Sunday, November 7, 2010

Laker's Hockey Splits Weekend WIth Northern

LSSU's Domenic Monardo pushes the puck towards the net around NMU's Kory Kaunisto Saturday.

Line up all of the penalty sections of Lake Superior State University Laker (LSSU) ice hockey box scores from any given season and it is obvious which weekends the Northern Michigan University Wildcats (NMU) were in town. This weekends Upper Peninsula match-up was no different and certainly not a disappointment to fans that filled Sault Ste. Marie’s Taffy Abel Arena to watch as the CCHA opponents split the two game set.

Despite providing the Lakers with a 5 to 1 power play advantage and being out shot 43 to 29 the Wildcats managed to win the series opening game. “We’re taking penalties. we’ve been very bad at that all year” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle of the power play advantage his team gave the Lakers this weekend. He was pleased with the Wildcats penalty killing efforts though, “I thought we took a step for sure, we’re growing, we’re getting better and that’s all we can do right now.”

NMU's Tyler Gron

Wildcat junior Andrew Cherniwchan started the game one scoring beating Lakers goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson just past the four minute mark of the first period with NMU individual points leader junior Tyler Gron picking up the Wildcats second goal eight minutes later. NMU reminder Reid Ellingson made 42 saves on the night giving up just one score to LSSU’s Domenic Monardo who took advantage of one of the Lakers four second period power play opportunities to score the Lakers only goal of the night while NMU‘s Jarrod Brown picked up their third score in the games final period with Greger Hanson tacking on a last minute empty netter to round out the night and give the Wildcats the 4 to 1 victory.

“I don’t know if our guys just thought it was going to be easy, I don’t know what they were thinking.” LSSU head coach Jim Roque said of Friday nights game. “Obviously I didn’t do a good enough job to convince them that Northern was going to show up last night (Friday) to play.”

Both coaches opted to start freshman goaltenders for Saturday nights game and LSSU’s Kevin Kapalka (2-1-1) won the penalty filled battle of the first year goalies as the Lakers came back from the Friday night loss to defeat the visiting Wildcats 3 to 1.

LSSU's Kevin Kapalka

Coming off an outstanding weekend against Ohio State NMU net minder Jared Coreau fended off 16 power play shots and 14 even strength shots giving up three scores while Kapalka stopped 21 shots forking over only one power play goal to the Wildcats Justin Florek.

LSSU's Kyle Jean

With all of the nights scoring coming in the second period LSSU freshman Kyle Jean picked up his first goal as a Laker scoring shorthanded at the 5:26 mark followed up by LSSU team captain Rick Schofield’s fourth goal of the year. Schofield’s goal started a two minute flurry that included the NMU goal by Florek and the games final score by LSSU’s Domenic Monardo, his fifth of the season.

LSSU's Zach Trotman (center) goes up over NMU's Erik
Higby to knock the puck away from the front of Laker
goaltender Kevin Kapalka (left)
 “We played good defensively tonight.” said LSSU head coach Jim Roque. “We were focused, we were intense and last night we weren’t.” “Kevin played good in net, I thought we did a good job around him, it was good, it was a real good split.”

After giving senior Brain Mahoney-Wilson the Friday night starts in goal and the Saturday night starts to freshman Kevin Kapalka over the last four weeks coach Roque is ready for a change next weekend. “Is he (Kapalka) going to play next Friday, yeah.” “He’s earned that right, he deserves an opportunity.” said Roque. “Right now I gotta play the guys that give me the best chance to win so I have to give him that chance to come back next Friday to see if he can handle it.”

Both teams will have home ice advantage next weekend against CCHA opponents as the Lakers (3-5-2) face Ferris State and the Wildcats (3-5-1) take on Bowling Green.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lakers Sweep Colgate for First Two Wins

Photos and Story - K. Johnston/Eagle FI

Colgates Francois Brisebois (front) and
LSSU's Dan Barczuk (back) chase down
 a loose puck at center ice Saturday. 

With their season off to a less than stellar beginning the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team needed a confidence boost and they got it this weekend by sweeping the visiting Colgate Raiders. The Lakers took game one of the two game set narrowly defeating the Raiders 2-1 Friday then followed up Saturday with a nail biting, down to the wire 5-4 win.

Coming into the weekend the 0-4-1 Lakers (0-2-0 CCHA) were struggling to put together productive lines. “ I like our team a lot, I think its going to be really good but we just can seem to get the right guys with the right guys yet.” said Lakers head coach Jim Roque in Saturday’s post game interviews. “We just can’t seem to get the right mix.”

