SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.- As part of the continued celebration of 50 years of varsity hockey at Lake Superior State, the program is pleased to announce the 2006-2016 All Decade Team. Selected by an online fan vote, the team is made up of forwards Domenic Monardo, Troy Schwab and Nathan Perkovich; defensemen Kevin Czuczman and Derek Smith, and goaltender Jeff Jakaitis.
Domenic Monardo (2009-2013)
In four collegiate seasons with LSSU from 2009-2013, the Oakville, Ont., native amassed 101 points (49 goals and 52 assists) in 153 career collegiate games. He led the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in overall and conference goals during his senior season.
Monardo served as the captain of the Lakers in 2012-13 as a senior, and was an assistant captain during his junior campaign. As a junior, Monardo was named the CCHA's Terry Flanagan Memorial Award winner, awarded to an upperclassman that overcame personal adversity and was active on his university campus and surrounding community.
During his final season with the Lakers, Monardo became the first LSSU player since 1996-97 to score 20 goals and took home the team’s Most Valuable Forward and Most Valuable Player awards.
After his senior season Monardo began playing professionally with stops in the ECHL and the American Hockey League. Last season with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, Monardo was named the team’s Man of the Year for his dedication and class in serving the Springfield community.
Troy Schwab (2005-09)
Thrust into a leadership role early into his career at LSSU, Schwab’s contributions were felt immediately, earning CCCHA All-Rookie Team Honorable Mention honors after scoring eight goals and adding 16 assists as a freshman. The following season the Kindersley, Sask., native was named an assistant captain as a sophomore, later earning the captain’s “C” and leading the Lakers in his junior and senior seasons.
In each of his four seasons Schwab led the Lakers in assists and was the team’s leading scorer as a senior in 2008-09, totaling 32 points on eight goals and 24 assists. He finished his career playing 150 games for the Lakers and scored 31 goals and 79 assists for 110 points.
Following his career at LSSU, Schwab appeared in 186 Central Hockey League games and totaled 65-167--232 and also added 113 points in 137 ECHL games. In one professional season in Germany, Schwab scored 19-26--45 in 45 games.
Following his final season playing professionally in 2014-15, Schwab began his coaching career and is currently an assistant coach for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL.
Nathan Perkovich (2006-09)
A teammate of Schwab’s for three seasons, Perkovich also was a top contributor as soon as he walked on campus, earning an honorable mention on the CCHA All-Rookie Team in 2007. His 15 goals as a freshman tied for team-high and led LSSU rookies in scoring with 22 points.
The Canton, Mich., native followed his impressive freshman season by leading the Lakers in goals with 17 and finished third on the team in overall scoring with 25 points during 2007-08. For his efforts as a sophomore, Perkovich earned most valuable forward and most valuable player honors from the team that season.
After scoring 12-12--24 in 35 games as a junior, Perkovich signed a professional contract with the New Jersey Devils, the team that had drafted him 250th overall in the eighth round of the 2004 NHL Draft.
Perkovich played three seasons with the Devil’s AHL affiliate, scoring 37 goals and 32 assists in 161 games. Since 2012, Perkovich has played for Medvescak Zagreb, the most successful and popular team in Croatia. The Bears, based in the nation’s capital city, have been members of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League for the past three seasons.
Kevin Czuczman (2011-14)
The Lakers’ Most Valuable Player in 2014 led all Western Collegiate Hockey Association defensemen in goals (10) and ranked 10th in defensemen scoring (21 points) as a junior. The Port Elgin, Ont., native earned All-WCHA Second Team honors that season and was also a WCHA Scholar Athlete, in the team’s first season as WCHA members.
In three seasons with the Lakers, Czuczman potted 14 goals and had 31 assists in 114 games.
After his junior season Czuczman signed a professional contract and immediately jumped into the New York Islanders lineup for 13 games to close the NHL season with the club. He tallied two assists and 14 penalty minutes in his first NHL stint.
Last season Czuczman scored four goals and added 11 assists with 95 penalty minutes in 74 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL). In this past offseason he signed with the Winnipeg Jets organization and will start the season with the Manitoba Moose.
Derek A. Smith (2004-07)
Another former member of the LSSU blue line to don an NHL jersey, Derek Smith was able to parlay a three-year stint with the Lakers into a 10-year professional career. The Belleville, Ont. native was an All-CCHA Second Team selection in 2007 after exploding for 10 goals and 20 assists in his junior season with the Lakers.
In 117 total games with LSSU, Smith scored 13 goals and 32 assists and was a +5.
In 2007-08 Smith decided to forego his senior season and sign a professional contract with the Ottawa Senators organization. After two seasons with their AHL affiliate in Binghamton, Smith made his NHL debut in 2009-10. In 2010-11 Smith helped the Binghamton Senators win the AHL Calder Cup Championship and played nine games with Ottawa. Smith then signed a free agent offer during the offseason and spent three seasons with the Calgary Flames.
Last season Smith joined Monardo in Springfield and played 28 games for the Falcons. This year he has played seven games and scored two goals and two assists playing alongside Perkovich with Medvescak Zagreb.
Jeff Jakaitis (2003-07)
The most decorated member of the 2006-16 All-Decade Team, Jakaitis played four seasons with the Lakers and left his mark throughout the LSSU record book. Stepping in as the starter as a freshman, Jakaitis held the role all four years and led the team in games played, goals-against average, save percentage, saves and wins in all four seasons at LSSU.
The Rochester, Minn., native holds LSSU records for games played (125), career save percentage (.925) and ranks second behind 1976-86 All-Decade Team goaltender Pat Tims with 3440 career saves. Jakaitis holds the two best single season save percentages in school history and four of the top 10 single season marks, three of the top 10 single season goals-against averages in school history, and held the single seasons saves record for eight seasons before it was topped by Gordon Defiel in 2014-15.
Jakaitis was named an All-CCHA First Team member in 2006, an All-CCHA Second team member and Lowe’s Senior Class All-American in 2007, and was the CCHA’s Perani Cup Points Champion in 2006 for the most combined stars-of-the-game in CCHA play.
Now in his tenth professional season, Jakaitis has appeared on three ECHL All-Star teams and was named the ECHL’s Goaltender of the Year in 2011-12, 2013-14 and 2014-15. In 2014-15 Jakaitis was also named the ECHL Most Valuable Player while also holding the league’s top goals-against average.
This season Jakaitis is in his second year with Lørenskog IK of the Norwegian GET-Ligaen.
LSSU Athletics would like to thank the many fans that cast their votes in the process of selecting each team. The All-Decade Team will be honored throughout Saturday (Oct. 15) evening’s contest against Michigan State. Following the game on Saturday, Laker hockey alumni, family, friends and fans are all invited to attend a free gathering in the Cooper Gymnasium featuring special guest speakers.