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Irish shut out LSSU in CCHA semifinal contest

Coach Jim Roque, Jeff Jakaitis and Dan Eves at the CCHA post-game press conference

March 16, 2007

DETROIT - The Lake Superior State hockey team is one game away from having an unpredictable and heart-pounding season come to an end after falling 3-0 to No. 1-ranked Notre Dame on Friday during the semifinal round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs.

The Lakers (21-18-3) will play either Michigan or Michigan State in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

"Tomorrow will be our last day together with this team," said a visibly emotional coach Jim Roque, who wants nothing more than to see his six seniors go out on a high note and has no fear of his team lacking motivation for a consolation game. "They will show up. They owe it to this guy right here and the rest of the seniors."

Roque was referring to senior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis, who was sitting next to him during the post-game press conference.

Jeff Jakaitis

Top-seeded Notre Dame (30-6-3) took a 1-0 lead on Wes O'Neill's power-play goal at 9:46 of the first period. The Fighting Irish made it 2-0 when Brock Sheehan scored from the point at 8:46 of the second period.

After getting out-shot 14-4 in the first period, the Lakers had the better of the scoring chances late in the game. Trent Campbell created an outstanding opportunity at 8:10 of the third period, but his shot was deflected wide. UND goaltender David Brown, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, stopped a Dan Eves break-away at 11:22, and Brown came up with another big save on Simon Gysbers' shot from the point at 15:48.

Notre Dame completed the scoring with an empty-net goal by Christian Hanson at 17:33.

"When you're going up against a great goaltender like Jakaitis, you have to make sure you shut them down, because you may only win one-nothing," said UND coach Jeff Jackson of his team's defense, which held LSSU to 17 shots on goal for the game. "And that's just about what it was."

Jakaitis totaled 26 saves, while Brown stopped all 17 shots for his sixth shutout of the season. LSSU was 0-for-5 on the power play, while UND finished 1-for-4.

LSSU was participating in its first CCHA semifinal since 1996. Notre Dame will be making its first appearance in the CCHA finals since 1982.

"I give Notre Dame a lot of credit," Roque said. "They are a very good team that could go a long way in the NCAA Tournament. But I didn't think we had our 'A' game like we've had the last few weeks. I don't know if emotionally we just couldn't get it back up again. We've had several guys who could only practice one or two days this week. We're hoping to recover and give the fans a good showing tomorrow.

"I only want one thing from the guys tomorrow. We have a tremendous senior class that put us in a position to get here, and we owe those guys this game tomorrow."

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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