On Friday senior Laker goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson turned away 31 shots giving up just one goal to Colgate’s Brian Day during the first period of the game while LSSU sophomore Domenic Monardo picked up his third goal of the season on a first period power play with junior Dan Barczuk tacking on the game winner just over two minutes into the second period.

For Saturdays game two match-up Laker head coach Jim Roque switched to freshman net minder Kevin Kapalka, “I thought Brian (Mahoney-Wilson) played well last night and I wrestled with it all day” said Roque. “ I gotta play Kevin, I gotta give him some time to see if he can help us out through the season here and give Brian a break. ” Kapalka, now 1-1-0 as a Lakers goaltender, faced 30 Colgate shots on the way to his first win at Taffy Abel Arena.

LSSU goaltender Kevin Kalpalka makes a third period save Saturday night.

The Lakers game two offense included even strength goals by seniors Chad Nehring and Matt Cowie, junior Fred Cassiani and freshman Colin Campbell. Freshman Dan Radke came out of the offensive corner and through traffic with less than 15 seconds left in regulation play to bury the game winner giving the Lakers the 5-4 win and the sweep. Campbell and Radke’s goals are the first of the year for both and the first goals by any of the squads freshman so far this year.

LSSU freshman Dan Radke (14) shoots what would be the game winning shot
between the legs of Colgate defender Wade Poplawski (6) 
 “My freshmen have been very good right from day one.” Roque said when asked about his confidence in his freshman picks. “The problem with our team right now is our middle guys (sophomores and juniors) and they know it.” “That middle groups got to get going here. I just have to find places for them in some lines where they can get more touches of the puck, more opportunities to score but they gotta elevate their game too.”

LSSU individual points leader senior Rick Schofield picked up one assist each night and beat out Colgate’s Brian Day for the most face-off wins controlling the puck 41 times over the two games.

Colgate goaltender Alex Evin reaches to block a
shot during the third period Saturday night.
Colgate’s offense for the weekend included three goals by Day, with Saturday goals by sophomore Thomas Larkin and a power play score by sophomore Robbie Bourdon. The Raiders junior net minder Alex Evin fended off 26 of the 28 shots he faced on Friday and 35 of 40 he faced on Saturday.

While the Raider head back New York for a single game non league match up against Sacred Heart next weekend the Lakers will head to Miami of Ohio for their second CCHA series of the year. Headed into this week of the schedule the Miami Red Hawks were ranked in the top 5 in the nation.

Monday, July 5, 2010

2010 Rex Marquardt Memorial Softball Tournament

Lightning batter Trevor Kelly connects with a pitch during the
Championship game of the Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament.

Six mens fast-pitch softball teams rolled into Petoskey's Ed White Feild over the holiday weekend to participate in the 40th annual Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament and when the dust had settled on Sunday afternoon it was the Midland/Frankenmuth area Lightning taking home this years championship trophy.

Sundays championship game wound up being a rematch of the previous evenings game between the Lightning and the Marshall areas Tiffany's.  Undefeated through the weekend the Staurday matchup was the only game in the tournament where an opponent managed to keep the Lightning from winning by virtue of a mercy rule as the Tiffany's pitching and defense held the 2009 Class 'A' National Champion Lightning to just three runs.

Tiffany's first baseman Brett Szagesh looks to the umpire for a call
 after scooping a throw from the dirt during the Championship game
 of the Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament.

The Tiffany's team was unable to contain the Lighning in Sunday's championship contest though as the reigning national champs managed to close out the game in five innings with a 7-0 shutout, mercy rule win.  Lightning pitchers Sean and Tyler Kelly struck put 5 while giving up only one hit to the Tiffany's offense while Lightning batters Adam Saylor and Tyler Kelly led the offense with one home runs each.

Lightning pitcher Sean Kelly pitches during a Saturday
night game at the Rex Marquardt Memorial Tournament.

The Lightning's Sean Kelly also captured the tournaments top pitcher kudo's with 3 wins getting credit for 14 shutout innings giving up only three hits and registering 26 strikeouts.  Bill Kunkel, also of the Lightning came away with the tournaments top batting honors hitting .444 for the weekend.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lakers Offense Frozen Out In Alaska

After being swept by the University of Alaska in Fairbanks last weekend the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team falls to 9th in the CCHA standings and have probably lost any shot at home ice during the opening round of the upcoming conference playoffs.

The Lakers offense went flat last weekend scoring only one goal in the two game series. Alaska scored four unanswered goals against junior LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson on Friday then four more against senior net minder Pat Inglis on Satuday tacking on an empty net score to make that final 5 – 1.

