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No. 19 Lakers resume CCHA action at home against Broncos



Kory Scoran

Jan. 3, 2006

SAULT STE. MARIE - The 19th-ranked Lake Superior State hockey team heads into 2006 with a home series against a team that has something to prove after suffering its worst loss of the season to the Lakers earlier in the season.

The Lakers (10-6-4 overall, 6-6-2 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) play host to a Western Michigan squad that has continued to struggle since losing 10-0 and 4-3 at home to LSSU on Nov. 4-5. The Broncos (4-11-3 overall, 4-6-2 CCHA) are coming off a 4-1 loss to Wisconsin and a 6-3 loss to Wayne State at last week's Badger Showdown.

LSSU, which is currently third in the CCHA standings, faces off against WMU at 7:35 p.m. on Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Taffy Abel arena. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM and simulcast on www.lssulakers.com.

Saturday's game at Taffy Abel Arena is EUP Schools Appreciation Night, and all Eastern Upper Peninsula area students and staff members with a valid school identification card will be admitted free. Laker hockey players will also be visiting area elementary schools to hand out coupons to attend the game. Students are encouraged to be accompanied by an adult.

Hockey fans will have only six chances to see the Lakers at home during the second half of the 2005-06 regular season. LSSU is enjoying its best season in many years, but has several upcoming challenges as it tries to remain in the CCHA's top tier. No. 2-ranked Miami currently leads the league with 21 points, followed by No. 6 Michigan with 15 and LSSU with 14. Every team in the league except Northern Michigan has games in hand on the Lakers.

Lake Superior State has already surpassed its win totals from 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05, although its seven-game unbeaten streak ended with a 4-3 loss at Notre Dame on Dec. 18.

Lake Superior State is coming off a third-place showing at the TBAYtel Varsity Cup held Dec. 28-31 in Thunder Bay, Ont. LSSU lost two of its three exhibition games, including a 6-1 setback to eventual champion Calgary.

Despite WMU's frustrations this season, the Broncos have had some success against teams with which LSSU has struggled. They tied 0-0 and lost 5-2 at Northern Michigan Dec. 17-18, and split a home-and-home series with Notre Dame Dec. 2-3. The Lakers are a combined 1-3 against those NMU and UND. WMU is 0-6-3 on the road this season.

WMU is ranked at or near the bottom in the CCHA in overall scoring (2.25), goals-allowed (3.89) and penalty killing (.788), while its power play is seventh in the league (.170). LSSU is ranked third in the CCHA in average goals-allowed (2.05), sixth in power play (.179), seventh in penalty killing (.822) and 10th in scoring (2.65). The Lakers are sixth nationally in scoring defense.

The Broncos are led by senior forward Brent Walton (12-10--22), who is eighth in the CCHA in overall scoring, and second in goals scored and power-play goals. Junior forward Paul Szczechura (5-12--17) follows Walton. WMU sophomore goaltender Daniel Bellissimo leads the CCHA in average saves per game at 29.50, and has a 3.57 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.

LSSU junior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis is second behind Bellissimo in saves per game at 22.32, and is ranked third in the league in save percentage (.918) and fourth in goals-against average (2.02). His GAA is rated ninth nationally.

Lake Superior State's leading scorers are junior forward Trent Campbell (6-8--14), freshman forward Troy Schwab (4-8--12), senior forward Nathan Ward (3-7--10) and junior forward Jeff Rainville (4-6--10). Junior forward Dominic Osman (6-2--8) is tied with Campbell in goals scored.

The Lakers won't be at home again until Jan. 27-28 when they play host to Bowling Green State.



Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
 
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