|Date|| Feb. 17-18, 2017 (Carlson Center)
|Time|| 11:07 p.m. ET, Friday and Saturday
|Windows | TuneIn Radio | WCHA.tv|
|Live Stats|| College Hockey Stats
|LSSU Record||11-14-5, 8-11-5 WCHA|
9-18-3, 8-13-3 WCHA
Coming Up This Weekend
Lake Superiors State makes its final and longest road trip of the 2016-17 Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season this weekend as they face Alaska in a two-game series on Friday and Saturday.
Both games are slated for an 11:07 p.m. ET puck drop and a simulcast feed of the live game action from KCBF 820 AM in Fairbanks will air live on 99.5 YES FM. A live video stream of the games is also available via http://WCHA.tv.
The series marks the second meeting between the Lakers (11-14-5, 8-11-5 WCHA) and Nanooks this season. The Nanooks (9-18-3, 8-13-3 WCHA) previously traveled to Taffy Abel Arena in October as part of the annual LSSU Pink in the Rink weekend, securing a split with a victory in the series finale.
The Series vs. Alaska
Overall: LSSU leads, 34-21-6... In Fairbanks: UAF leads, 12-9-5… In the Sault: LSSU leads, 25-9-1
Last meeting: Oct. 28-29, 2016, LSSU won 3-2 Friday / UAF won 4-3 (OT) Saturday
Streak: UAF leads, 1-0-0 Last 5: LSSU leads, 3-2-0 Last 10: Tied, 5-5-0
Last season the Lakers traveled to Fairbanks for the only meeting between the teams and pulled off their first road sweep over the Nanooks since 1996. The first meeting between the programs dates back to Oct. 10, 1986, and was played in Sault Ste. Marie. The Nanooks won the first matchup 8-6, but LSSU responded with an 8-1 victory the next night for the series split.
In 1995, the Nanooks joined the Lakers in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and the teams have been conference foes ever since, eventually moving to the WCHA in 2013-14. During their time in the CCHA, the Lakers enjoyed a 27-14-6 advantage over Alaska.
Since both teams joined the WCHA in 2013-14, the series is tied at 5-5-0.
Scouting the Nanooks
The Nanooks enjoyed a successful start to the season's second half, picking up five WCHA points at Ferris State with a goal in the three-on-three overtime and an overtime victory before splitting consecutive series with Bowling Green and Alabama-Huntsville. Last weekend, however, UAF made their second trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula this season and suffered a sweep at the hands of Northern Michigan.
Still, the Nanooks are tied for the eighth spot in the WCHA standings, trailing LSSU and NMU by a single point and trailing fifth-place Ferris State by two points.
Senior Marcus Basara and sophomore Chad Staley lead the way for the Nanooks, both racking up team highs of eight goals and 18 points this season. Junior defenseman Zach Frye is the only Alaska player with more assists (13) than Basara and Staley and ranks third on the team in scoring with 17 points this season. All three players tallied a goal when the Nanooks split with the Lakers in October.
During the first series between the teams, Basara tallied an assist in the series opener before scoring two goals, including the overtime game-winner, in the series finale. Staley scored a goal in the opener and added an assist in the series finale and Frye logged a goal in the Saturday victory over LSSU.
Goaltending has been inconsistent for the Nanooks this season but has begun to turn around this season with senior Davis Jones playing every game dating back to their road series at Ferris State. Since then, Davis has produced a 3-4-1 record ranking second among WCHA netminders with both a .937 save percentage, and a 1.97 goals-against average during that stretch.
Sophomore Jesse Jenks played both games when the Lakers and Nanooks met in October, producing 62 saves on 68 shots and allowing three goals in both games. Jenks leads the team in wins with a 5-9-1 record but has compiled an .890 save percentage and 3.35 goals-against mark this season.
At home this season, the Nanooks have posted a 4-10-0 record overall and 2.07 goals per game average. Defensively, Alaska has allowed 3.29 goals against at home this season.
Overall, the Nanooks rank ninth in both scoring at 2.17 goals per game and scoring defense, allowing 3.23 goals against. The Nanooks are guilty of 17.4 penalty minutes per game, the most by a team in the WCHA this season, and rank seventh with an 83.2 percent penalty kill.