Senior Will Acton tallied the Lakers lone goal just past the halfway point of the second period Saturday. Lake Superior’s power play went 0 for 8 in the series managing only twelve shots on goal while they had the advantage.

The Lakers head west again next weekend to close out the regular season against U.P. rival Northern Michigan. While the Lakers have been dropping down the standings Northern has been making a charge up the list. With only one loss in their last eight games the Wildcats are on a roll headed into season finale series and the playoffs.

Lakers Split With #14 Ferris State

LSSU's Rick Schofield (23) and Ferris State's Matt Case (16) chase a loose puck around
 the Ferris net during Saturday nights game at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

While the weekend didn’t end as perfectly as the Lake Superior State ice hockey team seniors probably wished it had they certainly can’t hang their heads too much about their split with the nationally ranked Ferris State Bulldogs. This weekend was the Lakers final regular season home stand and the seniors got a special thank you from fans at a senior day ceremony following Saturday’s game.

Headed into the third period of Friday nights match up leading the Lakers by two the Bulldogs were in the drivers seat and looking at a win. Lake Superior individual points leader Rick Schofield wasn’t having any of it though scoring the first Lakers goal just 44 seconds into the period. Freshman Domenic Monardo added the Lakers second and tied the score at 2 apiece at the 14:40 mark.

Ferris State’s Casey Haines put the Bulldogs back into the lead beating Lakers goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson with just 58 ticks left on the clock. Schofield answered by scoring on the Bulldog netminder Taylor Nelson ten second later to tie the score again.

With just over a half a minute left in the game the Lakers Will Acton found the back of the net with what would be the game winner for Lake Superior. “It was the most devastating loss I’ve been involved with in college hockey.” Ferris head coach Bob Daniels said of the Friday 4-3 loss.

Ferris State goaltender Pat Nagle deflects away a shot during Saturday nights
 game against Lake Superior State at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Badly in need of a win going into Saturday night the Bulldogs started their goaltending ace Pat Nagle to see if he could shut down the Lakers. Nagle made 24 saves, including a big one that would have tied the game with less than two minutes left on the scoreboard. The junior goalie gave up just one power play goal as Ferris State battled to a 2-1 win over the home team Lakers.

LSSU's Will Acton fires a shot at the Ferris State net during Saturday
 nights game at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Bulldogs Mike Embach and Casey Haines accounted for the two Ferris goals while LSSU’s Will Acton picked up his second point of the weekend with the Lakers lone goal.

Noting the Bulldogs recent winless stretch coach Daniels summed up Saturday’s win as “just one we really needed”.

“I liked our effort tonight better than last night actually.” said Lakers coach Jim Roque after Saturday’s loss. “Obviously the outcome was better last night.” “Just couldn’t find a way to get another goal.”

With two weeks left in the regular CCHA season, and everyone starting to talk playoff’s, Ferris State heads to MSU next weekend while the Lakers will make the trip west to face Alaska before returning to Michigan to end their year against Northern Michigan in Marquette.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Laker Fans Honor Hockey Seniors

Even though there are still two weekends of the regular season and the CCHA playoffs yet to be contested this past weekends ice hockey series against Ferris State was the final regular season home stand for the Lakers.  At the conclusion of Saturday's game this years seniors were honored with in a Senior Night ceremony.

Below is a short slideshow of images of this years seniors from our 2009/10 coverage (photo of Mitch Edmondson courtesy of LSSU Athletic Department).

This years group of departing senior classman includes defenseman Steven Kaunisto (#5), forward Brad Cooper (#11), defenseman Simon Gysbers (#12), forward John Scrymgeour (#19), forward Pat Aubry (#20), forward Zac MacVoy (#27) and goaltenders Pat Inglis (#30) and Mitch Edmondson (#31).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lake Superior State Hockey Swept by Miami of Ohio

For the second time in their last four games the Lakers suffered a near complete defensive breakdown Saturday to lose the final game of their weekend series against Miami of Ohio. After falling 2 – 0 Friday night Lake Superior State utilized all three of their goaltenders in their 10 – 4 Saturday night loss to the Red Hawk’s.

The Lakers offense was unable to find a way to score on the nations number one defense Friday night but their efforts held the Red Hawks to just one goal until the last second of the game when Miami’s Andy Miele scored an empty netter upping the score to 2 – 0.

After giving up goals to Miami’s Miele and Tommy Wingels in the first 8:17 of Saturday nights game Lakers starting goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson, who had been bothered by a hip injury earlier in the year, was replaced by senior Pat Inglis. Inglis gave up five goals to the Red Hawks before the games halfway point prompting Lakers head coach Jim Roque to call on his last net minder, senior Mitch Edmondson, who played the games final 32:53 and allowed the Red Hawks last three goals of the night. The appearance was Traverse City West graduate Edmondson’s first of the year.

