As the Lake Superior State University Lakers prep for their third season under the watch of head coach Damon Whitten, the Division 1, Western Collegiate Hockey Association team will go with a 26-player roster.
Nine newcomers, including eight freshmen and a redshirt freshman, will join 17 holdovers from the 2015-2016 Lakers to comprise the 2016-2017 unit.
Here are the Lakers, by position.
Returnees are the lone senior Gus Correale (5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points in 2015-2016) and four of the other top five scorers from last season in J.T. Henke (10-12-22), Mitch Hults (9-11-20), Gage Torrel (8-11-19) and Anthony Nellis (4-13-17).
Also back are Diego Cuglietta (5-7-12), Jake Hand (3-6-9), C.J. Hayes (3-4-7) and Josh Nenadal (5-1-6).
Incoming forwards are Brendan McKay, Luke Morgan, Brayden Gelsinger, Bryan Basilico, Ian Johnston and Max Humitz.
The Lakers return four junior defenders and two sophomores.
The juniors are Kyle Chatham, Aidan Wright (a Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. product), James Roll and Ryan Renz.
Sophomores are Owen Headrick and Matt McArdle. Headrick, who hails from Garden River First Nation, finished sixth on the Lakers in scoring last season with 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points.
Freshmen on the Lakers blueline will be Kristofers Bindulis, formerly of the Soo Eagles juniors, and Colin Saccoman.
The Lakers return junior standout Gordon Defiel and sophomore Nick Kossoff.
Defiel posted an 11-14-4 record with a 2.47 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in ’15-16. Defiel’s three shutouts last season boosted him into a tie with John Grahame (a former National Hockey Leaguer) and Duffy Lewis for fourth place on the Lakers all-time whitewash list with seven.
Kossoff earned his three victories as a freshman all by the way of the shutout and finished with a .918 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against average.
Finalizing the Lakers twine trio is freshman Cooper Lukenda, a Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native.
The Lakers open the ’16-17 season with a home exhibition game against the Laurentian University Voyageurs of Canadian Interuniversity Sport on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.
The Lakers annual Blue vs. Gold scrimmage will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena.
The regular season begins when the Lakers play host to former Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival Michigan State Spartans for a two-game series, Oct. 14-15 (Friday and Saturday) as part of Great Lake State Weekend.
Season tickets for all 17 Laker home games are now available online via lssutickets.universitytickets.com. Returning season ticket holders have until Sept. 9 to reclaim their seats.
Adult season packages are $199 and include the first round of the WCHA playoffs. (should the Lakers play host to a first-round series.) Child season tickets are $95 and also include the potential playoff series. The snowbird package includes the Lakers’ first nine home games for $90.
Single-game tickets will again be $12 for adults and $6 for children 17 and under.
Lake State is also introducing a new senior citizen single-game ticket rate of $10 for seniors 60 and over.