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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lakers on the Road Again, to South Bend

Lake Superior State split Central Collegiate Hockey Association road series at Ohio State and Ferris State, and took four points during last week’s CCHA home series against Bowling Green State.

OSU and FSU proved to be worthy opponents as the Buckeyes came back to sweep Michigan State and the Bulldogs took three of four points from Miami last weekend. BGSU nearly ruined a near perfect weekend for LSSU by scoring four goals in the second period Saturday, but the Lakers salvaged the tie and won their first CCHA shootout of the season.

LSSU’s next challenge is a CCHA opponent ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams. The Lakers head to South Bend, Ind., for a series against ninth-ranked Notre Dame. LSSU (3-3-2 overall, 3-2-1-1 CCHA) and the Fighting Irish (6-3-0 overall, 2-2-0-0 CCHA) play at 7:35 p.m. Friday and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at the Joyce Center. Both games will be broadcast live on Rock 101 FM with a live audio feed on

Notre Dame is 1-3-0 against top-10 opponents so far this season, but considered to be a CCHA contender. Last weekend, the Fighting Irish beat sixth-ranked Boston College and Providence with back-to-back 4-1 decisions. Their losses were to third-ranked Denver (5-2) and 10th-ranked Miami (2-0 and 3-2).

UND, which also swept an Oct. 31-Nov. 1 series at Northern Michigan, has a four-game win streak heading into this weekend and hasn’t given up a power-play goal since its loss to Miami on Oct. 25.

The last time the Lakers won at the Joyce Center was Dec. 17, 2005, which was also their last win over the Irish. UND swept last year’s home series, 7-3 and 4-1, to improve to 2-7-1 in the last 10 games against LSSU.

Last year’s losses at UND occurred during a frustrating 2-11-1 start for the Lakers, who are showing much more confidence during the early stages of the 2008-09 season. Through their first eight games, the Lakers are 3-3-2 while averaging 3.0 goals scored per game and 2.6 goals against. At this time last year, they were 2-5-1, averaging 2.5 goals for and 3.3 goals against. They are currently ranked 19th nationally and fourth in the CCHA in average goals scored per game.

LSSU’s offensive production is spread out, but the clear leader right now is junior forward Zac MacVoy (5-5—10) with at least a point in every game this season. He is currently ranked seventh in the CCHA in points, while junior Steven Kaunisto (1-5—6) is ranked sixth in points by a defenseman and leads the Lakers in plus/minus at +7.

Sophomore goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson reached personal milestones while playing in both games against BGSU. He stopped all 28 shots on goal during Friday’s 2-0 win to record his first collegiate shutout and notched his first shootout victory on Saturday. Junior goaltender Pat Inglis missed last weekend’s series due to an ankle injury.

The Irish line of seniors Garrett Regan (3-0—3) and Justin White (0-3—3), and sophomore Ryan Guentzel (0-2—2) combined for 3-5—8 during last weekend’s road sweep at Boston College and Providence. The trio came into the weekend with one goal among them in the first seven games of the season. UND’s points leaders are freshman Billy Maday (4-4—8), sophomore Ian Cole (3-5—8) and junior Kevin Deeth (2-6—8).

After this weekend’s series, the Lakers play six of their next eight games at home, and invite fans to participate in “Pink in the Rink” during the Robert Morris home series Nov. 21-22.

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