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Final 'Home-and-Joe' series kicks off Friday against Michigan

Troy Schwab

Feb. 13, 2007

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State hockey fans have contended with a few snowy whiteouts this season as winter arrived, but packed quite a punch in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Lakers are hoping for one more whiteout - an indoor version. Friday's home hockey game against Michigan is the final day of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's "Spirit Week" activities, and the SAAC hopes to cap the week off with a successful LSSU Whiteout. SAAC members, who represent all 11 Laker varsity sports and cheerleading, are asking Laker fans to wear white to the game, which begins at 7:35 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena. The first 400 students who show up at the game will receive a commemorative "2007 Whiteout" t-shirt.

Friday's game will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM and simulcast on Video streaming of the game will be available on the B2 Network.

"Spirit Week got off to a great start with the talent show last Sunday," said Kris Dunbar, LSSU director of athletics. "All of the teams participated, and we had a lot of fun. I'm so pleased to see the teams building camaraderie and supporting each other. The athletes also want to do something for the student body, as they want the students to feel more included in Laker athletics. So we're hoping a few hundred students participate in the Whiteout when we play Michigan. We want to give away all 400 t-shirts."

LSSU (15-14-3 overall, 9-12-3 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) closes out the regular season with three games at Taffy Abel Arena, plus Sunday's home game against Michigan at Joe Louis Arena. Sunday's contest, which will be televised live on FSN-Detroit beginning at 3:05 p.m., wraps up LSSU's 12-year agreement to play a regular-season home game annually at the Joe. The arrangement was made when the Mike Ilitch family contributed to the "Gem of the North," which was the Norris Center Ice Arena renovation project that took place in 1994-95.

The Lakers are currently eighth in the CCHA standings and hold a two-point lead over Alaska and Northern Michigan, who are tied for ninth place. They have two games in hand over NMU, which is idle this weekend and plays host to Miami on Feb. 23-24. Alaska plays host to league leader Notre Dame this weekend and Nebraska-Omaha on Feb. 23-24.

If the Lakers finish the regular season in fifth through eighth place, they will host a CCHA first-round playoff series against a team in ninth through 12th place. Currently, only five points separate the teams in fifth through 10th place, and several of those teams caught in the bottleneck have yet to play each other.

LSSU is coming off 4-1 and 3-2 losses at second-place Miami. For the second time in three games, injuries forced the Lakers to play with 17 skaters.

Tenth-ranked Michigan (21-10-1 overall, 16-7-1 CCHA) is playing at Joe Louis Arena for the second straight week. Last weekend, the Wolverines had a unique situation during which they lost 3-2 at Bowling Green on Friday and tied Michigan State 3-3 at the Joe on Saturday. They wrap up their regular season at Ohio State on Feb. 23-24.

U-M currently trails first-place Notre Dame by six points, but has clinched a top-four finish in the CCHA standings. The Wolverines and Irish enjoy two games in hand over second-place Miami.

The Wolverines lead the all-time series against LSSU, 48-45-6, but trail 13-21-3 on the Lakers' home ice.

LSSU split last year's series against Michigan, winning the first game, 3-2 in overtime, and losing the second game, 4-2. Last year's win snapped a 10-game losing streak against U-M. The last time the Lakers defeated Michigan at JLA was March 18, 1995, when the Lakers won 5-4 in overtime during the semifinal round of the CCHA Playoffs. Since then, the Lakers are 0-9-0 against the Wolverines at JLA.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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