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Current Lakers seek their first home victory over UNO

Barnabas Birkeland

Jan. 2, 2007

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State ended a seven-game losing streak against Northern Michigan by sweeping the Wildcats on Dec. 1-2, stopped a five-game winless streak (0-1-4) against Ferris State by winning 4-1 on Dec. 9 and beat Providence for the first time ever on Dec. 29 at the Badger Showdown. The Lakers came up short in their bid to end a winless streak against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Dec. 16, but have a chance to snap a seven-game winless streak against Nebraska-Omaha during this weekend's home hockey series against the Mavs.

LSSU (12-6-2 overall, 6-4-2 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) plays host to UNO (8-8-5 overall, 5-6-1 CCHA) at 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. The Lakers will celebrate "Youth Hockey Weekend" during the series. All youth hockey players who are wearing their team jersey and accompanied by an adult will receive free admission to either game.

Both games will be broadcast live on WSUE 101.3 FM with live streaming on A video feed is also available on the B2 Network. Visit the Lakers' web site for more details.

UNO is playing in Sault Ste. Marie for only the second time since 2002-03. The Lakers and Mavs have played eight of their last 10 games against each other in Omaha, and LSSU has not fared well, going 2-6-2 during that stretch. Last season, the Lakers took one point from the Mavs by coming back from an 8-0 loss on Feb. 3 to tie second game, 2-2, in overtime. LSSU is looking for its first home victory over UNO since Nov. 4, 2000.

LSSU is coming off a runner-up finish at the Badger Showdown after beating Providence, 2-1, in the semifinals and losing to Clarkson, 3-2 in the championship game. Sophomore forward Josh Sim (2-2--4, +4) and senior defenseman Barnabas Birkeland (1-1--2, +2) were named to the all-tournament team. The Golden Knights entered the tournament with the nation's No. 1 power play and a five-game winning streak, and scored two man-advantage goals against the Lakers. LSSU also finish second at the Badger Showdin in 1994.

Princeton ended UNO's five-game winning streak last Friday with a 3-2 overtime victory. Yale and UNO tied, 4-4, in overtime on Saturday. Senior forwards Scott Parse (11-19--30) and Alex Nikiforuk (9-21--30) are tied for fourth in the CCHA in scoring and leading the Mavs.

LSSU is ranked second in the CCHA and fifth nationally in goals-allowed at 2.05, while Nebraska-Omaha is eighth in the league and 38th nationally at 3.19. Laker senior Jeff Jakaitis is currently the league's top goaltender. He is ranked second nationally in save percentage at .953 and third in goals-against at 1.63. Freshman Jeremie Dupont (5-5-3) and sophomore Jerad Kaufmann (3-2-2) split time in goal for UNO.

Jakaitis passed former Laker Jayme Platt on LSSU's all-time saves list last weekend. He enters the UNO series with 2,857 saves. Laker all-time leader Pat Tims (1973-77) has 3,477 career saves and won't likely be caught by Jakaitis. Jakaitis, however, is on track to become LSSU's all-time leader in career save percentage and goals-against average, and he already holds the career shutout record.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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