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LSSU hockey team has first road test at Colgate



Nathan Ward

Oct. 12, 2004

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Lake Superior State hockey team is aware that last week's 15-1 exhibition victory over Toronto can't be used as an accurate measuring stick for how the Lakers will fare against the rest of the teams on their schedule.

LSSU coach Frank Anzalone said the performance indicates that the Lakers are ahead of where they were at this time last season.

"Our conditioning showed that we are in pretty good shape," Anzalone said. "If you compare it to last year's Blue-White Game and last year's Canadian game, I think you can say we are a step better than we have been in the past. It is a sign that the program is improving and hopefully going in the right direction."

Anzalone will be looking for the same "enthusiasm going up the ice" when the Lakers play their first road games at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Colgate (2-0). The Raiders, who are coming off last weekend's sweep at Ferris State, have received honorable mention in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll during the last two weeks and are on the verge of breaking into the top 15.

Anzalone expects much closer games at Colgate, but hopes to see the same energy and confidence from his players that he saw last week, even if they are down 2-1 with 10 minutes to go.

"You can say anything you want about at 15-1 game," he noted.

The difference between this year and the last three, however, is that Anzalone now has a team dominated by upperclassmen who have served their time in the trenches and shouldn't crack in pressure situations. Players like captains Bo Cheesman, Steve McJannet and Nathan Ward expect a lot from themselves and each other this year.

"We have some upperclassmen who have speed and strength and experience," Anzalone said. "They have the ability to compete in this league...We grow that. We don't do things for one year of success."

LSSU has an all-time record of 0-3 against Colgate. The Lakers suffered 3-2 and 2-1 losses at Hamilton, N.Y., during the 1990 NCAA Regional Tournament, and a 3-2 overtime loss in December, 1984.

Colgate finished 22-12-5 overall and first in the East Coast Athletic Conference last season. The Raiders return 18 players from that squad, including their top three scorers: junior forward Jon Smyth (21-21--42), senior forward Adam Mitchell (14-19--33) and junior forward Kyle Wilson (14-17--31). They also return senior goaltender Steve Silverthorn, who was 18-9-4 with a 1.82 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 2003-04.

Silverthorn's GAA ranked fifth, nationally, in 2003-04, while Jeff Jakaitis of LSSU ranked ninth at 2.13 as a freshman. Jakaitis was ranked third at .933 and Silverthorn fifth in save percentage.

Colgate sophomore defenseman Mike Campaner was named ECAC Player of the Week after totaling five assists and a plus/minus rating of plus-seven during last week's 5-4 and 4-2 victories at Ferris State.

LSSU's journey to Colgate will be the first of the Lakers' two trips to New York during the first half of the season. They play at non-conference series at St. Lawrence on Dec. 18-19, just after taking final exams.

Both LSSU hockey games will air live on Rock 101 and simulcast on www.lssulakers.com.



Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
 
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