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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lakers head to Miami of Ohio

Lake Superior State has lately been the underdog at Miami’s Steve Cady Arena, but the Lakers will have targets on their backs during this weekend’s Central Collegiate Hockey Association series in Oxford, Ohio.

LSSU (3-13-4 overall, 1-10-3 CCHA) plays second-ranked Miami (21-3-0 overall, 13-3-0 CCHA) at 7:35 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM and simulcast on

Last season’s 3-3-0 record against the RedHawks included back-to-back 2-1 victories during the second round of the CCHA Playoffs. LSSU, which was the eighth seed, earned a trip to the CCHA semifinals at Joe Louis Arena with the upset sweep.

Those wins highlighted the Lakers’ best season in a decade, but crushed Miami’s hopes for a first-ever CCHA Playoff title. The RedHawks went on to beat New Hampshire and lose to Boston College at the NCAA Tournament.

Miami, a third-place finisher in the CCHA last season, seems to have picked up where it left off and became the nation’s first team to reach the 20-win milestone in 2007-08. The RedHawks’ 6-3 and 4-1 victories at Nebraska-Omaha last weekend accounted for their eighth sweep in 11 series this season. They split series with Notre Dame, Alaska and Bowling Green State. They have yet to play No. 1 Michigan, with which they are tied in CCHA points with 26.

With Lake Superior State’s home split with BGSU last weekend, the Lakers moved out of the CCHA basement and improved to 2-10-2 against teams receiving votes in the national polls. They are currently one point ahead of last-place Western Michigan and trail 10th-place Ohio State by two points.

Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Falcons was a stellar defensive effort by LSSU. Despite getting out-shot 29-18, the Lakers rarely forced goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson to face a rebound shot. Defenseman Simon Gysbers also led at the offensive end, finishing with a goal and three assists.

Sophomore forward Nathan Perkovich (12-1—13) leads LSSU in points, while senior Dan Eves (5-7—12) is second. Perkovich scored his team-leading seventh power-play goal of the season Friday against BGSU. He is tied for fourth in the CCHA in power-play goals and eighth in overall goals scored.

Miami, which is averaging a potent 4.29 goals per game, has scored an amazing 46 third-period goals to LSSU’s 11. The RedHawks lead the nation in goals-scored and goals-allowed (1.67), and are ranked second nationally in penalty kill (.905).

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