LSSU Lakers ready for 2016-17 season
Under the watch of head coach Damon Whitten, the NCAA Division I, 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 squad.
Here are the Lakers, by position:
FORWARDS: The 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.
DEFENSEMEN: The Lakers return four junior defenders and two sophomores.
The juniors are Kyle Chatham, Aidan Wright (a Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario product), James Roll and Ryan Renz.
The 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 five goals and 12 points.
The freshmen on the Lakers blue line will be Kristofers Bindulis, formerly of the Soo Eagles juniors, and Colin Saccoman.
GOALTENDERS: 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 League player) 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.
UPCOMING: 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 regular season begins when the Lakers play host to former Central Collegiate Hockey Association rivals the Michigan State Spartans for a two-game series, Oct. 14-15 (Friday and Saturday) as part of Great Lake State Weekend.
Forrest in Flint
Goalie Garrett Forrest, a 1997 birth-year who starred with the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League last season, has signed with the Flint Firebirds of the OHL. Flint had recently acquired the rights to Forrest from the North Bay Battalion in exchange for overage goalie Brent Moran.
The American-born Forrest was a first-team NOJHL all-star last season with 24 wins, a 2.37 goals against average and .934 save percentage for Powassan.