SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – No. 20 Lake Superior State hockey returns home for a two-game WCHA series with Northern Michigan at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena.
The series with the Wildcats is the first installment of this year's Cappo Cup, which is awarded annually to the winner of the season series between Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State. Last season, Northern Michigan claimed the Cappo Cup after winning three of four games in the series. The Cappo Cup, first awarded by the late Monsignor Louis Cappo in 1991, has been awarded to the team that claims the season series every year since the 1994-95 season.
Last Time on the Ice
Lake Superior State (6-3-1, 3-2-1-0 WCHA) split a two-game WCHA series at then-No. 10 Bowling Green last weekend. The Lakers defeated the Falcons 5-0 on Friday night with five different players scoring a goal. In net, senior Nick Kossoff (4-0-1) stopped all 30 shots he faced – improving his season save percentage to .914. The shutout is the first of the season for Kossoff. On Saturday, the Lakers and Falcons were tied 2-2 at the second intermission, but the Falcons scored three third-period goals, including an empty-net goal, to hand the Lakers a 5-2 defeat.
Twelve different Lakers have scored a goal in 2018-19, including eight players with at least two goals. Senior left winger Anthony Nellis (7-6--13) leads the team in goals, while senior center Diego Cuglietta (5-3--8) and junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (5-2--7) – the leading goal scorer among WCHA defensemen – are tied for second.
In the Plus
Twelve different Lakers have a +1 or better plus/minus rating this season. Senior right winger Gage Torrel (0-9--9) leads the Lakers with a +7 rating, while freshman defenseman Jacob Nordqvist (2-7--9) is second with a +6 rating. Sophomore center Hampus Eriksson (1-4--5) and Nellis are tied for third at +5.
May I Assist?
Torrel (0-9--9) leads the Lakers and is tied for third in the WCHA in assists. Nordqvist (2-7--9) and sophomore defenseman Lukas Kaelble (1-7--8) are tied for the second most helpers on the team.
WCHA Co-Rookie of the Week
Freshman right winger Ashton Calder (1-0--1) earned WCHA Co-Rookie of the Week honors after tallying one goal and one assist for two points in the series at then-No. 10 Bowling Green. In Friday's 5-0 win, Calder scored the game-winning goal for his first collegiate goal and point. On Saturday, Calder assisted on the Lakers' first goal of the game, which tied the score at 1-1.
Cuglietta (5-3--8) enters the weekend leading the WCHA and third in the nation in faceoff wins (142). Cuglietta is winning faceoffs at a team-best .592 clip in 2018-19. As a team, the Lakers lead the WCHA and rank 11th in the nation with a .535 faceoff win percentage.
In the Polls
The Lakers are ranked No. 20 in the latest USCHO.com Men's Top 20 Poll. It is the first time the Lakers have been ranked since Nov. 7, 2016 when they were also ranked 20th.
Lake State is 5-1-0 (.833) in road games this season. The Lakers have the second-most road wins in the nation and the second-best winning percentage among teams that have played at least three road games.
After going 0-6-2 against ranked teams in 2017-18, LSSU is off to a 2-2-0 start this season against ranked opponents. The Lakers have wins over two top-15 opponents this season: Michigan (then-No. 12) and Bowling Green (then-No. 10) on Nov. 2 and Nov. 16, respectively.
Scouting Northern Michigan
Northern Michigan (5-7-0, 4-2-0-0 WCHA) comes into the series with the Lakers having swept Alaska Anchorage in a two-game WCHA home series last weekend. The Wildcats defeated the Seawolves 3-0 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday.
The Wildcats are averaging 1.83 goals per game and 23.7 shots on goal per game. Senior forward Troy Loggins (4-5--9) is tied with junior defenseman Philip Beaulieu (1-8--9) for the team lead in points. Junior forward Darien Craighead (5-2--7) is the team leader in goals.
In goal, senior Atte Tolvanen (5-7-0) enters the week tied for the most shutouts in the nation this season (3). Tolvanen has a 2.25 goals against average and .917 save percentage in 2018-19.
Last season, the Lakers dropped three out of four games with the Wildcats, including a pair of 3-2 losses at Taffy Abel 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 face No. 3 Minnesota State on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. at Taffy Abel arena. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or online. For additional ticket information, call (906) 635-2602.
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