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Lakers to play defending national champion Michigan State

Zac MacVoy (27) and Dan Eves (10)

Nov. 27, 2007

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Lake Superior State hockey team is taking on the defending national champions for the first time in nine years.

Michigan State's post-season bid was on the line when the Spartans edged the Lakers 7-6 in overtime during the consolation game of last year's Central Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs. The Spartans went on to win four more games, including a 3-1 victory over Boston College for the NCAA title.

LSSU (2-9-1 overall, 0-6-0 CCHA), which lost two overtime decisions to MSU last season, plays host to the fifth-ranked Spartans at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM and simulcast on A pay-per-view video feed is available on the B2 Network.

This weekend's series includes several special events. A Teddy Bear Toss is scheduled for Friday when the Lakers score their first goal. Fans can bring a stuffed animal to toss, or they can purchase one at the game. The stuffed animals will be donated to family services and local law enforcement agencies.

On Saturday, the Lakers will pay tribute to long-time scorekeeper Bud Clarke, and the LSSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will hold a silent auction to benefit women's athletics and local charities.

Clarke has been with LSSU hockey since the program began, serving as public address announcer during the team's Pullar Stadium days until the mid 1990s. He was on the mic when current MSU Director of Athletics Ron Mason was the Lakers' coach (1966-73), when current MSU hockey coach Rick Comley was a Laker player and coach (1967-76), and when current LSSU coaches Jim Roque and Joe Shawhan were players (1982-87). Clarke now runs the clock and penalty box with the Atkins brothers.

Among the items up for auction are Red Wings memorabilia, a Ryan Miller autographed photo, Detroit Pistons tickets, a Laker quilt and individual lessons. One of the most-prized items is an autographed print of Gordie Howe, Al Kaline, Dave Bing and Joe Schmidt. It's one of only 1,000 copies.

The last time the Lakers played the defending national champion was during the 1998-99 season when they faced 1998 NCAA champion Michigan.

This year's Michigan State team is 8-3-2 overall and 4-2-0 in the CCHA, but the Spartans are winless (0-2-2) in four straight home games. After getting swept by No. 1-ranked Miami, they tied No. 14 Minnesota 3-3 and No. 13 Wisconsin 4-4 last weekend in East Lansing. MSU, however is unbeaten (6-0-11) in its last 17 overtime games.

LSSU can boast of a better record against nationally-ranked teams so far this season. The Lakers are 1-6-1, while MSU is 0-3-2.

Michigan State scored first against Wisconsin last Saturday, netting the game's opening goal for the first time in four games. LSSU, which is looking to snap a five-game losing streak, has either scored first or led in each of its last four games, but has been shut out in the second and third periods.

LSSU coach Jim Roque is looking for more defensive support in front of his goaltenders and for a more-balanced offensive attack. LSSU's scoring has been coming from the line of senior Dan Eves (4-6--10), sophomore Zac MacVoy (1-4--5) and freshman Rick Schofield (2-4--6), which has notched a goal in each of the Lakers' last four games.

Michigan State is led in scoring by junior forward Tim Kennedy (11-5--16) and senior defenseman Daniel Vukovic (2-10--12).

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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