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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

LSSU to host Ferris State in the Soo

For the second time in three weeks, the Lake Superior State hockey team is taking on an opponent that it knocked out of last year’s Central Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs.

Upcoming opponent Ferris State (10-11-3 overall, 7-9-2 CCHA), which took only one point from Western Michigan last weekend, is currently seventh in the CCHA standings, but trails fifth-place Nebraska-Omaha by only three points. LSSU (4-16-4 overall, 2-13-3 CCHA) is tied for 11th with WMU and trails 10th-place Ohio State by only two points. Although the playoff picture will unfold during the next five weekends, LSSU and FSU could wind up being CCHA first-round playoff opponents for the second straight year.

The Lakers’ and Bulldogs’ regular-season series is this Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM and simulcast on A pay-per-view video feed is available on the B2 Network.

Friday is “Gordie Howe Poster Night,” and the first 2,000 fans who enter the gate will receive a free poster commemorating Mr. Hockey’s visit to Sault Ste. Marie in September.

The Lakers’ 3-1-1 record against the Bulldogs in 2006-07 included back-to-back one-goal victories in Games 2 and 3 of the CCHA First-Round Playoffs. LSSU went on to upset Miami in the second round to earn its first trip to Joe Louis Arena for league semifinals since 1996.

Six of the Lakers’ last 11 games against the Bulldogs have been decided in overtime, including last season’s 1-1 tie in Big Rapids and 4-3 FSU victory in Sault Ste. Marie during Game 1 of the playoff series. LSSU also won 4-1 in Big Rapids to take three of four points during the regular season.

The Lakers’ home split with Ohio State last weekend included a heartbreaking 4-3 loss on Friday and a thrilling 6-5 overtime victory on Saturday. Late-game power plays were a deciding factor in both games, and LSSU mustered a season-best .625 conversion rate (5-for-8) to beat the Buckeyes.

Junior forward Troy Schwab contributed 2-1—3 and sophomore forward Zac MacVoy added 1-2—3 including his first career game-winning goal to lead the Lakers to victory. MacVoy also scored a goal on Friday and totaled 2-2—4 for the weekend. Senior forward Dan Eves contributed an assist on Friday and a goal on Saturday. Junior defenseman Steve Oleksy led the team in blocked shots with seven for the series.

Sophomore forward Nathan Perkovich scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season on Saturday. He is two goals away from last year’s total of 15, which was the best by a Laker since 1997-98. Perkovich, with 13-3—16, is tied for ninth in the CCHA in overall goals scored and is tied for fourth in power-play goals with eight.

The Lakers are 2-2-0 in their last two home series. After this weekend’s series, the Lakers travel to Western Michigan and Michigan, and only three of their final eight games are at home.

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