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Lakers to make their first trip to Bemidji since 1974

Trent Campbell

Dec. 6, 2005

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Lake Superior State hockey team will make its first trip to Bemidji, Minn., since March 3, 1974, when it takes on old-time NAIA rival Bemidji State in a non-conference series on Friday and Saturday.

The Lakers (8-5-3), who are hoping to extend their four-game win streak, have an all-time record of 20-16-1 against the Beavers. Last season, the two teams split a series in Sault Ste. Marie with the Lakers winning 5-4 in overtime on Dec. 3 and losing 3-1 on Dec. 4. Senior BJ Pelkey scored a goal in both games for LSSU.

The teams will play at 7:35 p.m. CST on Friday and 7:05 p.m. CST on Saturday at John S. Glas Fieldhouse. The games will also be televised statewide in Minnesota by Charter Communications.

The LSSU-BSU rivalry dates back to the beginning of Laker hockey, prior to Lake Superior State joining the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and assuming NCAA Division I status. The Lakers won their second NAIA national title in 1974 by beating the Beavers 4-3 in Bemidji, Minn.

The college hockey scene has dramatically changed since those days. BSU went on to become an NAIA and NCAA III powerhouse until it became a Division I program in 1999-00. This year the 17th-ranked Beavers are 9-3-0 overall and leading College Hockey America with a 4-2-0 record. They are 1-1 against CCHA opponents after splitting a series with Ferris State Nov. 18-19.

LSSU, which has won four straight games for the first time since the 1997-98 season, is 2-0 against CHA competition after sweeping Robert Morris Nov. 25-26. More importantly, the Lakers are 4-3-1 against ranked opponents.

One of the reasons for the Lakers' recent win streak is its improved power play. LSSU was 7-for-29 (.241) on the power play during its four-game homestand after going 0-for-10 at Ohio State Nov. 18-29. They also came from behind in two of the four victories.

LSSU continues to be among the nation's defensive leaders. The Lakers are ranked sixth nationally in average goals-allowed at 2.13 and junior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis is ninth at 2.09. Jakaitis will face a tough challenge from BSU junior goalie Layne Sedevie, who is ranked third nationally in goals-against (1.67) and save percentage (.943) and leads the CHA in both categories.

The LSSU line of senior Nathan Ward, junior Trent Campbell and freshman Troy Schwab accounted for three of the Lakers' seven goals last weekend against Alaska Fairbanks.

Campbell (5-5--10) and junior Jeff Rainville (4-6--10) currently lead the Lakers in scoring. Junior Dominic Osman (6-2--8) is LSSU's top goal scorer, while junior Barnabas Birkeland (1-6--7) is the team's top-scoring defenseman.

This weekend's series begins a three-week, seven-game road stretch for the Lakers.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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