Lakers’ seniors bid farewell with tough matchup against Minnesota State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 18, 2014
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.- Lake Superior State will play host to Minnesota State Friday and Saturday during its final regular-season home hockey series. It will be the first time that the two Western Collegiate Hockey Association schools will face each other and the final two games the Laker seniors will play in Taffy Abel Arena if they are unable to secure a home playoff matchup.
The Lakers will honor their eight senior players on Saturday night following the game.
The Lakers (16-15-1, 12-12-0) enter the matchup against the Mavericks (19-13-0, 17-7-0) tied for fifth place in the conference with 24 points, a three point advantage over rival Northern Michigan, which currently sits on the outside of the playoff picture. The Mavericks have been neck-and-neck with the first-place Ferris State Bulldogs during the second half of the WCHA schedule but currently trail the Bulldogs by four points in the WCHA standings. Both Minnesota State and Ferris State will receive first round home playoff bids.
The puck drops at 7:37 p.m. ET on Friday and 7:07 p.m. ET on Saturday. Yes-FM 99.5 will broadcast both games, and a pay-per-view webcast is available on the AmericaOne Network. The Mavericks, who have never faced the Lakers, are currently scoring 3.12 goals per game while only allowing 2.56 goals per game. They rank in the top three in the WCHA in both categories.
Senior goaltender Kevin Kapalka (9-5-1) was back in the Blue and Gold after being out of the lineup since an injury forced him to come out during the first period of a home game against Bemidji State Jan. 10. Kapalka stood strong for the Lakers this past weekend while allowing only three goals and turning aside 40 combined shots against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers. Over the weekend Kapalka broke the 3,000 saves mark and currently sits third in all-time saves for the Lakers with 3,027.
Offensively for the Lakers against the Chargers it was a combination of senior Colin Campbell (11-14—25) and junior Stephen Perfetto (7-13—20) who stepped up for the Lakers. Campbell finished the weekend as a +2 and scored the tying goal Friday night before adding a pair of assists on the tying goal and game-winner Saturday night. Perfetto, who was also a +2 for the weekend, scored key goals during both games. After scoring the game-winning goal during the Friday night 2-1 win, Perfetto scored the game-tying goal on Saturday night with just 1:54 remaining in the second period. Perfetto also registered 11 shots on goal for the weekend.
Campbell is tied for sixth in the WCHA in game-winning goals with three. Kevin Czuczman (9-11--20), a junior, is tied for fifth in the WCHA in overall defenseman points and leads the conference in goals by a defenseman. Czuczman is also tied for second in the nation for goals by a defenseman. Senior Zach Sternberg (5-11—16) is 11th in the WCHA for defenseman scoring. Nationally, LSSU forward Alex Globke (11-18-29) is tied for sixth in rookie points while continuing to lead the WCHA in freshman scoring. He is tied for first in the WCHA in rookie goals scored. Globke is also tied for seventh in overall WCHA scoring. LSSU forward Garret Clemment (3-12—15) is eighth in the conference in rookie scoring.
With two series left and WCHA teams in third through ninth in the standings only seven points apart, there is still some mystery as to how the rest of the conference standings will shake out and who will be joining Alabama-Huntsville as playoff snubs. The Lakers will have a tough test ahead of them if they want to make the playoffs. Their next series after facing the second-place Mavericks is on the road against the top-seeded Ferris State Bulldogs.
Saturday following the game, the Lakers will send off seniors Dan Radke, Kevin Murdock, Niels Erik-Ravn, Andrew Perrault and captain Matt Bruneteau. Kapalka, Campbell, and Sternberg. Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night, and all tickets are $5. LSSU will also have a free drawing for two passes to the WCHA Final Five.