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Lakers to face injury-riddled Wolverines

Nov. 12, 2002

SAULT STE. MARIE - Michigan's hockey team has not lost in Yost Arena since last season's Central Collegiate Hockey Association First-Round Playoff Series when 12th-seeded Lake Superior State upset the No. 1-seeded Wolverines 4-3 in Game 1.

U-M is riding a 13-game home unbeaten streak heading into this weekend's series with LSSU, but its winning streak came to an end with last Saturday's 1-1 tie against Bowling Green. The Lakers (3-7-0 overall, 0-6-0 CCHA) and Wolverines (6-1-1 overall, 3-0-1 CCHA) play Friday and Saturday at 7:35 p.m.

LSSU is dealing with a streak of another kind. The Lakers have never lost their first six CCHA games until this year. Previously, their worst start was 0-5-1 in 1998-99. They are coming off last weekend's 4-1 and 5-2 home losses to Ohio State.

Lake Superior State coach Frank Anzalone is focusing on keeping things simple as the Lakers continue through a very difficult first half. LSSU was 0-for-11 on the power play last weekend and struggled to create scoring chances except in the third period of Saturday's game.

Anzalone is not discouraged by the Lakers' CCHA record, although he knows that his upperclassmen are becoming more desperate to score goals. Freshmen scored all three goals during the OSU series. Anzalone is pleased with the progress his 15 freshmen are making and credits the upperclassmen with helping them to develop.

"The freshmen are doing a great job," said Anzalone, who usually has 10 or 11 rookies in the lineup. "What they are learning, they are learning from the upperclassmen."

Michigan has not lost much ground despite losing several players to injury, illness and suspensions. U-M senior captain Jed Ortmeyer suffered a knee injury in Friday's 6-4 victory over BGSU and will be out four to six weeks. Sophomore forward Milan Gajic is still out due to academic suspension.

Michigan's leading scorer from last season, forward John Shouneyia, and defenseman Andy Burnes returned to the Wolverine lineup for last weekend's series against Bowling Green. Shouneyia had been out six games with a wrist injury, while Burnes had missed five games with an unknown injury. This weekend, U-M sophomore forward Jason Ryznar is expected to return from an injury.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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