The Lakers of the iconic logo and sweet uniforms have been somewhat of a surprise this year as they enter tonight’s game in fifth place in the CCHA, just two points behind fourth place Michigan with one game in hand. The Wolverines leap-frogged the Lakers last night on the strength of a 2-1 road victory over Bowling Green.
Founded in 1946 in Sault Sainte Marie, Mich., Lake Superior State is a small school of just 3,000 students. However, they have found success on the largest stage having won three national titles in 1988, 1992 and 1994 narrowly missing the three-peat when they lost to Paul Kariya and Maine. Only nine other schools have won as many as three national titles, eight of which consist of the largest names in college hockey, and in some cases, all of collegiate sports.
Last season, Miami swept the Lakers in the Soo 2-1 and 4-0 en route to the national title game. And, Miami has won four straight and seven of the last nine but those two Laker wins were huge because they knocked the RedHawks out of the 2007 CCHA tournament sweeping two games in Oxford. Overall, the Lakers own a 54-32-10 advantage in the all-time series which was absolutely dominated by Lake State in the 80s and early 90s when Miami’s program was still gathering steam.
Offensively, the Lakers are led by junior forwards Rick Schofield (13-10-23) and Will Acton (7-13-20) who along with senior Zac MacVoy are the only Lakers with at least 20 points. But, like Miami the scoring is spread out with ten Lakers having compiled at least ten points this year.
In net, junior Brian Mahoney-Wilson has logged the vast majority of minutes and features a record of 12-8-5, a 2.63 GAA and 91.5 save percentage. Unlike last season when he and senior Pat Inglis split time, Mahoney-Wilson has been head coach Jim Roque’s guy and something he felt was necessary to give the team the best chance to win.
“I think, if anything, it has been more of my fault in not settling on one guy,” Roque said. “It’s always tough when you keep changing stuff. This summer, I said no matter what, I was going to make a decision and stick with it.” INCH
This will be an interesting series. The Lakers are coming off a bye week, one in which they endured more of Jeff Jackson’s ranting, and are desperately fighting for a top four league finish and an important first round bye in the CCHA playoffs. On the other hand, Miami is in the midst of an 18-game CCHA unbeaten streak and leads the standings by ten points over second place Michigan State. Will the RedHawks continue to match the intensity of their opponents? Can the Lakers keep up their solid, but surprising play against the nation’s number one team? And, Miami has an outside chance of wrapping up the regular season title this weekend should Ferris State be swept by Northern Michigan and if MSU splits its series at Alaska.
- Lake State will be without leading scorer Rick Schofield for tonight’s game due to incurring a major penalty and game disqualification 11 seconds into the Jan. 23 game against Notre Dame.
- Miami sophomore defenseman Cameron Schilling missed last Saturday’s game against Western Michigan. It is unclear if Schilling was injured or scratched and what impact that may have on this weekend’s series.
- Faceoff tonight is at 7:35pm; tomorrow at 7:05pm. Both games can be seen around the great state of Ohio on ONN.
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