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Lakers to journey to Alaska for Thanksgiving series

Jeff Rainville

Nov. 21, 2006

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Lake Superior State hockey team departs today for the long trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, and this weekend's Central Collegiate Hockey Association series at Alaska.

The Lakers (8-4-0 overall, 3-3-0 CCHA) and Nanooks (5-2-3 overall, 3-1-2 CCHA) play at 11:05 EST on Friday and Saturday at the Carlson Center. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM via a feed and simulcast on

The Lakers resume league play after sweeping Wayne State 3-0 and 4-2 in a non-conference home series last weekend. LSSU split its three CCHA series so far, including two on the road.

Lake Superior State is traveling to Fairbanks for the first time since Jan. 28-29, 2005, when the Lakers and Nanooks skated to 2-2 and 1-1 ties. When he was a sophomore, Laker goaltender Jeff Jakaitis totaled a career-high 49 saves in Game 1 of that series.

The teams have tied three of the last four games played at Alaska dating back to Janauary, 2003, but LSSU is 3-1-2 in its last six games against the Nanooks, including last season's 4-2 and 3-2 sweep in Sault Ste. Marie.

Jakaitis is ranked second nationally and tied for first in the CCHA with Notre Dame's David Brown in save percentage at .950. He is fifth nationally and No. 1 in the CCHA in goals-against average (1.72). LSSU freshman goalie Pat Inglis is ranked ninth in the league in GAA (3.00) and eighth in save percentage (.898).

Jakaitis notched his second shutout of the season last Friday against Wayne State to tie LSSU's record for career shutouts at nine. He tied the mark held by Blaine Lacher, who played at LSSU from 1991-94. Lacher also holds the school record for consecutive scoreless minutes at 375:01. Jakaitis, meanwhile, is on track to become LSSU's career leader in save percentage (.924).

"Jeff was making his usual big saves, but Coach challenged us (Friday) night to get it for him," LSSU captain Barnabas Birkeland said. "It couldn't happen to a better guy. How can you not want it for him after everything he's been through. I'm so happy for him."

Freshman forward Nathan Perkovich (8-3--11) heads into this weekend's series as a CCHA leader in power-play goals with five. He also leads CCHA rookies in goals scored and is tied for third in overall points by a freshman. Junior Derek A. Smith (1-9--10) is ranked fifth in the CCHA scoring among defensemen, while senior Jeff Rainville (6-2--8) is tied for first in the CCHA in game-winning goals with three. Senior Trent Campbell (5-8--13) is LSSU's top scorer and tied for 13th in league scoring.

Alaska was idle last weekend and picked up one point following a 2-2 tie and 3-2 loss at Northern Michigan on Nov. 10-11. The Nanooks' loss to NMU snapped a six-game unbeaten streak. Their leading scorer, junior forward Kyle Greentree (8-9--17), was held scoreless in that series.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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