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Lakers secure home ice for CCHA Playoffs

Dominic Osman

Feb. 24, 2007

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State scored two short-handed goals early in the first period to set the tone for Saturday's 4-3 victory over Western Michigan in Saturday's regular-season hockey finale.

With the victory, the Lakers (17-16-3 overall, 11-14-3 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) finished eighth in the league standings and secured home ice for the first round of the CCHA Playoffs. They play host to ninth-place Ferris State in a best-of-three series that begins Friday, March 2, at 7:35 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena.

Senior Derek R. Smith scored an unassisted short-handed goal at 2:22 of the first period and assisted on Pat Aubry's short-handed goal at 3:44 to lift the Lakers to a 2-0 lead. In both instances, Smith intercepted passes in the slot area and created break-away opportunities.

Western Michigan (17-16-1 overall, 14-13-1 CCHA), which entered the game with a five-game winning streak, came back to tie it 2-2 on Sean Weaver's even-strength goal at 14:07 of the first period and Kevin Labatte's power-play goal at 11:58 of the second period.

LSSU senior Dominic Osman and freshman Nathan Perkovich scored at 12:30 and 15:34, respectively, of the second period to regain a two-goal Lakers lead. Perkovich's power-play goal snapped an 0-for-21 scoreless streak when the Lakers had the man-advantage.

Both teams finished 1-for-5 on the power play for the game.

Trent Campbell drew the assist on Osman's goal, and Troy Schwab assisted on Perkovich's goal.

WMU's Mark Letestu trimmed the lead to 4-3 with an even-strength goal at 3:08 of the third period.

LSSU goaltender Jeff Jakaitis totaled 22 saves and improved to 12-13-3. WMU's Daniel Bellissimo totaled 17 saves and took the loss. He came in for starting goalie Riley Gill, who was pulled after Lake Superior State scored its second goal. Gill had one save.

Lake Superior State is enjoying its winningest season since 1999-00 when the Lakers won 18 games. The Lakers are 4-2 in their last six games in Taffy Abel Arena.

Playoff tickets will go on sale beginning at 8 a.m. Monday at the Norris Center Ticket Office. Tickets can also be purchased on the web site. They are $10 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for LSSU students. LSSU housing units will remain open for students wanting to attend the games.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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