Even though LSSU out shot the Red Hawks 75 – 64 in the series the Lakers were unable to score their first goal of the weekend until well into the second period Saturday. Domenic Monardo tallied a shorthanded goal, his first of two scores on the night, at 10:46 of the middle period to finally put the Lakers on the board. Nick McParland and Chad Nehring added even strength goals to the Lakers offensive efforts.

Entering the weekend tied with Notre Dame for fourth in the CCHA standings the pair of losses plummets LSSU to eighth. Swept by Western Michigan, Notre Dame remains tied with the Lakers in the conference standings.

Lake Superior State returns to Sault Ste. Marie next weekend to face Ferris State in their last regular season home stand of the season. The Lakers and Bulldogs will face off at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday night at Taffy Abel Arena.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's Super Bowl Time!

Yes, we know, the pre-game show this year started sometime Thursday morning, at least it certainly feels that way.

Where is your favorite place to hang out and enjoy the game?

Leave us a comment to let us know!  Come back on Monday to vote for your favorite Super bowl commercial on our sports poll!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lakers Ice Hockey To Face #1 Miami of Ohio This Weekend

After a week off the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team heads south to face the Miami of Ohio Red Hawks in Oxford, Ohio. Miami is currently ranked number one in the nation and are firmly situated atop the CCHA standings a full ten points ahead of number two Michigan State. Lake Superior remains in the fourth position, tied with Norte Dame.

The Coach Jim Roque will have to direct the first game of the weekend without the teams individual points leader Rick Schofield who has to sit out a game as the result of a penalty in the Lakers last game against Notre Dame. The rest of the Lakers squad will have to find a way to get the puck past one of the best defenses anywhere. Miami goaltenders Cody Reichard and Connor Knapp are first and second respectively on the CCHA list of lowest goals against average and first and third respectively in win percentage. Add on a 90% penalty kill and the Red Hawks are tough to beat.

Miami is not invincible though. Chinks in their armor this year include losses to Michigan State, Bemidji State and a pair to Robert-Morris who the Lakers swept the weekend before they beat the Red Hawks.

While most media sources acknowledge that the Lake Superior State is having a good year they don’t seem to expect them to finish very strong. Win or lose this series could be one of the biggest of the season for the Lakers. Wins or ties confirm that they are indeed a team worthy of national notice and would be a major confidence boost while losses could be the motivation they need to head into their last three match ups of the season and the playoffs having something to prove.

Game audio is available through WYSS, 99.5 YES FM via their website.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

X Gamer Pastrana Wins Sno-Drift Road Rally

Open class winner Subaru Rally Team USA's Travis Pastrana and Christian Edstrom drive toward the finish of the fifteenth stage of the 2010 Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

January 31, 2010 - X games favorite Travis Pastrana got the full rock star treatment from the hundreds of spectators from across the Great Lakes region who turned out to watch him and his Subaru Rally Team USA partner Christian Edstrom win the 2010 Sno-Drift road rally race in Atlanta, Michigan. Road rally racing is considered to be an extreme sport and, according to the events sanctioning body Rally America, it will be a part of the 2010 Summer X-Games. Teams are required to drive street legal cars which in the case of the Sno-Drift means no studded tires.

With fans filling the designated spectator areas Pastrana, along with a field of international drivers, tackled the two day, twenty stage rally that wound its way through 130 miles of back roads in Montmorency county this past Friday and Saturday. Extremely icy road conditions caused by recent warmer than normal weather were the big news of the weekend. The three top open class finishers all made note of the treacherous conditions and their effect on the race. “It’s literally like driving on a frozen pond.” said driver William Bacon between stages “in sections, its gotta be two inches thick of just ice.”

Open class second place finishers the Rockstar sponsored Antoine L'Estage and
 Nathalie Richard drive toward the finish of the fifteenth stage of the 2010
Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

“Trying not to get to aggressive was the key for us” said Pastrana who finished just over a minute and a half ahead of the Mitsubishi of second place finishers Antoine L’Estage and Nathalie Richard and more than six minutes ahead of the third place team of William Bacon and Peter Watt. Pastrana credited Friday’s seven and a half mile long “Ranch” stage as one of the key sections of the race. “Every year it’s got that one stage that feels like a motocross track. It’s the only time that I can really feel like I can take my background from motocross and really be able to judge where the ruts are.” “It does come down a lot to just going with your gut and at the end of that stage we almost doubled our lead on Antoine (L’Estage). It went from really a push, push, push rally to a okay, lets not make a mistake and see if you can make up the ground kind of rally.”

