Lakers home to Ferris State

November 25, 2015

Sailing a bit-more smoothly following a successful excursion to Bemidji State, the good ship Laker returns home this weekend to face off against long-time rival Ferris State.

With a record of 1-2-3 within the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and an overall mark of 3-8-3, Lake Superior State is riding the crest of a two-game set at Bemidji State from which the Lakers emerged with a 3-2 win and a 1-1 tie against the Beavers.

Looking ahead to the two games at Taffy Abel Arena on Friday (7:37 p.m.) and Saturday (7:07 p.m.) the 1-2-3 Lakers and the 4-4-2 Bulldogs meet in a conference series linked to the hotly-contested, 10-team WCHA.

Both games will be broadcast on Sault Ste. Marie radio station 99.5 YES-FM with Bill Crawford calling the play-by-play.

The Lakers are tied with Alabama-Huntsville for eighth place in the WCHA with five points while the Bulldogs have 10 points and are tied for third with Bowling Green — with a key factor being that Lake Superior State has four conference games in hand on Ferris State.

The two-game series marks a homecoming of sorts for Ferris State junior forward Jared VanWormer. During the 2012-2013 season, VanWormer won the scoring championship while starring for the Soo Eagles when they were members of the North American Hockey League.

The parity within the WCHA this season has not been lost on VanWormer.

Appearing on a recent edition of the Hockey North Show which airs on Tuesday nights from 5-6 p.m. on Sault Ste. Marie radio station ESPN 1400, VanWormer spoke of how one-goal games and ties are the norm in the WCHA.

“It seems every Sunday when I check the weekend scoreboard that every game played was a close one,” said VanWormer, who added that he looks forward to playing at Lake Superior State every year.

“That year up in the Soo was my first time away from home and I have great memories of living there and playing for coach Bruno (Bragagnolo) and the Eagles,” VanWormer noted.

VanWormer, who captained the Eagles during his one season in the Soo, has retained the work ethic that made him a junior hockey success and led to him being recruited by Ferris State coach Bob Daniels, who has been in charge of the program since 1992.

The highly-regarded Daniels has referred to VanWormer as “the hardest-working player on a hard-working team.”

As for the Lakers, they enter the two-game series with Ferris State in search of some home-ice success.

In their 14 games thus far this 2015-2016 season, the Lakers have a 2-2-3 record on the road but are just 1-4 at home. (They have an 0-2 record in neutral games.)

Bright spots for the Lakers this season has been the play of their freshman class.

The freshman crop of Lakers has combined for 15 goals, 23 assists, 38 points — which is the best in the WCHA.

Three Laker freshmen are 2-3-4 on the team in scoring — Mitch Hults has 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points while Gage Torrel has 2-4-6 totals and Anthony Nellis has 1-5-6 numbers.

Another freshman, 1997 birth-year defenceman Owen Headrick, has played in all 14 games as the youngest player on the Lakers and is tied for sixth in team scoring with 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points.

PHOTO: Jared WanWormer, formerly of the Soo Eagles, is now a junior forward with the Ferris State Bulldogs.

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