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Laker Hockey returns home this week to host Alaska-Anchorage

Lake Superior State vs. Alaska-Anchorage
 Date  Feb. 10-11, 2017 (Taffy Abel Arena)
 Time  Friday- 7:37 p.m.  | Saturday- 7:07 p.m.
 Tickets  LSSU Online Tickets | (906) 635-2602


 Windows | TuneIn
 Live Stats  College Hockey Stats
 Twitter  @HockeyLSSU
 LSSU Record  11-13-4, 8-10-4 WCHA
 UAA Record

 6-17-5, 5-12-5 WCHA

Coming Up This Weekend

Laker Superior State returns home this weekend for a pair of Western Collegiate Hockey Association games against Alaska-Anchorage. The weekend marks the first time the Lakers have played a home series at Taffy Abel Arena since a Jan. 20-21 sweep over WCHA opponents Alabama-Huntsville.

The Lakers (11-13-4, 8-10-4 WCHA) open the series at 7:37 p.m. on Friday night as the team will pay tribute to the White Ribbon Campaign against domestic violence with the annual white-out game. Specialty LSSU White Ribbon t-shirts will be distributed to the first 1,000 fans to arrive and fans are encouraged to pack the arena in white to support the campaign against domestic violence.

The series concludes at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday, featuring a special Laker Club and Loft Holder Appreciation Night on the rink's second level.

Saturday's series finale will also feature a special game show style fundraiser to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. The Make-A-Wish Chocolate Punch-A-Bunch will invite fans to punch out slots on a game board for a chance to win gift cards and prizes from local sponsors. Tickets are $5 per turn, everyone is a winner, and all proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Fans seeking to avoid long ticket window lines, can purchase hockey tickets at the Norris Center Guest Services kiosk during regular business hours or order online at

The Series vs. Alaska-Anchorage

Overall: LSSU leads, 9-5-0... At Home: LSSU leads, 4-2-0… In Anchorage: Tied, 3-3-0

Last meeting: Feb. 19-20, 2016, LSSU won 3-2 Friday / UAA won 5-2 Saturday

Streak: UAA leads, 1-0-0           Last 5: LSSU leads, 3-2-0          Last 10: Tied, 5-5-0

This weekend's series marks the only meeting between the Lakers and Seawolves (6-17-5, 5-12-5 WCHA) during the 2016-17 regular season. Since LSSU joined UAA in the WCHA in 2013-14, the teams have each claimed five wins in the 10 conference meetings.

Prior to their conference allegiance, the teams met just four times, three times in NCAA playoff meetings and once in the 1985 Syracuse Invitational, the first meeting between the teams. The Lakers claimed the first meeting in Syracuse and the subsequent three NCAA Playoff meetings. All time, LSSU holds a 9-5-0 advantage in the series.

LSSU also holds a 4-2-0 series advantage in home games against the Seawolves, however, since joining the WCHA, the Lakers have gone 2-2-0 against UAA in Taffy Abel Arena.

The teams met twice during the second half of last season and played to a split in both meetings with the Lakers claiming both Friday night matchups and the Seawolves saving the split during both Saturday meetings.

Scouting the Seawolves

Last weekend the Seawolves turned heads with a series-opening 4-3 victory over Minnesota State at home before falling 5-0 in the series finale, their third loss in four games.

Following a disappointing 2-11-2 start to the season, the Seawolves have earned a split in five of their past seven conference series and have a 5-6-3 record in their last 14 games dating back to the beginning of December. Although it hasn't been enough to exit the bottom of the league standings, it has brought the Seawolves to within five points of eighth place Alabama-Huntsville with six games remaining.

Only three players, junior forwards Matt Anholt and Tad Kozun, along with junior defenseman Jarrett Brown, have reached double-digits in points this season for UAA. Anholt leads the way with five goals and 16 points, while Kozun also has five goals and 14 points and Brown leads the Seawolves defensive corps with 3-8--11.

Sophomore Mason Mitchell leads the team with seven goals this season.

Junior goaltender Olivier Mantha has been dependable this season with a .911 save percentage and 2.83 goals-against average while collecting all six of the team's wins in net. Senior Rasmus Reijola has spelled Mantha in five games this season, including a pair of ties at Michigan Tech, and boasts a .908 save percentage as the team's backup netminder.

