SAULT STE MARIE, Mich. – No. 19 Lake Superior State hockey continues Western Collegiate Hockey Association play with a two-game home series against Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena.
Both games between Lake Superior State (16-8-2, 11-7-2-0 WCHA) and Michigan Tech (12-14-4, 11-8-3-1 WCHA) are slated for 7 p.m. EST.
Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or online. For additional ticket information, call (906) 635-2602.
The radio broadcast will be on 99.5 Yes FM and the series will be streamed on FloHockey.TV.
Last Time on the Ice
Lake Superior State swept a two-game WCHA series at Ferris State on Feb. 1-2 in Big Rapids, Michigan. The Lakers won the first game 6-3 and the second game 4-2.
The 11th annual Check.Slash.Survive game will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16 when the Lakers face off against the Huskies at 7 p.m. Check.Slash.Survive, the revamped "Pink in the Rink" fundraiser, focuses on raising funds for local organizations that help battle all types of cancer. For this year's Check.Slash.Survive game, the Check.Slash.Survive committee voted to place an emphasis on drawing awareness to childhood cancer.
After a bye week, Lake Superior State enters the weekend in fourth place in the WCHA with 41 points. Northern Michigan and Bowling Green are tied for second with 43 points each, while Bemidji State is in fifth place with 39 points. Michigan Tech enters the series in sixth place with 37 points. The top team in the conference is Minnesota State with 59 points.
Lake Superior State is ranked No. 19 in the most recent USCHO Poll. Minnesota State (No. 5) and Bowling Green (No. 16) are the other WCHA teams ranked in the USCHO Poll.
Keeping Up With the Hobey Baker Award Nominees
Nellis and Cuglietta each had five-point weekends in the series sweep of Ferris State on Feb. 1-2. Nellis tallied three goals and two assists in the series to earn WCHA Forward of the Week honors. Cuglietta, who enters the weekend tied for the second-most goals scored in the nation, tallied one goal and four assists against the Bulldogs.
Fan voting for the 2019 Hobey Baker Award is ongoing. Fans are allowed to cast a vote for one player each day by going to https://www.hobeybaker.com/vote.
WCHA Rookie of the Month
Freshman winger Ashton Calder (3-12--15) earned WCHA Rookie of the Month honors for the month of January. Calder, a freshman forward from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan who is majoring in finance and economics, led all WCHA freshman with a +9 rating and tied for first in NCAA Division I in that category. He tied for first among WCHA freshmen in assists with six throughout the month of January and tied for second in points, also with six. He helped lead Lake Superior State to a 5-2-1 record throughout the month, assisting on the game-winning goal in the Lakers' 5-2 win over Bemidji State on Jan. 25. Calder also recorded a three-game point streak with assists on Jan. 4 and 5 against Alaska Anchorage and Jan. 11 against Alabama Huntsville. He notched an assist in six of the Lakers' eight games throughout the month and did not have a minus rating at any point in January. In addition, Calder blocked three shots and tallied 10 shots on goal.
This is the first WCHA monthly award of Calder's career. He was named WCHA Co-Rookie of the Week on Nov. 19. This award is the Lakers' fourth WCHA monthly award this season.
In the Plus
Seventeen Lakers have a +1 or better plus-minus rating this season. Senior center Diego Cuglietta (18-13--31) is the team leader at +17. Junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (9-10--19) is second with a +16 rating. Freshman defenseman Jacob Nordqvist (3-12--15) is third at +14.
Sophomore defenseman Lukas Kaelble (1-20--21) leads the Lakers in assists and is tied for fourth in the WCHA.
The Magic Man
Junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (9-10--19) is in a three-way tie for the fifth-most goals scored by a defenseman in NCAA Division I Men's Hockey, while ranking fourth in the nation among all skaters in blocked shots (71). His goal total leads WCHA blueliners, and he is second among all WCHA players in blocked shots. Saccoman enters the week with the most goals scored of any NCAA player with at least 62 blocked shots.
Nineteen different Lakers have scored a goal this season, including 15 who have scored multiple goals. Senior center Diego Cuglietta (18-13--31) leads the WCHA and is tied for second in the nation in goals scored. Cuglietta is followed in goals scored by senior winger Anthony Nellis (14-15--29) and junior forward Max Humitz (12-15--27). Junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (9-10--19) – the leading goal scorer among WCHA defensemen – is fourth on the team in goals scored.
Head Coach Damon Whitten's Preview
Facing the Huskies
Earlier this season, the Lakers defeated the Huskies 6-3 in the Great Lakes Invitational Championship Game on New Year's Eve in Detroit.
Michigan Tech (12-14-4, 11-8-3-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) enters the weekend having gone 0-1-1 against No. 5 Minnesota State last weekend. On Friday, the two teams tied 1-1, but Minnesota State claimed the extra WCHA point with a shootout win. On Saturday, the Huskies fell 3-2.
Freshman forward Brian Halnonen (9-7--16) is the Huskies' team leader in goals scored, while sophomore defenseman Seamus Donohue (1-16--17) leads the team in assists and senior forward Jake Lucchini (7-15--22) paces the team in points.
Following this weekend, the Lakers go on the road to face Northern Michigan on Feb. 22-23 in Marquette, Michigan.