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Lakers will play seven of first eight hockey games at home

Trent Campbell

May 5, 2005

SAULT STE. MARIE - Ferris State, Northern Michigan and Western Michigan will be Lake Superior State's cluster rivals during the 2005-06 hockey season.

The Lakers, who have announced next season's schedule, will play four games against those three Central Collegiate Hockey Association opponents and two games against the remaining league teams. Their non-conference schedule includes rematches with Colgate on Oct. 14-15 and Bemidji State on Dec. 9-10. Last year, LSSU opened the regular season with back-to-back one-goal losses to the Raiders. The Lakers split their series with the Beavers, who have rekindled a rivalry with LSSU that dates back to the beginning of Laker hockey.

LSSU has added a home series against Robert Morris, which is in its second year of NCAA Division I ice hockey, to its schedule. The Lakers will play host to York and the USNTDP Under-18 squad in exhibition games during its opening weekend on Oct. 7-8. Seven of LSSU's first eight games of 2005-06 will be at Taffy Abel Arena.

The annual "Home-and-Joe Series" will begin on Thursday, Feb. 23, with a home game against Michigan State. That contest will also be the final regular-season home game for LSSU's 12 seniors. On Saturday, Feb. 25, the Lakers and MSU will face off at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7:35 p.m.

LSSU will play the majority of its home games during the first half of the season. Thirteen of 19 home dates are scheduled prior to the three-week Christmas holiday break.

The CCHA has changed its playoff format, forcing the regular season to be shortened by one week. The CCHA Playoffs will be three weeks instead of two with the first round including only the bottom eight teams. First-round winners will play the league's top four teams during the second round, eliminating the two quarterfinal games at Joe Louis Arena. The CCHA semifinals and finals will be March 17-18 at The Joe.

Generally, the quarterfinal games at The Joe have been poorly attended. This new format will give more teams a chance to host a playoff series. The CCHA reintroduced the four-team system used in 18 of the 24 years since the event was first held at The Joe in 1982. The "Super 6" format was utilized for the past four years, including 2005, and six teams also participated in 1993 and 1994.

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