The Seawolves feature the nation's lowest-scoring offense at 1.68 goals per game and rank eighth in the WCHA with a 3.04 goals-against average defensively. UAA is also the second-most penalized team in the WCHA on average, collecting 16.7 penalty minutes per game. The penalty kill has been fair with an 84.2 percent success rate. Meanwhile, the Seawolves' power play has clicked at a nation's worst 8.1 percent this season with 12 power-play goals in 148 opportunities.

Last Time Out Against the Mavericks (Fri.: 4-2, L | Sat.: 2-2, T)

The Lakers and Seawolves enter the week with at least one thing in common, their most recent opponent. Prior to last weekend's bye, the Lakers traveled to Mankato Jan. 27-28, falling 4-2 on Friday and tying 2-2 Saturday while failing to claim the extra league point in three-on-three overtime.

Junior goaltender Gordon Defiel was stellar during the first and second periods of both games against the Mavericks, surrendering just two goals on 46 shots in the first 40 minutes of each game, but surrendered four goals on 19 saves in the third periods. Despite the pair of final period struggles, Defiel turned in a solid performance in his native Minnesota with 61 saves on 67 shots from the league's top-scoring offense.

Freshman Luke Morgan scored a goal and tallied an assist and linemate Anthony Nellis also tallied two assists to lead the Lakers with the only multi-point performances on the weekend.

Laker Log

  • LSSU enters the week tied with Ferris State, also idle last weekend, for sixth place and one point behind fifth-place Alaska in the WCHA standings.
  • Last time out, the Lakers fell 4-2 and tied 2-2 at Minnesota State on Jan. 27-28.
  • The Mavericks claimed the extra WCHA point with a three-on-three overtime goal in the 2-2 tie on Saturday.
  • The Lakers enjoyed a successful stretch to open the 2017 portion of the season, starting 3-1-2 in the month of January before ending the month with a loss and tie at MSU.
  • Freshman Max Humitz, the team's leading goal scorer with 12, also enjoyed a remarkable month of January, with five goals and four assists for nine points, tying Ferris State senior Gerald Mayhew for second overall among WCHA players. Humitz also led the WCHA with four power-play goals during the month and paces the league with seven power-play tallies on the season.
  • For his efforts last month, Humitz earned the WCHA Rookie of the Month honor, his first monthly WCHA award.
  • Sophomore forward Mitch Hults continues to lead the Lakers with nine goals and 18 assists for 27 points in 28 games this season.
  • Junior J.T. Henke ranks second on the team with 9-17--26.
  • Henke also etched out a terrific month of January, accumulating a league-leading 10 points in eight games. His seven assists in January were also the league's top mark.
  • Also in the league's top scorers for January, Nellis tied for fourth with 2-6--8 and Morgan had 1-6--7 to tie for seventh.
  • Morgan enters this week riding a four-game point streak.
  • Among WCHA rookies, Humitz and Morgan are tied for third in scoring with 18 points this season.
  • Humitz is tied with Minnesota State's Marc Michaelis to lead all rookies with 12 goals and ranks tied for fifth in the conference overall goal total, while Morgan's 13 assists rank tied for fourth among WCHA freshmen.
  • Nationally, Humitz's 12 goals are tied for fourth among freshmen.
  • Despite the weekend off, freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman continues to lead the nation with 79 blocked shots this season, 10 more that Mark Hamilton of Maine and Jimmy Schuldt of St. Cloud State tied for second.
  • Defiel has a steady .916 save percentage and respectable 2.55 goals-against average this season, leading the Lakers between the pipes.
  • Junior defenseman Kyle Chatham (1-7--8) leads the Lakers and ranks tied for sixth among WCHA players with a +10 rating, tied for 16th with 44 blocked shots and has committed just three minor penalties all year.
  • During four games against the Seawolves last season, Hults and Henke tied for the LSSU lead with each totaling two goals and one assist. Also leading the Lakers in their four meeting with UAA last season, Diego Cuglietta scored a game-winning goal and added an assist, while Josh Nenadal scored a pair of goals, and Gus Correale registered two assists.

Looking Ahead (vs. Alaska Feb. 17-18)

Next weekend the Lakers make their final road trip of the regular season. Incidentally, the trip is also their longest of the season, a 3,500-mile trek to the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Both teams will be arriving in Alaska that week via Michigan's Upper Peninsula, as the Nanooks are set to travel to Northern Michigan this weekend.

Next weekend's series will prove pivotal in the playoff standings as the teams enter this week separated by a single point.

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.