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Lakers hope to get on winning track at BGSU

Jeff Jakaitis

Oct. 26, 2004

SAULT STE. MARIE - Central Collegiate Hockey Association games between Lake Superior State and Bowling Green State were the source of two scoreless ties in 2003-04.

The Lakers (0-4-0 overall, 0-2-0 CCHA) will be looking for more scoring in this weekend's series at BGSU, which is the Falcons' league and home opener. Friday's game will begin at 7:05 p.m., while Saturday's contest will be a 2:30 p.m. matinee.

LSSU and BGSU (2-0-0 overall, 0-0-0 CCHA) were 1-1-2 against each other last season with both teams picking up a win and a tie on home ice. This year, the Lakers and Falcons are not cluster opponents, so this weekend's series will be the only regular-season meeting between the two teams.

As a rookie, Laker goaltender Jeff Jakaitis totaled 30 saves in a 0-0 deadlock on Nov. 15, 2003, in Sault Ste. Marie. BGSU goalie Jordan Sigalet, then a junior, had 36 saves in that contest. Jakaitis stopped all 31 shots and Sigalet had 21 saves in another 0-0 tie on Feb. 14, 2004, in Bowling Green, Ohio.

As impressive as the goaltenders were, LSSU coach Frank Anzalone will most-likely remember that the Lakers were a combined 0-for-18 on the power play during that series.

So far in 2004-05, the Lakers' power play appears to be improved and earning more opportunities than their opponents. They are currently ranked fifth in overall games played and fourth in CCHA games at .200. Despite averaging more penalty minutes than they did last season, they are still one of the least-penalized teams in the league. They average a league-best 15.75 penalty minutes per game in overall games played and are ranked fifth in CCHA play at 19.50 pmpg.

Lake Superior State is coming off 4-3 and 5-2 losses to fourth-ranked Michigan last week, while Bowling Green defeated Union 5-1 and 1-0 in non-conference road games.

Last Thursday's home loss to the Wolverines was LSSU's third straight one-goal loss. The Lakers led in both games of the series by dominating most of the first two periods, but succumbed to U-M's mighty power play down the stretch.

"As a coaching staff, we thought Saturday's game was one of the best games the team has played since we've been back," LSSU coach Frank Anzalone said during his radio show on Monday. "During Thursday's game, their 5-on-3s wore out nine to 10 of our better players. They got three 5-on-3s, whether they deserved them or not, and they're too good for us to handle that."

Early in the season, the Lakers' offense appears to be more balanced than ever, with five players contributing multiple points and nine players picking up one point in their first four games. Jakaitis has started every game and maintained a 3.56 goals-against average and .894 save percentage. Senior goaltender Matt Violin's only appearance was in the third period of Thursday's contest.

BGSU is also looking for more scoring this season after playing in 27 games in 2003-04 that were decided by two goals or less. Falcon freshmen accounted for four of the six goals scored and eight of the 16 points tallied in the two games at Union.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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