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LSSU and U-M to play first two-game series in Sault Ste. Marie since 1996

Lakers honor U.S. and Canada

Nov. 13, 2007

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Central Collegiate Hockey Association owns the top three spots in both national polls for the second straight week. Lake Superior State will take on one of those teams, the University of Michigan, in its first CCHA home series of the season.

Michigan (9-1-0 overall, 6-0-0 CCHA) is ranked No. 1 in this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and No. 2 behind Miami in the Poll. Miami is No. 2 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll, while Michigan State is third in both polls.

The Lakers (2-5-1 overall, 0-2-0 CCHA) and Wolverines play at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. The games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM and the B2 Network. Free audio web streaming is available on In celebration of the opening weekend of firearm deer season, the Lakers are declaring "Open Season on the Wolverines," and fans can wear hunter's orange, flannel or camouflage in support of LSSU. Thundersticks will be given out to fans on Friday. Saturday's first intermission will feature Turkey Bowling sponsored by Dondee Lanes and Neville's Superette.

The CCHA includes several teams whose lineups are dominated by underclassmen in 2007-08. Matchups between Lake Superior State and Michigan, or Northern Michigan and Ohio State, or No. 10 Notre Dame and any of the above-mentioned teams could potentially be transformed into one of the greatest JV games of all time.

LSSU dressed 15 underclassmen, including eight freshmen, for last weekend's non-conference series at Wayne State, which was the Lakers' first opponent that hasn't been mentioned in the national polls so far this season. Michigan has been dressing 12 or 13 underclassmen, and regularly skating six freshmen forwards and four rookie defensemen. Six U-M rookies are currently listed among the top 11 on the CCHA freshman scoring list with a combined total of 15-32--47. Upperclassmen, however, still dominate the league's overall scoring lead, so the stars haven't fallen out of alignment quite yet.

LSSU and Michigan are playing a two-game series in Sault Ste. Marie for the first time since Feb. 23-24, 1996. For the past 11 years, Lake Superior State has been contracted to split a home series with either Michigan or Michigan State and play one home game a year at Joe Louis Arena. With the expiration of that contract, which helped fund the Gem of the North construction project in Taffy Abel Arena, LSSU is thrilled to have the opportunity to resume home series with two of the nation's most-recognized college hockey programs. Over the past 10 years, the Lakers are 3-4-0 against the Wolverines in Taffy Abel Arena, but they have an all-time home record of 22-14-3 against U-M.

Lake Superior State is coming off a split at Wayne State that included a 3-2 win on Friday and a 2-1 loss on Saturday. Sophomore forward Nathan Perkovich scored a goal in both games to extend his streak to seven goals in eight games.

Michigan swept a home series with Alaska, winning 4-0 and 4-2. The Wolverines also swept Northern Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha on the road this season. U-M, Miami, Notre Dame, Ferris State, UNO, NMU and Ohio State all have at least four CCHA games in hand on the Lakers. Michigan State, Bowling Green, Western Michigan and Alaska have two or three games in hand, so LSSU has ample opportunity to gain ground in the points race.

Michigan, whose only loss was to No. 12 Minnesota, 4-3, at the Ice Breaker Tournament in St. Paul, Minn., on Oct. 13, are led by seniors Kevin Porter (9-3--12) and Chad Kolarik (6-6--12), and freshman Aaron Palushaj (3-6--9). Junior goaltender Billy Sauer has a goals-against average of 2.19 and save percentage of .904, and is riding a shutout streak of 128:30.

U-M's roster includes 13 NHL draft picks, including first-rounders Mark Mitera (junior defenseman), Max Pacioretty (freshman forward) and Chris Summers (sophomore defenseman). Palushaj went in the second round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and freshman defenseman Kevin Quick is a third-round pick.

This weekend's series will feature only five four-year players: Porter and Kolarik of Michigan, and Dan Eves, Justin Gutwald and Jason Blain of Lake Superior State.

Perkovich currently leads the Lakers in scoring with 7-0--7, followed by Eves at 2-4--6 and freshman Chad Nehring at 2-3--5. Perkovich is currently tied for fourth in the CCHA in power-play goals with four and tied for fifth in overall goals scored. LSSU sophomore goaltender Pat Inglis (1-3-1) has a 3.88 goals-against average and .859 save percentage, while freshman Brian Mahoney-Wilson (1-2-0) has a 2.06 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Mahoney-Wilson and Sauer are currently ranked third and fourth, respectively, in overall goals-against in the CCHA.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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