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Laker Hockey Set for WCHA Showdown with No. 6/7 Minnesota State

The Lakers celebrating a goal.

Media Notes

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – No. 18 Lake Superior State hockey continues Western Collegiate Hockey Association play with a two-game series against No. 6/7 Minnesota State in Mankato, Minnesota.

Lake Superior State (14-6-2, 9-5-2-0 WCHA) and Minnesota State (18-5-1, 13-3-0-0 WCHA) are slated to play at 8:07 p.m. EST on both Friday and Saturday at Verizon Center.

The radio broadcast will be on 99.5 Yes FM and the series will be streamed on FloHockey.TV

Unbeaten Streak

The 18th-ranked Lakers are on an eight-game unbeaten streak, which is the longest for the program since 2009-10. The Lakers last loss came at home against the Minnesota State Mavericks on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Prior to its 1-1 tie against Alabama Huntsville on Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena, Lake Superior State had a seven-game winning streak that began at Alaska on Dec. 7. The last winning streak of at least seven games for the Lakers was in 1996-97 when they won 10 consecutive games.

2019 Hobey Baker Award Nominees

Senior center Diego Cuglietta (16-6--23) and senior winger Anthony Nellis (11-11--22) are nominees for the 2019 Hobey Basker Award.

Cuglietta leads the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and is second in NCAA Division I men's hockey in goals scored. He also leads the conference and is second in the nation with 300 faceoff wins. Cuglietta, who is tied for the team lead with a +13 rating, had an eight-game point streak that started at Alaska on Dec. 7 and ended against Alabama Huntsville on Jan. 12. Over the streak, he tallied nine goals and three assists for 12 points. He earned Great Lakes Invitational MVP honors after scoring four goals, including the overtime-game winner against Michigan State, as Lake Superior State defeated Michigan State (4-3 OT) and Michigan Tech (6-3) to win the GLI for the first time in program history. Cuglietta also earned WCHA Forward of the Week honors after his performance in the GLI. In his Laker career, Cuglietta has tallied 41 goals and 41 assists for 82 points. He leads all active Lakers in career goals and points.

Nellis is second on the team in both goals and assists. He has recorded five multi-point games this season with a season-high four points (1-3--4), including an assist on the game-winning goal, in LSSU's 5-2 win over then-No.12 ranked Michigan on Nov. 2. He also garnered one goal and two assists, including an assist on the game-winning goal, for three points in Lake State's 4-3 overtime win over Michigan State in the GLI. Nellis, who has a +5 rating on the season, scored the game-winning goal in Lake State's 5-4 season-opening win at Merrimack on Oct. 6. In his collegiate career, Nellis has tallied 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 points. He leads all active Lakers in career assists and is second in goals and points.  

WCHA Forward of the Week

Junior forward Max Humitz (8-11--19) earned WCHA Forward of the Week honors after extending his point streak to five games – tallying four points on two goals and two assists as No. 18 Lake Superior State went 1-0-1 against Alabama Huntsville in a two-game WCHA series over the weekend at Taffy Abel Arena.

In Friday's 7-2 win, Humitz tallied two goals and one assist for three points, while having a +3 rating. Humitz assisted on the Lakers' first goal of the game, scored by senior center Diego Cuglietta (16-7--23) 26 seconds into the first period. Humitz's first goal of the night broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Lakers a lead that they would not relinquish. His second goal of the night was the Lakers' seventh of the game, scored at 14:41 of the third period. 

In addition to his performance on Friday, Humitz also tallied an assist in Saturday night's 1-1 tie with the Chargers. The assist came on junior center Brendan McKay's game-tying goal at 18:03 of the third period that forced overtime.

Over his five-game point streak, Humitz has tallied five goals and six assists for 11 points.

Balanced Scoring

Seventeen different Lakers have scored a goal this season, including 12 who have scored multiple goals. Senior center Diego Cuglietta (16-7--23) leads the team in goals scored followed by senior winger Anthony Nellis (11-11--22). Junior forward Max Humitz (8-11--19) is third in goals scored and junior defenseman Collin Saccoman (7-9--16) – the leading goal scorer among WCHA defensemen – is fourth on the team.

Road Success

Lake State is 9-1-0 (.900) in road games this season and 11-1-0 when playing away from Taffy Abel Arena. The Lakers lead the nation in both road winning percentage (.900) and road/neutral-site winning percentage (.917).

Facing the Mavericks

In their first meeting of the season, Lake Superior State was swept by Minnesota State in a two-game WCHA series (4-2, 3-0) on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Head Coach Damon Whitten's Preview

Looking Ahead

The Lakers return home to face WCHA foe Bemidji State on Jan. 25-26 at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games are slated for 7 p.m.

On Friday, Jan. 25, Laker Hockey will host the ninth annual 'White Out' domestic and sexual violence awareness night, in partnership with the Diane Peppler Center and the Sexual Violence Prevention Team of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. The first 1,000 fans to enter Taffy Abel Arena will receive a free shirt to wear at the game. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or online. For additional ticket information, call (906) 635-2602.

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