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Hockey team to begin an extended home stand



Sophomore Derek Smith

Nov. 9, 2004

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Lake Superior State hockey team has a chance to make a major move in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association standings when they begin an extended home stand with a Friday-Saturday series against Alaska Fairbanks.

The Lakers (1-5-0 overall, 1-3-0 CCHA) and Nanooks (4-2-0 overall, 3-1-0 CCHA) play at 7:35 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM and simulcast on www.lssulakers.com.

Recent history has shown that the home team has a distinct advantage in league play. Last season, CCHA teams had a .641 win percentage on home ice. Only two teams (LSSU and Nebraska-Omaha) had losing records at home.

Consequently, LSSU must make the most of its opportunity to play seven of its next eight games at home. Three of the next four series are against league opponents with one being a home-and-home series against Northern Michigan. The rest of the Lakers' schedule includes several long road trips and is arguably the most-grueling in the CCHA.

LSSU was idle last week and split a series two weeks ago at Bowling Green. The Lakers opened at BGSU with an impressive 5-1 Friday victory, but followed with a 2-1 loss on Saturday. Juniors Mike Adamek and Nathan Ward led LSSU with two goals each during the series.

The Lakers dropped to 0-4 in one-goal games - a trend they would definitely like to reverse by picking up the big goal at key times.

LSSU and UAF are playing in each other's buildings for the first time since the 1998-99 season when CCHA teams played three games against each other. The Lakers lead the all-time series, 18-8-1, including a 12-5-0 advantage in Taffy Abel Arena. Last season, the teams split in Sault Ste. Marie with LSSU winning the opener, 7-2, and the Nanooks taking the second game, 7-4.

Several returning Lakers had a big weekend against UAF last year. Sophomore Derek R. Smith led the way with three goals and one assist, followed by junior Colin Nicholson (3-0--3), sophomore Dominic Osman (1-3--4), junior Jon Booras (0-3--3) and sophomore Trent Campbell (0-3--3). Five other returning players picked up at least a point.

After winning easily during the Friday game of last year's series, the Lakers fell behind 5-1 after a period and a half on Saturday. They scored three goals with the goalie pulled in favor on an extra attacker, but gave up two empty-net goals during the final eight minutes.

UAF freshman goaltender Wylie Rogers was named CCHA goaltender of the week after stopping 68-of-71 shots to lead the Nanooks to 3-1 and 3-2 home victories over Nebraska-Omaha last weekend. UAF's record also includes series splits at Western Michigan and Alaska Anchorage.

The Nanooks, under first-year coach Tavis MacMillan, currently lead the CCHA in penalty killing with a .919 efficiency rate. LSSU's power-play unit had a disappointing weekend at Bowling Green, but has shown improvement since last season. The Lakers will continue to strive for discipline as they are ranked second in the league in average penalty minutes per game.

"Our players know how I feel about the march to the penalty box," LSSU coach Frank Anzalone said while in a conversation about the NCAA's controversial rule enforcement initiative. "We're not taking needless slashing penalties, tripping penalties or lazy hooking penalties. We hope we don't obstruct, but we do sometimes."

Weekend activities
• This weekend's LSSU-UAF hockey series will include several special promotions and activities. Anyone with an LSSU student I.D. can obtain a free ticket to Friday's game prior to game time. The ticket giveaway is sponsored by LSSU's Student Government, Activities Board, Student Assembly and Department of Athletics. The groups are also sponsoring a student tailgate beginning at 6:30 p.m. Student tickets will be available in the Norris Center lobby.

• A t-shirt exchange will be held during the tailgate party. Students can bring a t-shirt from another university and trade it in for a free Laker t-shirt or purchase a Laker t-shirt for $5. T-shirts that are traded in will be donated to charity.

• Canadian money will be at par when purchasing tickets to Saturday's game.

• LSSU will be celebrating Parents Weekend and will introduce the parents of Laker hockey players during first intermission on Saturday.



Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
 
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