SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State hockey steps away from conference play for an exhibition game with the United States Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 Team at 2 p.m. on Sunday at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich.
Last Time on the Ice
Lake Superior State (9-6-1, 6-5-1-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) swept a two-game WCHA series against Alaska on Friday and Saturday at Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Lakers won the first game 4-1 and the series finale 5-2.
WCHA Co-Forward of the Week
Junior winger Brayden Gelsinger (6-7--13) was named WCHA Co-Forward of the Week for his play in the Lakers' series sweep at Alaska. Gelsinger tallied three goals and two assists for five points on the weekend.
In Saturday's 5-2 win, Gelsinger garnered his first collegiate hat trick, one assist, a career-high four points and two power-play goals. Gelsinger's first goal, which was the game winner and came on the power play, broke a 2-2 tie at 4:57 of the second period. He then scored his second power-play goal less than two minutes later (6:35). His third goal of the evening was an empty-net goal that was scored at 17:56 of the third period. In addition, Gelsinger also recorded an assist on the Lakers' second goal of the game – scored by junior winger Max Humitz (4-7--11) at 9:49 of the first period.
In addition to his performance on Saturday, Gelsinger also garnered an assist in Friday night's 4-1 win over the Nanooks. His five points, two power-play goals, three power-play points and one game-winning goal each tied for the WCHA lead last week.
When junior winger Brayden Gelsinger (6-7--13) scored three goals in Lake Superior State's 5-2 win at Alaska on Saturday night, he became the first Laker to record a hat trick in a game since J.T. Henke accomplished the feat in a 5-4 home loss to Alabama Huntsville on Oct. 30, 2015. Prior to Henke, Kyle Jean garnered a hat trick in a 5-4 home win over Michigan State on Oct. 14, 2011 and Nathan Perkovich tallied three goals in a 7-6 loss to Michigan State in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Third Place Game on March 17, 2007 in Detroit.
Keeping up with Kossoff
Senior netminder Nick Kossoff (7-2-1) backstopped the Lakers to a two-game WCHA series sweep at Alaska. He garnered 50 saves, a 1.50 goals against average and a .943 save percentage in the series. In Friday's 4-1 win, Kossoff stopped 22-of-23 shots faced. He then came back on Saturday and made 28 saves on 30 opportunities in the 5-2 Laker win. Kossoff ranked second in the WCHA in saves and second among goalies with two starts in goals against average. His save percentage ranked fourth, but he faced 24 more shots than any of the netminders with a higher save percentage. With the performance, Kossoff raised his season save percentage to .915 to go along with a 2.19 goals against average.
In the series sweep at Alaska, seven of the nine Laker goals were scored by the special teams units. The Lakers went 5-of-9 on the power play in the series. On Saturday, the Lakers scored on their first four power-play opportunities and finished the game 4-of-6. The Laker penalty kill was successful on 9-of-10 opportunities on the weekend and scored two short-handed goals in Friday's game.
Senior center Diego Cuglietta (9-6--15) scored one power-play goal and one short-handed marker (the game winner) on Friday. Senior winger Anthony Nellis (10-8--18) scored the Lakers' second short-handed goal into an empty net on Friday and added a power-play goal on Saturday.
As part of his hat trick on Saturday, junior winger Brayden Gelsinger's (6-7--13) first two goals came on the power play with the second goal going down as the game winner. Junior winger Max Humitz (4-7-11) also added a power-play marker on Saturday.
About the USNTDP U-18 Team
The U18s have a 5-4 record against NCAA teams, including wins over Notre Dame, Michigan, Harvard, Dartmouth and Maine.
The U18s are playing a road game at Michigan State on Saturday before hosting the Lakers on Sunday.
Head Coach Damon Whitten's Preview
The radio broadcast will be on 99.5 Yes FM. Tickets can be purchased at usahockeyntdp.com/TIX. Use promo code LAKERS for a discounted ticket price.
LSSU competes in the Great Lakes Invitational at Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 30-31 in Detroit. The Lakers begin play at the GLI against Michigan State at 4 p.m. on Dec. 30.
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