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CCHA's No. 1 and No. 3 teams to square off in the Sault

Troy Schwab

Nov. 8, 2005

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Central Collegiate Hockey Association's No. 1 and No. 3 teams will square off this weekend when Lake Superior State entertains 10th-ranked Miami in a weekend series.

The third-place Lakers (3-2-3 overall, 2-2-2 CCHA) play host to the first-place RedHawks (5-1-0 overall, 4-0-0 CCHA) at 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. It will be LSSU's third series against a ranked team in five weeks. The Lakers are 2-2 against ranked opponents this season.

Both teams are coming off CCHA sweeps. The Lakers shocked Western Michigan with a 10-0 win last Friday and won Saturday's game 3-1 for their first series sweep since October, 2002, and first CCHA sweep since December, 2000. The Broncos went into that series confident after sweeping the Ohio State Buckeyes, who were ranked No. 4 at the time.

Last weekend, Miami extended OSU's losing streak to four games by beating the Buckeyes 3-1 and 4-1 in a home-and-home series. The RedHawks are off to a 4-0-0 start in league play for the first time in coach Enrico Blasi's tenure. Miami's last 4-0-0 start was during the 1996-97 season when the RedHawks won five in a row to start the conference slate. That team won 27-12-1 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

The last time a Laker team won by a 10-goal margin was in 1994, and the Lakers won the NCAA Championship that year.

LSSU's big scorers last weekend were junior forwards Jeff Rainville and Trent Campbell, who both totaled two goals and three assists for the series, and freshman forward Troy Schwab, who finished with three goals and one assist. Rainville moved up to a fifth-place tie in CCHA scoring at 2-5--7, while Campbell, at 3-3--6, is tied for ninth.

Junior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis stopped 49 out of 50 shots on goal to earn CCHA Goaltender of the Week honors. Friday's win was his fourth career shutout and second shutout victory. He currently has the league's third-best goals-against average of 1.83.

LSSU and Miami both saw their power-play units make major strides last weekend. After going scoreless in three straight games, the Lakers were 7-for-20 with the man advantage against the Broncos. Their penalty-killing unit shut down a WMU power play that scored seven goals against OSU.

Miami's power-play was 3-for-40 in its first five games, but went 3-for-7 against the Buckeyes last Saturday. Junior forward Marty Guerin tallied two of his team's three power-play goals during a five-minute advantage in the first period.

LSSU leads the all-time series against Miami, 50-24-10, including a 32-6-4 advantage at home. Last season, the Lakers and RedHawks split their series in Oxford, Ohio, with LSSU winning 3-2 in their only game televised on FSN-Detroit. The following night, Miami scored five first-period goals won handily, 8-3. LSSU senior forward Nathan Ward had two goals and an assist in last year's 3-2 victory over the RedHawks. He finished 2-2--4 for the weekend.

Notes: Make your plans now for LSSU's upcoming special promotions. The Friday, Nov. 25, game against Robert Morris is "First Responders Night," and area emergency services workers will be special guests of Laker Hockey. LSSU will also be hosting "Youth Hockey Night" in the near future. Check for more details.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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