Lakers return to conference play with a series at Western Michigan

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Lake Superior State resumes Central Collegiate Hockey Association action with its first road series since early December. The Lakers take a five-game win streak into this weekend’s series at Western Michigan, which is 1-2-2 in its last five contests. The Broncos have not played at Lawson arena since Dec. 7-8.

The Lakers (12-10-0 overall, 7-7-0 CCHA) sit in sixth place in the CCHA with 21 points, while WMU (12-5-3 overall, 8-3-1-1 CCHA) is third with 26 points. The Broncos have a home record of 8-1-0 and are coming off 6-0 win and 2-2 tie at Bemidji State. Overall, LSSU leads the all-time series against Western Michigan, 69-47-15. On the road the Lakers are 28-30-10.

Both teams enter the series with impressive defensive statistics.

Last season the Lakers were 1-3-0 against the Broncos, including a 0-2-0 record during the CCHA Second Round Playoffs. WMU split with the Lakers during the regular season, winning 3-1 on Feb. 17 and losing 3-2 on Feb. 18 at the Taffy Abel Arena.

The Lakers return four point grabbers from 2011-12 regular-season series against the Broncos. Junior Colin Campbell led the way with a goal and two assists, followed by junior forward Dan Radke with a goal and an assist, and junior forward Kellan Lain and sophomore forward Stephen Perfetto with one goal each. Perfetto’s goal was a short-handed marker.

Campbell netted two goals for LSSU during the second round of the 2012 CCHA Playoffs with Radke adding an assist against the Broncos. Junior defender Zach Sternberg had one goal, sophomore forward Buddy Robinson notched two assists, and Lain added a single assist in the series.

The Broncos return six point grabbers from the 2011-12 series against the Lakers. WMU’s returning scorers tallied 4-8—12 during regular-season play and 2-7—9 in the playoffs over LSSU.

LSSU is ranked fourth against CCHA opponents on the power-play (21.4 percent) and eighth on the penalty kill (83.3 percent). On combined special teams the Lakers are third (54.9 percent). The Lakers killed 31 straight penalties before the streak was snapped by Union’s power-play goal at 8:10 of the second period Saturday.

Western Michigan leads the CCHA in power-play percentage (25.9) and penalty killing (89.9) when playing against CCHA opponents.

LSSU senior forward Nick McParland leads the Lakers in points and assists with 6-13—19. He is enjoying a six-game point streak, during which he has tallied two goals and eight points. Senior forward Domenic Monardo is second in points with 8-9—17 is and tied for first with sophomore forward Chris Ciotti in goals scored.

McParland ranks third in the CCHA in overall in point scoring and fourth in assists, while Monardo is tied for sixth in points. Monardo and Ciotti are tied for eighth in overall CCHA goal scoring. Monardo also leads the CCHA in game-winning goals with three.

Junior netminder Kevin Murdock (7-6-0) is 3-0-0 in his last three starts. He has moved up to fifth nationally in save percentage (.943) and 11th in goals-against average (1.86). Overall in the CCHA, Murdock is third in gaa and second in save percentage.

WMU sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski ranks fourth in the CCHA in overall gaa (1.87) and seventh in save percentage (.919) while anchoring a Bronco defense that allows only 1.95 goals per game. Senior right wing Dane Walters leads WMU in points with 9-7—16, while junior forward Chase Balisy is second with 7-8—15.

Monardo, Ciotti, Balisy, Walters and WMU freshman defenseman Kenny Morrison are all ranks second in the CCHA in power-play goals with four each.

Note: LSSU Alumni Association will host an outdoor tailgate beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Lot 64 at Lawson Arena. For more information, check out www.lssu.edu/alumni.