Lake Superior State Lakers
From the frozen lakes of the Upper Peninsula to the bright lights of NHL arenas, the Lake Superior State Lakers have been a formidable force in the world of college hockey for over six decades. And with a rich history that includes multiple championships and countless memorable matchups, it’s no surprise that the Lakers have spawned some of the most intense rivalries in the sport.
In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most important matchups in the history of Lake Superior State’s hockey program. From heated divisional rivalries to epic championship battles, these games have left a lasting impact on the Lakers and their fans. So strap on your skates and get ready to relive the glory days of Lake Superior State hockey.
The Beginnings of a Rivalry: Lake Superior State vs. Michigan Tech
Shorter than 150 characters: Lake Superior State Lakers: A Look Back at Their Most Important Matchups
In the early years of their existence, the Lakers and the Michigan Tech Huskies developed a fierce rivalry that still exists to this day. Both teams hail from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a region that is known for its passion for hockey. And with both schools being less than 100 miles apart, it was only natural for a rivalry to develop.
The first matchup between the Lakers and the Huskies took place in 1966, and it set the tone for years to come. Michigan Tech, the established powerhouse in the region, defeated Lake Superior State with ease. But the Lakers were determined to prove themselves, and in the years that followed, they developed into a legitimate contender.
The rivalry between the Lakers and the Huskies only intensified as both teams found success on the national stage. In the 1980s and 1990s, the two schools dominated the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and faced off in numerous thrilling matchups.
But perhaps the most memorable chapter in this rivalry came in the 1992 NCAA Division II tournament. After dominating the GLIAC, Lake Superior State met Michigan Tech in the national championship game. In front of a crowd of over 10,000 fans, the Lakers came out on top, defeating the Huskies 4-2 and claiming their first NCAA Division II title.
This victory not only solidified the Lakers’ dominance in the region, but it also marked the beginning of a new era for the hockey program. And as the rivalry between Lake Superior State and Michigan Tech continues to this day, it serves as a reminder of the rich history and fierce competition that defines hockey in the Upper Peninsula.
David vs. Goliath: Lake Superior State vs. Michigan
As the Lakers continued to find success in the GLIAC, their reputation grew, and they soon caught the attention of powerhouse programs across the country. And in 1976, Lake Superior State faced off against the mighty University of Michigan Wolverines for the first time in program history.
This matchup may have seemed like a classic David vs. Goliath scenario, with Michigan being a perennial contender in the Big Ten conference and Lake Superior State still considered a smaller school. But the Lakers did not back down from the challenge. In fact, they shocked the hockey world by upsetting Michigan 6-3 in their first-ever meeting.
This victory not only put Lake Superior State hockey on the map, but it also ignited a new level of competition between the two programs. Michigan would go on to dominate the rivalry for many years to come, but Lake Superior State’s initial victory set the stage for future matchups between the two schools.
Their most iconic moment came in the 1992 NCAA Division I tournament. After a decade of close games, the Lakers and Wolverines faced off in the national championship game. In what is considered one of the greatest games in college hockey history, Lake Superior State defeated Michigan 4-2 in overtime, capturing their first NCAA Division I title.
This victory firmly cemented the Lakers as a national powerhouse and served as a defining moment in their rivalry with Michigan. And even though the two teams do not regularly meet on the ice anymore, the memories of those epic matchups still live on for fans and players alike.
The Birth of a New Rivalry: Lake Superior State vs. Northern Michigan
While the rivalry with Michigan Tech may be the oldest in Lake Superior State hockey history, the rivalry with Northern Michigan is no less intense. And it all started in 1981 when the Lakers and the Wildcats faced off in the CCHA (Central Collegiate Hockey Association) tournament for the very first time.
The two teams quickly established themselves as the top contenders in the conference, and their close proximity (less than 50 miles apart) only added fuel to the fire. With each game, the intensity between the Lakers and the Wildcats grew, and fans from both schools eagerly anticipated every matchup.
But it was in 1988 that the rivalry reached its peak. After both teams had dominated the CCHA and advanced to the national tournament, they met in the Frozen Four for the first time. In front of a sell-out crowd at the Olympia Arena in Detroit, Lake Superior State came out on top, defeating Northern Michigan 8-7 in overtime and securing their second consecutive national title.
This victory not only solidified the Lakers’ rivalry with Northern Michigan but also added another chapter to their storied history of success in the CCHA. Today, even though the two teams are now in different conferences, the rivalry between Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan continues to be one of the most anticipated matchups of the season.
The Legacy Continues: Lake Superior State vs. Ferris State
While the Lakers have had numerous rivalries throughout their history, one of the most important matchups in recent years has been with Ferris State. These two teams first met in the early 1980s, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the rivalry really started to heat up.
Both Lake Superior State and Ferris State were establishing themselves as dominant forces in the CCHA, and they often battled for the conference title. And in 1994, the Lakers and the Bulldogs faced off in another epic NCAA Division I championship game. In front of a packed Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Lake Superior State came out on top once again, defeating Ferris State 9-1 and securing their third national title.
This victory not only highlighted the intense competition between the two schools but also solidified Lake Superior State’s legacy as one of the most successful college hockey programs in the country.
As the Lakers continue to compete in the modern-day National Collegiate Hockey Conference, their rivalry with Ferris State remains just as intense as ever. And while they may no longer compete in the same conference, their shared history and the memories of their epic matchups continue to bind these two programs together.
For over six decades, the Lake Superior State Lakers have been a dominant force in the world of college hockey. Their rich history, filled with unforgettable rivalries and countless championship victories, is a testament to the passion and dedication of the players, coaches, and fans who have made the program what it is today.
As the Lakers continue to compete at the highest level of college hockey, their legacy and the memories of their most important matchups will continue to inspire future generations of players. And for fans of the sport, the intense competition and timeless rivalries of Lake Superior State hockey will never be forgotten.