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Lakers travel to OSU for CCHA-opening series



Marty Gurnoe

Oct. 10, 2006

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Lake Superior State hockey team, which travels to 19th-ranked Ohio State for a Friday-Saturday series, is playing its Central Collegiate Hockey Association opener on the road for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

For the first time since 2001-02, the Lakers officially open their season against a CCHA opponent rather than a non-conference foe.

LSSU and the Buckeyes play at 7:05 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the 17,500-seat Value City Arena. OSU, which is 84-42-14 in its seven-year-old facility, opens the season with eight of its first 10 games in Columbus, Ohio. Both of this weekend's games will be broadcast live on WSUE 101.3 FM and simulcast on www.lssulakers.com.

With 18 returning letterwinners, Ohio State is one of the most-experienced teams in the CCHA, while LSSU is one of the league's youngest teams with 12 returning letterwinners. The contrast could be sharpest on defense, where the Buckeyes return six of seven letterwinners, including seniors Sean Collins, Matt Waddell and Tyson Strachan. Their lone graduate on the blue line was team captain Nate Guenin.

LSSU's defensive pairings in last weekend's 3-1 exhibition loss to Lakehead included senior captain Barnabas Birkeland with junior Justin Gutwald, junior Derek A. Smith with freshman Simon Gysbers, and Sault Ste. Marie natives Marty Gurnoe, a sophomore, and Steven Kaunisto, a freshman. Freshman Steven Oleksy rotated in as a seventh defenseman.

Freshman Ryan Baird is out with a shoulder injury. Gysbers and Smith had a plus-minus rating of +1 for the game.

Lake Superior State is winless (0-11-2) in 13 games against the Buckeyes. Last season, OSU blanked LSSU 3-0 and 4-0, but the Lakers bounced back from those losses by going 6-0-1 in their next seven games.

Ohio State, ranked fourth in the CCHA pre-season coaches poll, is a CCHA cluster opponent for LSSU this season, and the Lakers will also play a home series against the Buckeyes on Jan. 26-27. Other cluster opponents include Northern Michigan and Miami.



Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
 
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