LSSU Returning to Winning Ways in Whitten’s Fifth Season

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Lake Superior State hockey team is beginning to see its hard work pay off.

Long a storied program, the Lakers, who have 16 postseason tournament appearances and five national championships between the NCAA and NAIA to their credit, are back on the national scene.

Now in their fifth season under coach Damon Whitten, the Lakers (14-6-2) have already matched their best win total under Whitten and are ranked 18th nationally while sitting just five points back for third place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

“When you come in year one, you want to win,” Whitten said. “We’re in this business. It’s a results business. You know every Friday and Saturday night what the result is. It’s hanging right over your head. This is where we want to be. We work hard to get here. I think the credit goes to the guys in the locker room.”

The Lakers made history back on New Year’s Eve by winning their first Great Lakes Invitational title with a 6-3 win over Michigan Tech. One of the premier college hockey tournaments in the country, the four-team event has featured some of the nation’s best teams since it was first played at old Olympia Stadium in 1965.

“To finally see it come into fruition, it’s a nice feeling,” LSSU senior forward and GLI MVP Diego Cuglietta said. “I think our coach has done a good job. I think we’ve got a good system in place, so it’s been good so far.”

In addition to the GLI title, the Lakers have also scored wins over Big Ten foes Michigan and Michigan State.

LSSU has a big two-game trip at WCHA leader and sixth-ranked Minnesota State on Friday and Saturday. The Mavericks won both meetings earlier this season.