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Lakers play host to Ferris State in weekend series

Derek R. Smith

Nov. 16, 2004

SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State will looking for solid back-to-back performances when it plays host to Ferris State in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association series on Friday at 7:35 p.m. and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena.

The Lakers (2-6-0 overall, 2-4-0 CCHA) are coming off a CCHA home split with Alaska Fairbanks after winning 6-2 last Friday and losing 2-0 last Saturday. They have won their last two Friday games, but have dropped to 0-4 on Saturdays. Last week's game against UAF was their first Saturday loss at home.

The Lakers are in the midst of a four-week stretch during which seven of eight games will be played at home. They have a chance to even their CCHA record with a good showing against the Bulldogs (4-8-0 overall, 1-5-0 CCHA), and a .500 record would equal their best start since 2000-01 when Frank Anzalone first took over the LSSU program.

Last Friday, LSSU pressured Alaska Fairbanks from start to finish and broke the game open with three second-period goals. Senior goaltender Matt Violin (1-1) totaled 31 saves to pick up a win in his first start of the season.

"I liked the way we played early in the game," Anzalone said. "I don't think we played a complete game, but I think we did some really great things that we can build on."

Last Saturday, LSSU didn't match the first-period intensity it had the night before. The Lakers had to kill off three straight penalties starting at the end of the opening period and never did get their offense on track. UAF scored the game-winning goal 10 seconds into the third period and completely deflated LSSU.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are coming off two non-conference home victories over Connecticut. Their only CCHA win was a 1-0 victory over Michigan. Ferris State and U-M split that home-and-home series in late October. Ohio State and Michigan State swept FSU in recent league series.

The only other common opponent was non-conference Colgate, which also swept Ferris State with back-to-back 4-2 wins. FSU is struggling defensively, giving up a league-worst 3.42 goals per game. The Bulldogs are also ranked 12th in the league in save percentage at .890 and ninth in average penalty minutes per game at 25.67.

LSSU is ranked second in the league in goals-against at 2.62 and second in average penalty minutes per game (14.12), but 11th in scoring at 2.50 goals per game.

The Lakers lead the all-time series against Ferris State, 56-37-7, including a 27-16-3 advantage at home. They hope to pick up where they left off against the Bulldogs. They won 4-2 in Game 2 of last year's series in Big Rapids and snapped a seven-game losing streak against FSU.

This weekend's series will include several former Soo Indians players: LSSU senior forward Bo Cheesman, sophomore forward Dominic Osman and freshman defenseman Justin Gutwald; and FSU freshman defenseman Jim Jorgensen and freshman goaltender Derek McIntyre. Jorgensen and Bulldog volunteer assistant coach Tim Blashill are Sault Ste. Marie natives.

Notes: Last Friday's student ticket give-away was a success. LSSU Student Government and Activities Board bought 350 tickets to give away to students, and all of the tickets were used. The student section in Taffy Abel Arena was packed for the Lakers' 6-2 victory over Alaska-Fairbanks. The t-shirt exchange held during the pre-game tailgate party generated $120, which will be given to a local charity. Student government hopes to sponsor similar promotions at upcoming games.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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