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Lakers hope to 'Pack the Pullar' on Saturday



Trent Campbell

Oct. 3, 2006

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State's theme going into Saturday's hockey season opener against Lakehead University is "Old-Time Hockey, Old-Time Jerseys, Old-Time Stadium, Old-Time Prices - Pack the Pullar."

LSSU returns to the first home of Laker Hockey for its exhibition game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Pullar Stadium in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. The Lakers moved into what is now Taffy Abel Arena in 1976 after playing at the Pullar for 10 years.

To learn more about Laker Hockey's early days at Pullar Stadium, see the story in the feature's section of www.lssulakers.com.

Tickets for Saturday's game are $5 for adults and $3 for children and LSSU students with a valid school ID. Tickets are available at the LSSU Norris Center Ticket Office, but are not part of the season-ticket package. Media passes are also available for the game, but there will be no seating available in the Pullar Stadium press box except for local radio. Contact LSSU sports information director Linda Bouvet, 906-635-2601, for a media pass.

LSSU returns 12 letter-winners from last year's squad, which finished 15-14-7 for the Lakers' best record since the 1999-00 season. Among those returnees are three of the team's top four scorers from 2005-06, including senior Trent Campbell (14-12--26), sophomore Troy Schwab (8-16--24) and senior Dominic Osman (9-9--18). LSSU also returns Central Collegiate Hockey Association First-Team goaltender Jeff Jakaitis, who is listed as a College Hockey News pre-season All-America "Player to Watch" for 2006-07.

Lakehead returns 14 players from its 2005-06 squad, which finished 26-18-4 and earned a silver medal at the 2006 Canadian collegiate nationals. The Thunderwolves' top returnees are senior captain Jeff Richards (23-18-41) and junior goaltender Chris Whitley (2.58 goals-against average, .920 save percentage). Lakehead all-time scoring leader Joel Scherban graduated in 2006.

Lakehead's stop in Sault Ste. Marie will conclude a three-game stint against U.S. teams. The Thunderwolves are also traveling to Minnesota-Duluth on Thursday and Michigan Tech on Friday.

Last season, LSSU and Lakehead met for the first time since 1987. The Lakers shut out the Thunderwolves 4-0 last December during the first round of the TBAY-TEL Varsity Cup in Thunder Bay, Ont. Campbell, senior Jeff Rainville, junior Dan Eves and sophomore Josh Sim scored Laker goals in that contest.

Jim Roque, who is in his second season as the Lakers' coach, expects to have a team that may go through some growing pains defensively, but will be a better skating team than past squads. He expects this group to adapt well to the CCHA's year-old initiative to eliminate obstruction from the game.

"We graduated a lot of guys from last year, but I am very enthusiastic about our team," Roque said during last week's CCHA Media Day at Joe Louis Arena. "We have six seniors who have been biding their time, following the gentlemen who graduated last year. Now they are getting the chance to lead our team and be the go-to guys on our team."

LSSU's senior class includes Jakaitis, Campbell, Osman, Rainville, defenseman Barnabas Birkeland and forward Derek R. Smith. Birkeland will serve as the Lakers' captain in 2006-07.



Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
 
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