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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lakers play host to exhibition games against Windsor and U.S. Under-18 team

SAULT STE. MARIE – After winning its Central Collegiate Hockey Association opener for the first time since 1999, the Lake Superior State hockey team is taking a break from league play to play host to exhibition opponents Windsor and the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team.

The Lakers play Windsor at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, and their game against the Under-18 squad is a Sunday matinee beginning at 1:05 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 with free internet streaming on A pay-per-view video web stream is also available on the B2 Network.

Sunday is Youth Hockey Day, and all youth hockey players who are wearing their team jerseys will receive free admission if accompanied by an adult who purchases a ticket.

Windsor (2-6-0) is 0-2 against CCHA teams after losing 5-2 to Western Michigan and 4-1 to Ferris State on Oct. 4 and 5. LSSU is playing Windsor for the first time since Oct. 11, 2003. The Lancers’ roster includes Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, forward Mark Thorburn and seven former Ontario Hockey League players.

The U-18 team, which is also 0-2 against CCHA opponents, is coached by former LSSU assistant coach Ron Rolston. The U.S. team, which plays Thursday at Rolston’s alma mater, Michigan Tech, lost 4-0 to Alaska and 4-1 to Michigan earlier this month.

Rolston and LSSU coach Jim Roque were assistant coaches together under former Laker coach Jeff Jackson. Rolston was part of the coaching staff when the Lakers won the 1992 and ’94 national championships.

LSSU is 0-2-1 in its last three meetings against the U.S. Under-18 squad. The Lakers lost 3-1 to the U-18s on Dec. 16, 2006. They also lost 4-3 during the 2005-06 season and tied 3-3 during the 2003-04 season.

By beating Ohio State 7-3 last Friday in Columbus, the Lakers not only won their CCHA opener for the first time in nine years, they won a CCHA opener on the road for the first time since Oct. 20, 1995, at Northern Michigan. Junior forward Nathan Perkovich had two goals and two assists against the Buckeyes. Sophomore forward Chad Nehring and freshman forward Fred Cassiani added two goals each, and junior defenseman Steve Kaunisto had three assists.

Kaunisto also scored one of the Lakers’ two goals during Saturday’s 4-2 loss to finish with four points for the weekend. LSSU goaltenders Pat Inglis and Brian Mahoney-Wilson split playing time. Mahoney-Wilson totaled 37 saves on Friday and improved to 1-1-0, while Inglis (0-1-1) had 33 saves on Saturday.

Last Friday’s four-goal victory broke LSSU’s six-game stretch against Ohio State during which the goal differential averaged 1.33 goals per game. The Lakers and Buckeyes have split three straight series.

Kaunisto currently leads the Lakers in points with 1-4—5, while junior forward Zac MacVoy and Perkovich both have 2-2—4. MacVoy has recorded a point in all four Laker games.

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