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Lakers and Saints are evenly-matched

Dec. 10, 2002

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Lake Superior State and St. Lawrence hockey teams, which are both trying to claw their way out of last place in their respective leagues, will play a non-conference series Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. in Canton, N.Y.

Both games will be aired live on WSUE 101.3 FM and simulcast on

The Saints are 3-11-1 overall and 1-4-0 in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. They are tied with Princeton for 11th place in the ECAC. LSSU is 3-13-0 overall and 0-12-0 for 12th place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

For the second straight week, the Lakers will play a struggling team building momentum. Last weekend they played a Nebraska-Omaha squad that was riding a high after a big comeback victory over Merrimack. This weekend they are playing a St. Lawrence team that knocked off then second-ranked New Hampshire 4-2 last Saturday to snap a seven-game losing streak. Saints goaltender Kevin Ackley totaled a career-high 48 saves, and St. Lawrence scored three third-period goals to earn the win.

"Joe Marsh's teams always play hard," said LSSU coach Frank Anzalone, who first faced the Saints in the 1987-88 NCAA Championship game in Lake Placid, N.Y. "I expect it will be a good series."

LSSU leads the all-time series with St. Lawrence, 9-3-1. Last season in Sault Ste. Marie, the Saints won the Friday game 2-1, and the Lakers came back with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday.

St. Lawrence isn't rebuilding like Lake Superior State is rebuilding, but Anzalone described the Saints as a team "in transition."

"St. Lawrence plays probably the closest type of game to (fourth-ranked) Cornell," Anzalone said. "Cornell is Lake Superior State II. (Cornell coach) Mike Schafer knows that he can't beat Harvard for recruits, so he recruits big and they play big. That's where we're trying to go."

This weekend's series will be a matchup of two big, physical teams. Anzalone is hoping to see the same intensity the Lakers showed in Saturday's 3-0 penalty-ridden loss to Nebraska-Omaha.

"Our guys tried hard, but it just wasn't meant to be," he said.

LSSU carried that same intensity into Monday's practice.

"I don't know if we can maintain that through the week," Anzalone said. "We have letdowns from time to time."

Blair Clarance tops St. Lawrence scorers with five goals and eight assists, while senior Jeremy Bachusz (4-3-7) and junior Chris Peterson (2-5-7) lead the Lakers. Bachusz scored two of the Lakers' three goals in their last four games.

LSSU has many concerns going into this weekend's series. The Lakers havn't scored a power-play goal since Nov. 1, and Anzalone noted that losing 70 percent of the faceoffs is unacceptable. They also must return from New York early Sunday morning to prepare for final exams that begin Monday.

The Lakers have a two-week break from competition following this weekend. They resume CCHA play at home against Michigan State on Jan. 3-4.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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