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Lakers to play host to another MAAC opponent
Jan. 7, 2003
SAULT STE. MARIE - The hockey Lakers can look at things a bit differently now that the weight of being winless in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association is off their shoulders.
Last Friday's 7-1 victory over Michigan State proved that Lake Superior State can: 1. Come from behind to beat a team; 2. Beat an opponent that is strong on special teams; 3. Score more than three goals in a game.
The Lakers (4-15-1 overall, 1-13-0 CCHA) will need that college outlook to carry them through the second half of the season. This weekend, they play host to Canisius in a non-conference series on Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in Taffy Abel Arena. Both games will be aired live on WSUE 101.3 FM and simulcast on www.lssulakers.com. This weekend is "Family Night at Laker Hockey," and special packages include four tickets, four pops and four popcorns for $25.
LSSU is 3-0 against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents this season, including a 2-1 victory over MAAC leader Quinnipiac. Canisius (6-12-0 overall, 6-6 MAAC), a private institution of 3,400 students located in Buffalo, N.Y., is coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Quinnipiac on Saturday. The Golden Griffins gave up the game-tying goal with 40 seconds remaining, then were short-handed going into the extra period due to a five-minute major penalty.
"They are a formidable opponent," said LSSU coach Frank Anzalone, who might see an equally young opponent coming in a bit upset after last weekend's series. "They want an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They will give us a lot to handle, more because of where we are than where they are. We need to continue to learn to play hard."
Canisius coach Brian Cavanaugh isn't sure how his players will react to last weekend's series, but he expects the Lakers to be well-prepared for the Golden Griffins.
"(Monday's) practice was positive and we tried to stay upbeat," Cavanaugh said. "God put your eyes on the front of your face, so let's look ahead and not look back."
Canisius' roster includes two sophomore forwards from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Ryan Corcoran, who played for the Oshawa Legionaires, and Fred Coccimiglio, who played for the Soo Thunderbirds. The Griffs' top scorers are sophomore forward Todd Bowler (5-6-11), Coccimiglio (5-5-10) and junior forward Rob Martin (5-5-10). The Griffs lost their top recruit and potential No. 1 center, Dan Bognar, to a season-ending knee injury at the beginning of the season.
"We are very happy to have them coming, but we know that both games are not going to be easy," said Anzalone, whose team will make the trip to Buffalo next season. "I think the games against Canisius are going to be two good games."
With Canisius most likely starting a sophomore goaltender (Bryan Worosz), two freshmen defensemen and six or seven freshmen forwards, up to 20 freshmen could be dressed for either of this weekend's games. The Griffs' strength this season has been its power play, which was scoring at a 25 percent rate until "it leveled off."
"We're a team continuing to learn, week in and week out," Cavanaugh said.
After scoring the most goals since November, 1999, Lake Superior State followed Friday's win with a 6-0 loss, which was its sixth shutout loss of the season. Anzalone was not nearly as disappointed with losing the game as he was with giving up f our third-period goals.
"I try not to talk about winning," he said. "I do talk about it sometimes, but it scares them because there is no one in the room to look at who knows about it. Chemistry and confidence are a very delicate balance...it is a magic or a mystery. Right now we don't have it, and it takes a while to acquire that."
According to Anzalone, LSSU's leader right now is sophomore goaltender Matt Violin, who is ranked fifth in the CCHA in saves at 28.0 per game. He has a 3.42 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
"I think the greatest catalyst we have is Matt Violin, and he's a quiet guy," Anzalone said. "I think our team needs to learn that he is a gem for them, that he has played consistently every game, giving our team the chance to either win or lose in a respectful manner. I think the players need to understand that they should get out there and defend him better. I don't think they have learned that yet. It takes a long time.
LSSU senior Jeremy Bachusz, who had two goals and an assist on Friday, is the second Laker this season to have a multiple-goal game. He leads the Lakers in scoring with six goals and four assists.
"I think that Chris Peterson, Bachusz, Ren Fauci, Kory Scoran and Bo Cheesman gave us as good of a five-man unit as we've had in the last two years," Anzalone said. "I think we only had one guy (Jon Booras) who scored two goals in one game. Now Bachusz has done it. I hope somebody will do it again."
Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey