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Lakers Set for Great Lakes Invitational

Steven Ruggiero pregame

Media Notes

SAULT STE. MARIE Mich. – For the fourth time in program history, Lake Superior State hockey is set to compete in the Great Lakes Invitational.

Lake Superior State (9-6-1) is slated to face Michigan State (6-9-1) in the semifinals of the GLI at 4 p.m. on Sunday inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.  

The winner of the game between the Lakers and Spartans will move on to the GLI Championship Game where they will face the winner of the semifinal matchup between fellow Western Collegiate Hockey Association member Michigan Tech (10-7-1) and Michigan (6-7-4) at 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

The losers of the semifinal games will meet in a third place game at 11:30 a.m. on Monday.

All games will be broadcast on FloHockey.TV with the GLI Championship Game also being aired on FOX Sports Detroit. The radio broadcast for each of the Laker games will be on 99.5 Yes FM.

Last Time on the Ice

Lake Superior State (9-6-1, 6-5-1-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) stepped away from collegiate play for an exhibition game against the U.S. National Under-18 Team on Dec. 16 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.

The Lakers defeated the U18s 7-3 as senior center Diego Cuglietta (9-6--15) and junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (7-5--12) each scored twice.  

In their last NCAA games, the Lakers swept a two-game WCHA series against Alaska on Dec. 7-8 at Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Lakers won the first game 4-1 and the series finale 5-2.   

Lakers at the GLI

Lake Superior State is making its fourth appearance all-time in the Great Lakes Invitational. The Lakers previously competed in the GLI in 1977, 1996 and 1999. 

The Lakers have a 2-4 record all-time at the GLI. The Lakers went 1-1 in 1977 and finished third, 1-1 in 1996 and finished second and 0-2 in 1999 to finish fourth.

Laker Coaches GLI Playing History

Laker head coach Damon Whitten played his collegiate hockey at Michigan State (1997-2001) where he was a part of Spartan teams that won the GLI in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. In 2000, Whitten was named to the GLI All-Tournament Team as he tallied three goals and one assist for Michigan State. 

Like Whitten, assistant coach Mike York also played collegiately at Michigan State (1996-99). In 1998, York tallied a hat trick in a 5-3 win in the GLI semifinals against Northern Michigan and he was named to the GLI All-Tournament Team as the Spartans won the invitational.

Faceoff Specialists

Senior center Diego Cuglietta (9-6--15) enters the weekend leading the WCHA in faceoff wins (236), while ranking second in faceoff win percentage (.604). He enters the weekend with 32 more faceoff wins than Minnesota State's Marc Michaelis (204), who is second in the WCHA. Cuglietta is second in the nation in faceoff wins – trailing North Dakota's Rhett Gardner (267). As a team, the Lakers lead the WCHA and rank sixth in the nation with a .543 faceoff win percentage.  


Senior winger Anthony Nellis (10-8--18) leads Lake Superior State in goals and points. Senior center Diego Cuglietta (9-6--15) is second on the team in goals scored, while junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (7-5--12) — the leading goal scorer among WCHA defensemen — is third. 

Impact Defensemen

Junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (7-5--12) enters the week leading all WCHA defenseman in goals scored.

Sophomore defenseman Lukas Kaelble (1-11--12) leads the Lakers in assists. He enters the week in a three-way tie for the 10th-most assists in the WCHA. 

Freshman blueliner Jacob Nordqvist (2-10--12) ranks second in the WCHA in both assists and points by a freshman.

Strong Start

With their 9-6-1 record, Lake Superior State is off to its best start through 16 games since 2013-14 when the Lakers also started the season 9-6-1.

Head Coach Damon Whitten's Preview


Road Success

Lake State is 7-1-0 (.875) away from Taffy Abel Arena this season. The Lakers' .875 road winning percentage leads college hockey and their seven road wins are tied for the second most in the nation.

Looking Ahead

LSSU returns to WCHA play with a two-game series at Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 4-5 inside Sullivan Arena. The next Laker home series is against Alabama Huntsville on Jan. 11-12.


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