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Lakers face U.P. rival Northern Michigan at the Berry Events Center

Lakers face U.P. rival Northern Michigan at the Berry Events Center

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State concludes regular-season play with this weekend’s hockey series at Northern Michigan. LSSU hopes to bring home the Father Cappo Cup after losing it during the 2011-12 season and secure home ice for the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs.

The Lakers are five goals up on the Wildcats in the race for the cup. They lead the total-goals series 6-1 after sweeping NMU in Sault Ste. Marie in mid December.

LSSU is coming off hard-fought 5-4 and 2-1 losses to No. 3 Miami. The Wildcats are coming off a road split at Bowling Green where they won, 5-2, and lost, 5-3.

The Lakers (15-18-1 overall, 10-15-1-1 CCHA) are in eighth place in the CCHA with 32 points. Northern (14-16-4 overall, 8-14-4-1 CCHA) sits in ninth place in the CCHA with 29 points. LSSU must finish in the top eight in the CCHA standings in order to host a playoff series.

Both games will be broadcast live on 99.5 Yes FM with the puck dropping at 7:35 p.m. in the Berry Events Center.

Eleven Lakers tallied at least one point against the Wildcats in December. Sophomore forward Stephen Perfetto and senior forward Nick McParland both had one goal and two assists to lead the Lakers. Junior forward Kellan Lain, sophomore forward Buddy Robinson and sophomore forward Chris Ciotti all notched one goal and one assist.

The Lakers are 3-11-1 on the road this season, while Northern Michigan is 7-3-3 at home. Overall Northern Michigan leads the all-time series against LSSU, 60-35-10. In Marquette, Mich., NMU has a 39-9-4 lead over the Lakers. LSSU is 1-1 on Olympic ice in 2012-13.

The last time LSSU won at NMU was Feb. 5, 2011, after the Lakers swept the Wildcats 4-1 and 2-0. Senior forward Domenic Monardo, who is one point shy of the 100-point career scoring milestone, is the only returning Laker to earn a point during that series.

Matt Thurber leads NMU in points and assists with 5-26—31, but is scoreless against the Lakers this season. Monardo, who leads the CCHA in goals scored, is LSSU’s points leader with 18-11--29. He has the most goals by a Laker since Joe Blaznek and Jason Sessa both scored 22 goals in 1996-97.

Junior forward Dan Radke (5-14--19) enjoyed a breakout series against Miami, tallying two goals and two assists. With his four-point weekend, Radke moved into third on the team in points and second in assists. Radke has eight points in the Lakers’ last six games.

LSSU junior goalie Kevin Murdock (9-11-0) is third in the CCHA in overall save percentage and 11th nationally at .931. Against CCHA opponents, he ranks fifth in the league in save percentage at .928. Northern Michigan netminder Jared Coreau, who suffered both losses to LSSU earlier in the season, is ninth in the CCHA in overall save percentage (.918) and win percentage (.471).

Elsewhere in the CCHA, it’s Western Michigan at Michigan State, Bowling Green at Notre Dame, Ferris State at Michigan, Ohio State at Miami, and Alaska-Anchorage vs. Alaska.