SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Lake Superior State opens Central Collegiate Hockey Association play with a Great Lake State Weekend home series against Michigan State. The Lakers are 2-2-0 overall, while the Spartans are 1-2-1 in non-conference play.
During the 2011-12 season, the Lakers were 2-1-1 against the Spartans, including a 5-4 and 3-2 sweep during their home opener. They went on to finish a respectable 3-4-3-3 against Big Ten Conference representatives.
The Lakers head into the series after splitting back-to-back series against WCHA opponents. MSU heads into the weekend with a win and tie over Niagara of the Atlantic Hockey conference. The Sparants also lost two games at Minnesota two weekends ago, and the Gophers were the nation’s No. 1-ranked team at the time.
Overall, MSU leads the all-time record, 68-33-14. At the Taffy Abel Arena, the Spartans lead 25-16-7. Dating back to Jan. 30, 2009, the Lakers are 4-1-1 and have outscored Michigan State 16-14 on home ice.
LSSU is tied for fifth in the CCHA in overall in scoring offense with 10 goals, while MSU sits in 10th place with eight goals this season. Michigan State is 11th overall in scoring defense with 17 goals allowed, while the Lakers are 10th with 15 goals allowed.
Lake State returns six point-grabbers from the 2011-12 series against MSU. Junior forward Kellan Lain (1-1--2; 2012-13) and sophomore forward Chris Ciotti (1-2--3; 2012-13) each netted a goal. Senior forward Domenic Monardo (2-4--6; 2012-13), junior defender Zach Sternberg (1-1--2; 2012-13), junior forward Dan Radke (1-0--1; 2012-13) and sophomore defenseman Kevin Czuczman all tallied one assist.
Michigan State returns five point-grabbers from the 2011-12 series. All were held to one point.
Monardo currently leads the CCHA in points and is tied for first with Northern Michigan’s Matt Thurber in assists. Ciotti is tied for first in the CCHA in overall power-play points with 1-2--3. LSSU leads the CCHA in power-play percentage at 26.3
Junior goaltender Kevin Kapalka (2-2-0) recorded his seventh career shutout and first of the season during last Friday’s 2-0 victory at Bemidji State. He has a career record of 31-28-13, while MSU junior Will Yanakeff is 20-16-3. Kapalka has a career record of 2-2-2 with two shootout victories against the Spartans.
Notes: As part of Great Lake State Weekend festivities, LSSU will introduce the Parents of the Year during second intermission Friday and Alumni Association Award winners during second intermission Saturday.