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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

LSSU Prepares to bring CCHA Season to a Close

Lake Superior State University (15-11-6, 11-11-4 CCHA) will be concluding CCHA regular season schedule this week with a home-and-Joe series against Michigan State University (19-10-7, 13-7-6 CCHA). LSSU has struggled mightily in February, compiling a 1-4-1 record; including 3 straight losses; against Nebraska-Omaha, Michigan, and Northern Michigan. Lake Superior has found themselves fall from second in the CCHA to sixth with only 2 points separating them from 10th place. Michigan State has come on strong since the first of the year going 11-2-2, including 5 straight wins including a sweep of Miami University last weekend.

LSSU trails the all-time series, 29-58-9, including 2-22-4 in their past 28 games including 1-2-0 at the Joe Louis Arena.

This week’s match up will pit two strong defensive teams against another, LSSU’s D is ranked 10th nationally, while MSU’s is ranked 11th. The challenge for LSSU will be to slow down MSU’s offense. The Spartan’s offense has decent this season averaging 3.00 goals per game, sixth in the CCHA, while allowing just 2.36 goals per game, ranking them 11th in the nation. The Lakers are currently averaging just 2.72 goals per game this season, 8th in the CCHA, while allowing only 2.34 goals per game, ranking them 10th in the nation.

MSU's power play is ranked 3rd in the CCHA connecting .186 percent of the time giving them an average of 1.19 power play goals per game. The Spartan penalty kill is ranked 7th in the CCHA with a .833 penalty kill percentage, and they are the third least penalized team in the CCHA averaging 16.69 minutes per game. The Lakers power play mean while is ranked 5th in the CCHA scoring a goal 17.9% of the time, 35 goals in 195 opportunities. The Lakers penalty kill is ranked 8th in the CCHA, allowing 29 goals in 167 opportunities, for a .826 penalty kill percentage. LSSU is also the least penalized team in the CCHA averaging only 15.62 minutes in the box each game.

Michigan State is lead offensively by, Bryan Lerg, Drew Miller and Tyler Howells Freshman Jeff Lerg, Bryan’s cousin, has established himself as the number one goalie after and Junior Dominic Vicari struggled in December. Brian Lerg is leading the team with 12 goals and 33 assists, while Miller and Howells each have 21 assists and 32 and 31 points respectively. MSU has 8 players with 20 or more points and freshman Justin Abdelkader with 19 points going into this weekend. Jeff Lerg has played in 22 of MSU’s 36 contests this season posting an 11-4-5 record with a 1.99 GGA, sixth nationally, and .927 save percentage, eighth nationally.

LSSU is lead by junior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis with his NCAA 15th ranked 2.23 goals against average, and 19th in the nation with a 0.919 save percentage. Jakaitis and the Laker defense has struggled in their last six games, with the team going 1-4-1 in these games, and Jakaitis posting a 4.00 GAA and .878 save percentage. The Lakers offensive leaders are Trent Campbell and freshman Troy Schwab, Campbell has amassed 11 goals and 21 points this season appearing in all 32 of LSSU's games, while Schwab has 13 assists and 21 points in 20 games this season. They are the only Lakers with more than 20 points on the season, Dominic Osman and Nathan Ward are looking to joint the 20 point club this weekend with 18 and 19 points respectively.

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