Last Time Out Against the Seawolves (Fri.: 3-2, L | Sat.: 4-4, TOT )
The Lakers struggled to defend home ice last weekend, surrendering four of a possible six WCHA points to visiting Alaska Anchorage. The Seawolves opened the series with a 3-2 upset victory over the Lakers before scoring a pair of goals in Saturday's third period to twice tie the game and force overtime. The sides skated to a 4-4 tie following the five-minute NCAA-mandated five-on-five overtime period before junior defenseman Kyle Chatham scored in the three-on-three overtime period to give the Lakers two points in the WCHA standings.
Sophomore Anthony Nellis led the Lakers with both goals for LSSU in Friday's loss and added an assist on Saturday. Nellis's linemate, freshman Luke Morgan, also racked up a multi-point weekend with an assist Friday and extended his point-scoring streak to six consecutive games with a power-play goal on Saturday.
Team-leading scorer Mitch Hults added two assists on Saturday and also assisted on Chatham's goal in the three-on-three overtime, however, the goal by Chatham and assist from Hults do not register into official season stats.
The two-point weekend pushed the Lakers ahead of the Nanooks by a single point in the WCHA standings but allowed Northern Michigan to tie the Lakers with a home sweep over Alaska.
- Hults continues to lead the Lakers with nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points in 30 games this season. Hults registered a pair of assists in Saturday's game and also assisted on Chatham's unofficial goal in the three-on-three portion.
- The native of Stoughton, Wis., ranks second in points and assists among WCHA players.
- Junior J.T. Henke ranks second on the team in scoring with nine goals and 27 points in 30 games, ranking fifth among WCHA players in points and third in assists.
- Hults and Henke are tied for the program's career points lead (49) among active players. Henke is tied with sophomore Gage Torrel with 19 career goals, the most by any current player.
- Hults has 31 career assists to lead all active LSSU players.
- A trio of forwards reached the 20-point plateau last weekend, led by Nellis with two goals and an assist against the Seawolves.
- Nellis logged both LSSU goals on Friday and picked up his 21st point of the season with an assist on Saturday to rank third on the team in scoring.
- Morgan assisted on a goal on Friday and scored his sixth goal and 20th point of the season on Saturday.
- Morgan has registered a point in six-straight games with two goals and six assists in that stretch.
- Morgan is tied with Minnesota State's Ian Scheid for second among WCHA freshmen in total points.
- Also picking up his 20th point of the season on Saturday, sophomore forward Diego Cuglietta scored his 11th goal of the season tying Gage Torrel (11-7--18) for second on the team in goals.
- Overall Cuglietta and Torrel are tied for ninth in total goals among WCHA players.
- Freshman forward Max Humitz, who has registered at least one point in all-but-four weekend series this season, continues to lead the Lakers with 12 goals.
- Over the last 11 games for the Lakers, dating back to a 5-3 loss at Omaha (Dec. 31), Humitz has six goals and five assists.
- Humitz is tied for fourth among WCHA freshmen in points and is tied for the league-lead in goals by a rookie.
- The LSSU freshman class is tied with Minnesota State's rookie group to lead the WCHA in combined points by rookie classes with 28 goals and 78 points. Among all NCAA rookie classes, the Lakers and Mavericks rookies rank tied for eighth.
- The sophomore group is tied with North Dakota's sophomore class for the most combined points by all second-year classes and tied for third in combined points by any class.
- Junior goaltender Gordon Defiel ranks fifth among WCHA goaltenders with a .913 save percentage this season while boasting a 2.61 goals-against to lead the Lakers in net.
- With two blocked shots last weekend, freshman Collin Saccoman continues to lead the nation with 80 blocked shots this season.
- With 13 points (3g-10a) on the season, Saccoman ranks tied for sixth among WCHA freshmen defensemen in points and tied for 18th nationally, while also leading all active LSSU defensemen in scoring.
- Fellow freshman blueliner, Kris Bindulis ranks eighth in WCHA rookie defensemen scoring with 1-9--10.
- Chatham (1-7--8) leads the Lakers and ranks tied for seventh among WCHA players and fourth among WCHA defensemen with a +9 rating. Chatham is also tied for 18th in the WCHA with 44 blocked shots and has committed just four minor penalties all year.
Looking Ahead (vs. Ferris State, Feb. 24-25)
The Lakers conclude the WCHA regular season next weekend at home against Ferris State. The Lakers will honor senior captain Gus Correale and Defiel, a junior playing out his final year of eligibility with a special senior night ceremony.
The Bulldogs swept LSSU in Big Rapids when the teams met in November.
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.