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Lakers play non-conference home series against Wayne State

Matt Martello

Nov. 14, 2006

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State's hockey team will tune up for next week's marathon trip to Alaska with a non-conference home series against Wayne State.

LSSU (6-4-0 overall) is playing Wayne State for the first time since Jan. 4-5, 2002, when the Warriors swept the Lakers, 4-2 and 3-2, in Detroit. In their only other series against WSU, which was held Oct. 13-14, 2000, in Sault Ste. Marie, the Lakers swept the series, 2-1 and 6-3.

The Lakers and Warriors meet at 7:35 p.m. on Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games will be broadcast live on WSUE 101.3 FM and simulcast on

Although WSU (2-7-0 overall) competes in College Hockey America, the Warriors are a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival at the NCAA Division II level and not unfamiliar to the Lakers. Wayne State is coached by former Western Michigan coach Bill Wilkinson, who is in his eighth season and no stranger to Central Collegiate Hockey Association competition. In fact, the Warriors' only other CCHA opponent so far this season was the Broncos, who blanked WSU 4-0 on Nov. 4.

Wayne State's roster includes former Laker John Nogatch, who played at LSSU during the 2004-05 season, and former Soo Indians Junior A players Stavros Paskaris and Derek Punches.

LSSU is coming off a split with 2006 CCHA regular-season champion and current league leader Miami. The Lakers opened last weekend's series with a 2-1 win, but lost the second game 4-2. Both contests were close from start to finish, and LSSU coach Jim Roque noted that the Lakers played an almost mistake-free game on Friday, but the RedHawks' experience showed against a younger Laker team Saturday.

LSSU was 0-for-9 on the power play against Miami, but the RedHawks didn't fare much better, going 1-for-7 for the weekend and 0-for-2 on Friday. LSSU was the first team to hold Miami's power-play scoreless in a game this season.

Junior defenseman Derek A. Smith was originally credited with both Laker goals in last Friday's win, but it was later determined that the goals were tipped by Trent Campbell and Matt Martello, respectively. Smith assisted on both goals and improved his season total to 0-9--9, which ranks him 19th nationally in scoring among defensemen. The CCHA players ahead of him are: Alaska's Tyler Eckford (4-9--13), Ohio State's Jason DeSantis (1-10--11), Michigan's Jack Johnson (6-4--10) and Nebraska-Omaha's Juha Uotila (1-8--9). Smith is also ranked sixth in the league overall and second among defensemen in power-play points with 0-7--7.

Campbell, a senior forward, is currently leading the Lakers in scoring at 3-7--10. He is followed by Smith and freshman Nathan Perkovich (6-2--8). Senior Jeff Rainville (6-1--7) and Perkovich share the lead for most goals scored. Perkovich is tied for second in the CCHA in power-play goals with four, while Rainville is tied for first in game-winning goals with three.

Senior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis (4-3-0) is ranked second nationally in save percentage at .945 and 10th nationally in goals-against average at 2.01. He has been splitting time with freshman goalie Pat Ingis (2-1-0), who has a save percentage of .897 and gaa of 3.25.

Note: The Norris Center Ticket Office has tickets available for the Lakers' game at Northern Michigan (Dec. 2), the Badger Classic in Madison, Wis. (Dec. 29-30) and the Michigan State series in East Lansing (Jan. 19-20). Ticket manager Bonnie Kaunisto noted that fans should not wait until the last minute to purchase away-game tickets, because remaining tickets must be turned in 10 days prior to the contest.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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