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Sim tries to play every game like it's his last
Jan. 26, 2007
By LINDA BOUVET, LSSU Sports Information Director
After acclimating themselves to Division I hockey during a successful rookie campaign, Lake Superior State sophomores Josh Sim and Troy Schwab have picked up from where they left off in juniors. Sim is currently the Lakers' goal-scoring leader, while Schwab paces the team in assists.
The twosome, which has comprised two-thirds of an all-Saskatchewan line during several games this season, understands the importance of coming through night after night. They draw on a grit they developed in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
"It is a really competitive league out there," Sim said. "You have to play hard every night, play hard to win. You can't take a night off. (The Central Collegiate Hockey Association) is not as tough - dirty wise. The willingness to compete and win are what I've found that I've taken from that league. Every (CCHA) game is like a playoff game. Every point is valuable, whether it's one point in overtime, a sweep or a split. Last year, from fifth to ninth place, it was a matter of three or four points."
While playing in the SJHL, Sim and Schwab led the Kindersley Klippers to the 2004 Anavet Cup title (combined title for the Saskatchewan and Manitoba leagues) and an appearance in the Canadian national finals.
Sim has the same mindset at LSSU that he had in Kindersley - play every game like it's his last.
"Here you kind of play for the older guys," Sim added. "(For Trent Campbell, Jeff Jakaitis, Dominic Osman, Jeff Rainville, Derek R. Smith and Barnabas Birkeland), it's their last year. Eventually you get your chance...Once hockey gets started, time flies by. I'm already half done with my college career."
Sim played several games during his rookie collegiate season with Schwab, but missed the last six games of 2005-06 due to an injury. Sim and Schwab have been together throughout this season and teamed with Campbell, a Beauval, Sask., native in mid November during the Miami series.
The Saskatchewan line picked up at least a point in 13 of 16 games and combined to total 10 goals and 20 assists through eight series. The highlight was contributing 3-5--8 during the Badger Showdown on Dec. 29-30. Sim was named to the all-tournament team after assisting on both goals in a 2-1 victory over Providence and scoring both goals in a 3-2 loss to Clarkson.
Sim leads the Lakers in points with 11-8--19, while Schwab (3-15--18) and Campbell (7-11--18) are tied for second. During last weekend's series at Michigan State, Sim and Schwab were paired with senior Dominic Osman and freshman John Scrymgeour. Sim scored both goals in the Lakers' 3-2 overtime loss to the Spartans. The Saskatchewan line reunited for the Ohio State series opener.
Schwab and Sim have been best friends for more than four years. Sim has always been impressed with Schwab's intuition when he's on the ice. They combined to total 47 goals and 95 assists during their final season in Kindersley.
"It's like he has eyes in the back of his head sometimes," Sim said. "We've been playing together for four or five years now. I feed off him. I try to get open and go to the lanes for him, and he can get the puck through almost anything. He's a small player, but a big competitor."
They also take pride in playing well defensively. Sim and Schwab have a combined plus/minus rating of +6.
"Take care of your own backyard first, and everything else will take care of itself," Sim said. "At Wisconsin we were sound defensively. We took pride in our own end first. The offensive skill will take care of itself."
Sim expects a tough series from Ohio State, which is 4-1-1 in its last six games. He scored a goal, and Schwab had three assists in the Lakers 7-6 overtime victory at Ohio State on Oct. 14. The game snapped a 14-game winless streak against the Buckeyes.
"They got off to slow start. But look now, they're on a roll," Sim said. "They swept Alaska a couple weekends ago. This weekend going to be huge for us. When you're that tight with team, whether you're playing for home ice, ahead of them or behind them in the standings, it brings lot more to table. We need to play our game, like we did down there. We scored seven goals that game, then five at Clarkson the week after. A lot of freshmen scored in that game and (freshman goalie) Pat Inglis got the win."
Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey