, the teams are 2-2-0 in their last four meetings.
The first victory for the Lakers in the series came last year during the WCHA Quarterfinals round. LSSU claimed a 2-0 victory in Game 2 of the best-of-three series on the shoulders of Gordon Defiel's 57-save shutout. A career-high for Defiel, his 57 saves also set a WCHA record for most saves during regulation time of a playoff game and was the second-most by a Lakers netminder in a single game.
Scouting the Mavericks
The Mavericks, like the Lakers, have had a good start to the month of January, producing a 3-2-1 record, with their only losses coming to third-place Bowling Green and a loss last weekend at second-place Michigan Tech.
Four players have reached the 20-point plateau already this season, led by freshman standout Marc Michaelis with 11 goals and 19 assists to lead the WCHA as the first player to reach 30 points this season. Following Michaelis, Brad McClure (11-12--23) and C.J. Franklin (10-13--23) are tied for fifth among WCHA players and defenseman Daniel Brickley (5-15--20) is the league's top scoring defenseman while tying for ninth in overall scoring.
In net, the Mavericks have relied on three goaltenders this season, getting mixed results. Senior Cole Huggins has appeared in 14 games this season and as a less-than-stellar .899 save percentage this season and a 2.41 goals-against average to go with a 7-4-0 record. Pawloski, a sophomore, has a 4-3-2 mark this season and boasts a .909 save percentage and a 2.49 goals-against average.
Neither Huggins nor Pawloski has appeared in a game since the team split at Princeton (Dec. 16-17) and the pair surrendered 10 goals between the two games. Since the beginning of January, the Mavericks have relied exclusively on junior Aaron Nelson. Nelson has made all six starts in January and has led the team to a 3-2-1 record with a .911 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average.
Last Time Out Against the Chargers (Fri.: 5-4, W | Sat.: 4-1, W)
Led by two goals from junior J.T. Henke and sophomore Mitch Hults, who netted the game-winner with 6:50 remaining in regulation, the Lakers opened last weekend's series with a 5-4 win on Friday. Freshman Luke Morgan also posted a multi-point game, the second of his rookie campaign, with a pair of assists on Friday.
Defiel made 29 saves in Friday's victory to pick up his 10th win of the season, a single-season career-high mark for the junior goaltender.
On Saturday, Defiel came close to picking up his first shutout of the season but allowed a Chargers goal early in the second period to tie the game 1-1. After the lone blemish midway through the game, Defiel returned to form and finished with 33 saves for the 4-1 victory.
Once again Morgan logged two assists for his third multi-point game this season, while Hults also tallied two assists for his eighth multi-point game. Freshmen Max Humitz and Collin Saccoman each added a goal and an assist, while sophomore forward Gage Torrel snapped a seven-game scoreless streak with his ninth goal of the season with a power play game-winner. Junior defenseman James Roll, appearing in just his fourth game of the season scored his first goal of the season for his 20th career point as a Laker.
For his efforts on the weekend, Luke Morgan was honored as the WCHA Rookie of the Week for the second time this season. It also marked the second-straight week an LSSU freshman received the honor after Humitz earned Co-Rookie of the Week status the previous week. Morgan led all WCHA freshmen with four points and tied for second overall among WCHA players.
- Hults leads the Lakers and ranks third among WCHA players with 26 points this season on eight goals and 18 assists.
- Henke is right behind Hults, fourth in league scoring with nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points.
- Henke has been one of the Lakers top performers in their last 10 games (3-4-3), racking up five goals and seven assists for 12 points and a +4 rating.
- With a goal and two assists last weekend, Humitz ranks second among WCHA rookies with 12-5--17. His 12 goals are tops among WCHA freshmen and rank third among all NCAA rookies.
- Since the beginning of January, the Lakers have gone 3-1-2 in WCHA play, picking up 12 league points in the last three weekends. Their .667 winning percentage is tied with Northern Michigan's for the best mark in the league this month, as the Lakers, Wildcats and fellow Upper Peninsula school, Michigan Tech, have each suffered just one loss in January.
- Leading the league in January scoring, Henke has three goals and six assists for a league-high nine points this month.
- Right behind Henke and tied for second with NMU's Dominik Shine in league scoring during January, Humitz has produced 5-3--8.
- Humitz is the nation's leader among freshmen with five goals in six games to start 2017 and his eight points are also the top mark among league rookies.
- Morgan is tied for third among WCHA freshmen with 16 points this season and has a +6 rating on the year.
- Junior goaltender Defiel backstopped the Lakers in the sweep last weekend, making a league-high 63saves on 68 shots for a .926 save percentage.
- Defiel currently sits in fourth among WCHA goaltenders with a .917 save percentage while his 11 wins are the third-most among league netminders.
- Saccoman continues to lead the nation with 75 blocked shots on the season and is averaging 2.88 blocked shots per game.
- As a team, the Lakers rank second nationally behind Michigan Tech with 405 blocked shots, averaging 15.58 blocked shots per game.
- Four LSSU players rank in the top-10 among WCHA players for goals scored this season: Humitz ranks fourth with 12 goals, Cuglietta is tied for seventh with 10 goals and Henke is tied with Torrel and five others for ninth place with nine goals.
- With nine goals last weekend, the Lakers now rank second in the WCHA with a 3.04 goals per game average.
- Defensively, the Lakers have allowed 3.00 goals-against per game this season.
- The Lakers rank sixth in the WCHA at 14.4 percent on the power play and rank tied for third in penalty kill at 84.6 percent.
- With a combined 38 goals and 67 assists for 105 total points, the Lakers' sophomore class trails only North Dakota's (43-64--107) sophomore class for the most combined points by a single class.
- Among freshmen classes, the Lakers freshman class is tied for seventh nationally with 26-41--67.
- As a group, the Lakers' forwards lead the WCHA and ranks 10th nationally in combined points (71-96--167). Their 71 combined goals rank tied for 8th nationally.
Looking Ahead (vs. Alaska -Anchorage Feb. 10-11)
Following the series with the Mavericks, the Lakers return home with a welcomed bye week before entering the final month of the regular season at home against Alaska Anchorage.
The Seawolves currently sit tied with Northern Michigan for ninth place in the WCHA standings. After opening January with a win and tie at home against Ferris State, UAA tied two games at Michigan Tech before suffering a sweep at NMU last weekend.
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, however, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.