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Lake State to play season's first CCHA home series

Derek R. Smith

Nov. 7, 2006

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State takes on defending regular-season champion Miami this weekend during its first Central Collegiate Hockey Association home series of the season.

The Lakers (5-3-0 overall, 2-2-0 CCHA) and RedHawks (7-3-0 overall, 4-2-0 CCHA) play at 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games will be broadcast live on WSUE 101.3 FM and simulcast live on A live video webcast of the game is also available on the B2 network for a small fee. Fans can access the B2 network link via the Lakers' web site.

Fourth-ranked Miami is once again proving to be one of the league's contenders. The RedHawks are led by NCAA scoring leader Nathan Davis (9-12--21), who tallied his school-record ninth short-handed goal during last weekend's home split with Northern Michigan. He totaled four goals and three assists in last weekend's 5-1 win and 4-2 loss to the Wildcats.

The RedHawks are also ranked third in the CCHA and 12th nationally in team defense, allowing only 2.30 goals per game.

LSSU's young blue-line corps is ranked a respectable 18th nationally in team defense, allowing 2.62 goals-against. The Lakers won last Friday's game at Bowling Green State, 3-1, despite playing with only five defensemen, including junior Justin Gutwald, who drove down that day to meet the team, and two rookies (Steven Oleksy and Simon Gysbers). Starting defensemen Marty Gurnoe and Steven Kaunisto fell ill during the trip, but played on Saturday.

"They kept everything simple, tried to battle away, nothing over-complicated," LSSU coach Jim Roque told "Those five D were the difference in the game. They never got tired. They battled and fought hard."

Senior forward Jeff Rainville scored at 11:11 of the second period in Friday's game to record his third game-winning goal of the season. He leads the CCHA and the nation in that category.

Freshman forward Nathan Perkovich scored the game's first goal to extend his goal-scoring streak to six games, but the streak ended when the New Jersey draft pick was held scoreless in Saturday's 4-2 loss. The longest goal-scoring streaks of some former Laker greats during their rookie seasons were three games each by Doug Weight (1989-90) and Brian Rolston (1991-92), and two by Jim Dowd (1987-88).

Senior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis (3-3-0), who stopped 34 of 35 shots last Friday and played the first 30 minutes of last Saturday's 4-2 loss to BGSU, heads into this weekend's series ranked second in the nation in save percentage at .942 and 18th in goals-against at 2.21.

While Perkovich (6-1--7) and Rainville (5-1--6) lead the Lakers in goals, senior forwards Trent Campbell (2-6--8) and Derek R. Smith (1-5--6), and junior defenseman Derek A. Smith (0-7--7) lead in assists.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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