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
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.