SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University Hockey continues Western Collegiate Hockey Association play with a two-game series at No. 10 Bowling Green State University on Friday and Saturday in Bowling Green, Ohio. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. on Friday and 7:07 p.m. on Saturday at Slater Family Ice Arena.
Laker Hockey Watch Party:
Come watch the Lakers face Bowling Green on Friday at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Laker Hockey Watch Party at Buffalo Wild Wings, located at 4536 I-75 Business Spur, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The party will include giveaways and a free showing of the game.
Last Time on the Ice:
Lake Superior State (5-2-1, 2-1-1-0 WCHA) went 0-1-1 in WCHA play as the Lakers played host to Alaska on Friday and Saturday. The Lakers overcame a 3-0, third-period deficit on Friday to earn a 3-3 tie. However, Alaska earned the extra WCHA point by scoring during the 3-on-3 overtime period. On Saturday, LSSU went in front 3-0, but was unable to hold the lead as the Nanooks scored the final four goals of the game to hand the Lakers a 4-3 defeat.
LSSU has started the season with a 4-0 road record. The Lakers swept a two-game nonconference series at Merrimack College (5-4, 1-0) on Oct. 6-7, before sweeping a two-game WCHA series at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (4-3, 2-1) on Oct. 26-27.
Nellis' Hot Start:
Senior forward Anthony Nellis (6-5--11) continues to pace the Laker offense. He is tied for the WCHA lead in goals, while tied for fourth in points and tied for 19th in assists. Nellis has scored in six of the Lakers' eight games this season and is tied for the team lead with a +6 rating. In Lake State's 5-2 home win over then-No. 12-ranked Michigan on Nov. 2, Nellis tallied the game-winning assist, tied his career-high in assists (3) and recorded a career-best four points. Nellis' most recent goal came against Alaska on Saturday as he got the Lakers on the scoreboard during a power play in the second period.
Freshman defenseman Jacob Nordqvist (2-6--8) has made an immediate impact on the ice this season. He is second on the team, and leads all blue liners, in points. He is also tied for the team lead in power-play assists and game-winning goals. Nordqvist enters the weekend second among WCHA freshmen in points, while ranking tied for second in assists. In addition, he leads all WCHA freshman blue liners in goals. Nordqvist continued his strong play in the series with Alaska – scoring on Friday and tallying an assist on Saturday.
Lake Superior State enters the weekend leading the WCHA with a .544 faceoff percentage. The Lakers have 274 faceoff wins compared to 230 faceoff losses. Senior forward Diego Cuglietta (4-2--6) is leading the WCHA and tied for fifth in the nation in faceoff wins (116). Cuglietta is winning faceoffs at a team-best .580 clip in 2018-19.
The Laker power-play unit has a .229 (8-of-35) conversion rate in 2018-19. All of Lake Superior State's goals in Saturday's game with Alaska came on the power play as the Lakers converted on 3-of-7 opportunities (.429). Cuglietta, Nellis and junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (4-1--5) each scored power-play goals on Saturday. Cuglietta leads the team with three power-play goals in 2018-19.
Between the Pipes:
Senior Nick Kossoff (3-0-1) and sophomore Mareks Mitens (2-2-0) have each made four starts in goal this season. Kossoff has garnered a .891 save percentage and 2.94 goals against average, while Mitens has tallied a .912 save percentage and a 2.52 goals against average.
Scouting Bowling Green:
No. 10 Bowling Green (7-2-2, 2-1-1-1 WCHA) enters the series with Lake Superior State having picked up five conference points in a two-game series at Alaska Anchorage last weekend. The Falcons and Seawolves played to a scoreless tie on Friday with the Falcons scoring during 3-on-3 overtime to earn the second point. On Saturday, the Falcons picked up a 3-0 win.
Sophomore forwards Max Johnson (6-7--13) and Brandon Kruse (3-10--13) are part of a three-way tie for the most points in the WCHA this season. Johnson, sophomore forward Connor Ford (6-6--11) and junior forward Lukas Craggs (6-2--8) are tied with Nellis for the most goals in the WCHA. Kruse is the WCHA leader in assists.
In goal, junior Ryan Bednard (7-1-1) enters the series leading the WCHA in wins and shutouts (2), while ranking fourth in save percentage (.943) and goals against average (1.33).
Facing Bowling Green:
Last season, the Lakers played to a 0-3-1 record against the Falcons, including a 0-1-1 record at Slater Family Ice Arena.
Head Coach Damon Whitten's Series Preview:
This weekend's games are being streamed on FloHockey.TV and can be viewed here.
The Lakers return home for a two-game WCHA series with Northern Michigan on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. at Taffy Abel arena. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or at lssulakers.com/tickets. For additional ticket information, call (906) 635-2602.
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