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Lakers to play a Thursday-Friday series at Notre Dame

Lakers celebrate a goal

Oct. 30, 2007

SAULT STE. MARIE - Establishing momentum and obtaining an early lead will be a priority for Lake Superior State coach Jim Roque and Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson when the Lakers take on 13th-ranked Notre Dame in their Central Collegiate Hockey Association opener.

The Lakers (1-2-1 overall, 0-0-0 CCHA) and Fighting Irish (4-3-0 overall, 2-1-0 CCHA) are playing a rare Thursday-Friday series, and both games begin at 7:35 p.m. at the Joyce Center. The games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM with a live feed on Comcast Local will televise them for South Bend, Ind., viewers.

Scoring the first goal of the game happened for the first time this season for Lake Superior State and only the second time for Notre Dame when the respective teams were playing at home last weekend. After losing 4-0 to eighth-ranked Clarkson last Friday, Sophomore Nathan Perkovich scored LSSU's first power-play goal of the season at 18:39 of the first period Saturday, giving the Lakers a 1-0 lead. LSSU continued to dominate the game and won 5-1.

When Notre Dame's Evan Rankin scored in the first period of Friday's 3-2 win at Ferris State, it marked the first time this season that the Irish scored the first goal of the game in the opening stanza and just the second time all season that they had the game's first goal. Last season, UND outscored the opposition 43-13 in the first period and tallied the game's first goal in 32 of 42 contests. The Irish were 26-4-2 in those games. The Lakers were 15-2-1 when scoring first last season.

Notre Dame, which played three games last week, including a midweek 4-3 win at Bowling Green State, lost 3-0 to FSU last Saturday for their first shutout loss since November, 2006. In that outing, Ferris State killed all 10 of UND's power-play chances and scored two short-handed goals. Despite the loss, the Irish successfully killed off 15 straight opponent power plays in the series. In fact, they haven't given up a power-play goal since the final minute of their season opener - 31 consecutive chances.

Jackson was quoted as saying that he'd like to see the same aggressiveness when his team is playing five-on-five that he sees when the Irish are killing penalties. Roque has been more focused on limiting costly penalties, and he hasn't dwelled on the power play. He is pleased with the progress his young squad is making with special teams play. The Lakers went 3-for-8 with the man-advantage against Clarkson on Saturday and snapped an 0-for-17 power-play drought.

LSSU is led in scoring by linemates Dan Eves and Chad Nehring, a senior and freshman who both have two goals and three assists this season, while Perkovich leads the Lakers in goals scored with three. Sophomore goaltender Pat Inglis (0-2-1) has a 3.49 goals-against average and .882 save percentage. Freshman netminder Brian Mahoney-Wilson, who was credited with Saturday's win in his first career start, so far has a perfect save percentage and 0.00 GAA. He left the game with 4:37 remaining to go due to a severe cramp and his team leading 5-0, but could not be credited for a shutout.

Notre Dame is led in scoring by freshman forward Ben Ryan (2-5-7), sophomore forward Ryan Thang (4-0--4) and senior forward Mark Van Guilder (4-0--4). Junior goaltender Jordan Pearce has played all seven games, and has a 2.16 GAA and .916 save percentage. Pearce is currently ranked fourth in the CCHA in those categories.

LSSU has lost four straight to the Fighting Irish, including all three games last season. Notre Dame was the nation's No. 1-ranked team when it shut out the Lakers, 3-0, during the CCHA Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena last March.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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