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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lakers add four players to recruiting class

Lake Superior State has signed centers Chris Ciotti and Stephen Perfetto to National Letters of Intent to play hockey. LSSU also tendered transfer goaltender Kevin Murdock, while defenseman T.J. Wees is a recruited walk-on.

They join fall 2010 signees Kevin Czuczman, Andrew Dommett and Buddy Robinson, along with 2009 signee Kelin Ainsworth, who deferred enrollment in 2010-11.

“This class has big shoes to fill,” LSSU coach Jim Roque cautiously said. “The senior class going out included tremendous leaders and high-end players. At the same time, we expect them to progress like the freshman did last year. We have a lot of older guys who can fill key roles so these guys can find their way at their own pace. I expect three or four of the forwards and one or two of the ‘D’ to play right away. Murdock will give Kevin Kapalka a challenge.”

Ciotti, a 5-10, 180-pound center from Washington, Mich., ranked fifth in the North American Hockey League in regular-season points with 31-37—68 in 57 games. He helped lead the St. Louis Bandits to a 41-13-4 record and first-place finish in the North Division. He led his team in playoff points with 2-6—8 in 10 games. Ciotti is the nephew of former Laker center and team captain Bob Ciotti ’81, who is tied for 17th in career points at LSSU with 55-91—146. His father, John, played at Miami from 1982-85.

“Chris is clever, a real smart center,” Roque said. “He was always a point producer in junior hockey.”

Perfetto, a 5-8, 170-pound center from Woodbridge, Ont., totaled 16-17—33 during 31 regular-season games, and added 9-10—19 and two game-winning goals during 19 playoff games for the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in 2010-11. Kingston was 31-11-8-3 during the regular season and 11-8 in the playoffs, losing in the semifinal round to the Oakville Blades. Perfetto also totaled 26-46—72 in 54 games for the OJHL’s Georgetown Raiders in 2009-10.

“He’s the same player as Freddy Cassiani,” Roque said of Perfetto. “He’s a dynamic centerman, a good skater, competes hard and plays with a lot of heart.”

Murdock, a transfer from Minnesota State-Mankato, ranked third in the United States Hockey League in games played at 52, and he finished 29-15-4 with a 2.91 goals-against average and .907 save percentage for the Lincoln Stars in 2010-11. Lincoln was 33-22-5 overall. Murdock appeared in five games for Minnesota State in 2009-10. He also played for Lincoln in 2007-08, and 2008-09.

“He’s a left-handed goalie like Kapalka,” Roque said. “He had really good numbers in the USHL and already has experience in the college game.”

Wees, a 6-2, 210-pound defenseman from Golden, Colo., compiled 3-25—28 and 165 penalty minutes for the Weyburn Red Wings of the SJHL. The Red Wings were 30-24-4 during the regular season, and 1-3 in the playoffs.

“Wees and (sophomore defenseman) Andrew Perrault are former teammates,” Roque noted. “He’s a big, strong, physical defenseman. We’re hoping he turns into the type of player that (sophomore defenseman) Matt Bruneteau is. Matt competed for playing time right away. We hope he gives us the same thing, and gives us a physical presence.”

Czuczman, a 6-0, 200-pounder from Port Elgin, Ont., was the Newmarket Hurricanes’ top defenseman in 2010-11 after totaling 4-19—23 and contributing to his team’s first-place finish in the OJHL North Division. Newmarket was 34-7-9-5 during the regular season and 7-5 in the playoffs.

Dommett, a 5-11, 185-pound left wing from Major, Sask., finished the 2010-11 regular-season with 22-24—46 in 34 games for the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Dommett was named SJHL Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 24-30. Kindersley finished 35-20-3 during the regular season and 4-5 in the playoffs.

Ainsworth, a 5-10, 175-pound left wing from Thunder Bay, Ont., helped lead the Traverse City North Stars to a second-place finish in the NAHL North Division. He totaled 26-21—47 during 53 regular-season games. He was the team’s No. 3 scorer, increasing his point production from the previous season by 17 points. The North Stars were 40-17-1 during the regular-season and 1-3 in the playoffs.

Robinson, a 6-5, 225-pound right wing from Bellmaur, N.J., totaled 15-23--38 while playing 32 games with the Hamilton Red Wings of the OJHL and played his last 19 games with the Nepean Raiders of the Central Canada Hockey League. He compiled 5-19--24 for Nepean, which was 27-25-6 for the year.

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