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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

LSSU to Play Home and Home with NMU

Lake Superior State University (8-5-1, 3-4-1 CCHA), who where only able to salvage one point last weekend at Alaska Fairbanks, is set to play a home and home series this weekend with Northern Michigan University (7-6-2, 4-3-1 CCHA). NMU is coming off of a split last weekend at Western Michigan, both teams split earlier this season with Ohio State and Miami, but NMU was able to garner 3 points in their home series against UAF. LSSU will start the weekend at home, and then travel to Marquette to finish off the home-and-home series at the Berry Events Center

LSSU has lost their last seven games to NMU, and have not won the season series since the 1999-2000 season, going 4-17-3 since then. LSSU trails the all-time series, 23-49-7, including a terrible 8-29-3 record in Marquette and 15-20-4 record at home. LSSU lost all four games to NMU last season.

On paper this weekend's match-up will pit two closely matched teams against one another. Northern Michigan's offense this season has been averaging 2.60 goals per game, eleventh in the CCHA, while allowing 2.47 goals per game, ranking them 4th in the CCHA. The Lakers are currently averaging 2.93 goals per game this season, 8th in the CCHA, while allowing only 2.36 goals per game, ranking them second in the CCHA.

NMU's power play is ranked 7th in the CCHA connecting 18.3 percent of the time giving them an average of one power play goals per game. The Wildcats penalty kill is ranked 4th in the CCHA with a .860 penalty kill percentage, and they are the 8th most penalized team in the CCHA averaging almost 18 minutes per game. The Lakers power play has slipped to 6th in the CCHA scoring a goal 18.4% of the time, scoring 16 goals in 87 opportunities, after going 3-for-42 in their past 7 games, they did score 2 power play goals last Friday in Alaska. The Lakers penalty kill is ranked 3th in the CCHA, allowing 10 goals in 75 opportunities, for a .867 penalty kill percentage, the Lakers have also scored 3 short handed goals this season. LSSU is also among the least penalized teams in the CCHA averaging only 14.50 minutes in the box each game.

This weekend also marks the begining of a Kaunisto family feud between freshman cousins from Sault Ste. Marie Steven (LSSU) and Ray Kaunisto (NMU). The Kaunisto's were teammates last season in Cedar Rapids and throughout youth hockey. LSSU assistant coach Joe Shawhan is an Uncle to the Kaunistos.

Northern Michigan is offensively lead by, Mike Santorelli and Daren Oliver while former Soo Indian goaltender Bill Zaniboni has played in 14 of NMU games posting 6 wins with a 2.33 Goals Against Average and .920 Save Percentage. Santorelli has posted 12 goals and 21 points this season, while Oliver has 14 points on 5 goals and 9 assists.

LSSU is riding senior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis while they still have him. Jakaitis’ .944 saves percentage is second in the nation while his 1.89 goals against average, is ranked 7th in the nation and second in the CCHA. The Lakers offensively are lead by Trent Campbell who has amassed 5 goals and 14 points this season appearing in all 14 of LSSU's games. Freshman Nathan Perkovich leads the Lakers with 8 goals on the season to give him 12 points on the season. Derek A. Smith also has 12 points on the season after scoring 2 goals in LSSU’s past 4 games to go with his 10 assists that tie him for second in the leagues for assists by defensemen.

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