SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – No. 18 Lake Superior State hockey continues Western Collegiate Hockey Association play with a two-game series at Northern Michigan on Friday and Saturday at Berry Events Center in Marquette, Michigan.
Both games between Lake Superior State (20-8-2, 15-7-2-0 WCHA) and Northern Michigan (15-14-4, 14-8-2-0 WCHA) are slated for 7 p.m. EST.
The series with the Wildcats is the final 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.
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 extended its winning streak to four games with a two-game WCHA series sweep of Michigan Tech on Friday and Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. The Lakers won 3-1 on both nights to sweep the Huskies for the first time since 1983-84 when the Lakers won 2-1 and 6-3 on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, respectively.
With their sweep of Michigan Tech last weekend, Lake Superior State moved into a tie with Bowling Green for second place in the WCHA standings with 47 points. The top team in the standings is Minnesota State, which has 59 points. Bemidji State and Northern Michigan are tied for fourth place with 44 points. Michigan Tech (37 points), Alaska (31) and Alabama Huntsville (22) are sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
Lake Superior State is ranked No. 18 in the most recent USCHO Poll. Minnesota State (No. 4) and Bowling Green (No. 15) are the other WCHA teams ranked in the USCHO Poll.
Senior center Diego Cuglietta (20-14--34), junior winger Max Humitz (14-16--30) and senior winger Anthony Nellis (14-16--30) each have 30 points this season. The Lakers are one out of four teams (Penn State, Massachusetts, Michigan State) that have three players with at least 30 points each. The last time the Lakers had three players with at least 30 points in a season was 2006-07 when Trent Campbell (12-18--30), Derek Smith (10-20--30) and Troy Schwab (6-24--30) accomplished the feat.
Senior center Diego Cuglietta (20-14--34) scored his 19th and 20th goals of the season in the Lakers' 3-1 win over Michigan Tech on Saturday night. He is the first Laker to score 20 goals in a season since Domenic Monardo in 2012-13.
100 Career Points
Senior center Diego Cuglietta (45-48--93, career totals) is closing in on 100 career points. The last Laker to tally 100 career points was Domenic Monardo (49-52--101), who was a member of the Lakers from 2009-13.
The Lakers have scored 103 goals this season as a team, which is more than they scored all of last season (76). The Lakers' 103 goals is also equal to their scoring output from the entire 2016-17 season.
New York State of Mind
Senior defenseman Steven Ruggiero (6-3--9) is the reigning WCHA Defenseman of the Week. A draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks, Ruggiero scored one goal, blocked six shots and garnered a +3 rating on the weekend.
In Friday's 3-1 win, Ruggiero blocked four shots, garnered a +1 rating, and scored an empty-net goal – his sixth goal of the season – at 19:06 of the third period to secure the win. In Saturday's 3-1 victory, he added two more blocked shots with a +2 rating. His six blocked shots tied for second in the WCHA and his +3 rating was third among WCHA blueliners on the week.
Junior winger Max Humitz (14-16--30) is the reigning WCHA Forward of the Week. He scored the game-winning goal against Michigan Tech on both Friday and Saturday. Humitz's two game-winning goals and his +5 rating both led the WCHA and tied for the national lead on the week. He also tied for the WCHA lead in shots on goal (9) and shots on goal per game (4.50), while blocking two shots and adding an assist in the series for a three-point weekend.
In Friday's 3-1 win over the Huskies, Humitz broke a 1-1 tie with a goal at 3:08 of the third period. He also garnered a +2 rating and four shots on goal in Friday's win. On Saturday, Humitz assisted on the first goal of the game, scored by senior center Diego Cuglietta 20-14--34) at 7:10 of the first period, as the Lakers jumped out to a 1-0 lead. Humitz then scored the eventual game-winning goal — his 14th goal of the season — at 18:10 of the first period as the Lakers went on to win 3-1. He tallied five shots on goal and a +3 rating as he was on the ice for each Laker goal on Saturday.
Humitz is on a four-game point streak and has tallied a point in 11 of his last 13 games played.
Keeping Up With the Hobey Baker Award Nominees
Cuglietta had a three-point performance (2-1--3) in the Lakers' 3-1 win over Michigan Tech on Saturday night at Taffy Abel Arena. Nellis tallied an assist on Saturday night.
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.
Lake Superior State is tied with Quinnipiac for the national lead in road wins (12), while leading NCAA DI Men's Hockey in road winning percentage (.857). Including their 2-0 record at the Great Lakes Invitational, the Lakers are 14-2-0 when playing away from Taffy Abel Arena, which is the best road/neutral record in the nation.
Head Coach Damon Whitten's Preview
Facing the Wildcats
Northern Michigan (15-14-2, 14-8-2-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) enters the series with the Lakers having gone 0-1-1 at Bemidji State last weekend. On Friday, the Wildcats and the Beavers tied 2-2 and the Beavers scored during the 3-on-3 overtime for the extra WCHA point. On Saturday, the Wildcats fell 3-0.
Freshman forward Troy Loggins (15-12--27) is Northern Michigan's leading goal scorer. Junior defenseman Philip Beaulieu (5-23--28) leads the Wildcats in both assists and points.
Following this weekend, the Lakers conclude the regular season with a two-game WCHA home series against Ferris State on March 1-2 at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
The Lakers return home for their final regular-season home series when they host Ferris State on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. The team's seniors will be honored with a ceremony on Saturday as part of Senior Night. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or online. For additional ticket information, call (906) 635-2602.
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