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Monday, March 03, 2008

3 Points Not Enought to Maintain the Cappo Cup

Thursday night, Lake Superior State not only wowed the crowd by battling back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Northern Michigan 3-2 on Thursday, but left its fans with a six-game home unbeaten streak as a fond memory of the 2007-08 season.

LSSU (9-18-6 overall, 7-15-5 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) has a season-best three-game winning streak heading into its final regular-season game at 7:35 p.m. Saturday at the Berry Events Center in Marquette. The Lakers are currently in sole possession of 10th place in the CCHA standings. They are two points ahead of 11th-place Ohio State, who has a single game remaining against Miami.

The Wildcats (15-17-3 overall, 12-13-2 CCHA) entered the series in a four-way tie for fifth place and have already secured home ice for the first round of the CCHA Playoffs. At this point, there is a possibility that this weekend's series will be a preview of a playoff match-up between the same two teams.

Regardless of what the future holds, the Lakers proved to be a much different team from when they lost 4-2 and 3-1 to the Wildcats in November. Despite falling behind 2-0 on second-period goals by NMU's Matt Siddall and Mark Olver, LSSU controlled play during the majority of the game. The Lakers' only down side was finishing 0-for-6 on the power play.

Nathan Perkovich cut NMU's lead in half by tallying his 15th goal of the season at 18:46 of the second period -- 16 seconds after the Lakers killed off a penalty. John Scrymgeour and Jason Blain drew the assists.

The line of Rick Schofield, Dan Eves and Zac MacVoy was responsible for the Lakers' next two goals. Eves tied it at 2:08 of the third period, and Schofield scored the game-winner at 15:54.

It was Schofield's second game-winning goal in three games and the fourth straight game in which he has scored a goal. Eves now has 4-8--12 in his last 11 games, while MacVoy has 5-8--13.

Seniors Eves, Blain and Justin Gutwald circled the Taffy Abel Arena ice following their final home game.

LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson totaled 22 saves, while NMU goalie Brian Stewart had 23. The Wildcats pulled Stewart in favor of an extra attacker during the final 1:07 of regulation.

NMU, which is 5-2-0 in its last seven games, finished 1-for-3 on the power play.

LSSU was 5-2-2 during the month of February.

Saturday night, Lake Superior State closed out the 2007-08 regular season with a 2-2 overtime tie at Northern Michigan on Saturday and will take a four-game unbeaten streak into next weekend's Central Collegiate Hockey Association first-round playoff series at Bowling Green State.

The Lakers (9-18-7 overall, 7-15-6 CCHA) picked up three points during their season-ending series and finished 10th in the league standings. Ninth-place Alaska (8-16-4 CCHA) and LSSU tied in points with 20 each, but the Nanooks claimed the higher seed due to having one more CCHA win.

Other first-round pairings include Western Michigan at Ferris State, Ohio State at Northern Michigan and Alaska at Nebraska-Omaha.

NMU (15-17-4 overall, 12-13-4 CCHA) finished 2-1-1 against the Lakers this season and reclaimed the Cappo Cup after losing it last year to LSSU. The Wildcats won the total-goals series, 11-8.

After scrambling back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 on Thursday, Lake Superior State staked a 2-0 lead over the Wildcats Saturday on second-period goals by Simon Gysbers and Troy Schwab.

Gysbers scored a power-play goal at 7:10 on assists from Rick Schofield and Zac MacVoy. Schwab tallied his fifth goal of the season at 9:38 as Will Acton and Nathan Perkovich drew assists.

NMU's Matt Siddall cut the lead in half with a power-play goal at 5:33 of the third period, and Wildcat Billy Smith tied it at 7:52. Erik Gustafsson had assists on both NMU goals.

LSSU goaltender Pat Inglis totaled 29 saves, including 11 in the third period and two in overtime. NMU netminder Brian Stewart had 32 saves, including 16 in the third period.

The Lakers were 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Wildcats were 1-for-5.

With the Lakers finishing the season with 20 points LSSU finished 10th in the CCHA this season, next weekend LSSU will travel to Bowling Green, Ohio to take on the BGSU Falcons.

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