Fan favorite Ken Block, driving one of the events few American made cars, won the rallies opening leg but was unable to finish Friday and dropped out of the competition after suffering suspension damage while transiting between stages. “Ken always comes out of the blocks hot” said Pastrana at the post race press conference “when he gets a lead he’s almost impossible to catch. We were curious to see how the Ford was going to hold up and how he was going to adapt to it.”

Two Wheel Drive competitors Chris Duplessis and Catherine Woods look for traction
 on the edge of a snowbank as they head towards the finish of the fifteenth stage of the
 2010 Sno-Drift road rally just ouside Atlanta, MI.

Other notable finishers included Terry and Tim Hansen who finished fifth overall and top in the Super Production class as well as two wheel drive driver Christopher Duplessis and his partner Catherine Woods. With almost all of the two wheel drive cars in the event finishing at the bottom of the final results list Duplessis surprised even Rally America officials finishing eleventh overall ahead of more then half the field four wheel drive cars that completed the race.

Rally America’s national championship series moves to Salem, Missouri February 26th and 27th for it’s second scheduled event, the 100 Hundred Acre Wood rally.  Complete results available at


Sunday, January 24, 2010

LSSU Tops Notre Dame in Overtime Shootout

Lake Superior State goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson moves to make an overtime shootout save against Notre Dame in Saturday's overtime shootout in Sault Ste. Marie.

An outstanding career high 45 saves by Notre Dame starting goaltender Mike Johnson was enough to earn the Irish a tie with the home team Lake Superior State Lakers Saturday night in Sault Ste. Marie but not the win. The Lakers picked up two of the three possible conference points by winning the overtime shootout 1-0.

It took less than twenty seconds for the first player to be ejected from the Lakers, Notre Dame game Saturday night and both teams seemed to take it personally as they proceeded to rack up a combined 18 penalties for a total of 68 minutes including calls for spraying the goaltender and embellishment.

Notre Dame's Kevin Deeth (center) gets a hand from team mate Kyle Lawson (2) and the Irish trainer after taking a hit in the first period of their Saturday night game against Lake Superior State Saturday night in Sault Ste. Marie.

Less than 24 hours after Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson complained to the media about the number of bad hits his team has been taking this year the Lakers individual points leader Rick Schofield was disqualified from play at 00:15 on the official score sheet for a hit on Notre Dame’s Kevin Deeth. Seven and half minutes later LSSU’s Dan Barczuk was ejected for a hard check from behind that started a brawl in the Irish zone. Fans booed and cheered and players from both benches exchanged verbal taunts and hand gestures as penalties appeared, disappeared then reappeared on the scoreboard as officials sorted out the resulting 31 minutes of penalties.

Notre Dame right winger Kevin Nugent (20) and goaltender Mike Johnson (center) look on as LSSU's Nick McParland (10) celebrates the Lakers third period goal during Saturday nights game in Sault Ste. Marie.

Even with seven opportunities, including one in the overtime period, neither team managed a power play goal. The first score during regulation play came 59 seconds past the third period halfway mark when LSSU’s Zach Trotman, assisted by Pat Aubry and Steven Kaunisto beat Notre Dame goalie Mike Johnson giving the Lakers the games first lead. 23 seconds later Notre Dame’s Kyle Palmieri and Riley Sheahan set up left winger Nick Larson who got the puck past LSSU net minder Brian Mahoney-Wilson to even the score at one.

Lake Superior State's Domenic Monardo (left) puts the puck between the legs of Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson (right) for the winning goal in Saturday's overtime shootout in Sault Ste. Marie.

With the score stilled tied at one at the end of the five minute overtime period Notre Dame’s Ben Ryan was the first to skate in the tie breaker shootout. Ryan’s attempt failed to get the puck past the Lakers Mahoney-Wilson opening the door for the first LSSU shooter Domenic Monardo. Monardo picked up the puck at center ice and drove towards Notre Dames Mike Johnson scoring between the goaltenders knees and giving the Lakers the lead. With neither of the other two Irish shooters being able to score the Lakers walked away from the evening with two of the three points available for the nights game.

“Lake State played with a lot more energy, which I expected them to” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson “For us to come out with a win and a tie, hey I’ll take that anytime of the day.” Coach Jackson noted the outstanding play of the Irish defensemen who played almost 30 minutes each.

Looking down the road to the CCHA playoffs the points from this weekend and all of the remaining regular season games continue go grow in importance. A top four finish and a first round bye for Notre Dame could be big for team that has been struggling to get their full roster healthy. “It could be a big factor for us from an injury perspective.” said Jackson “We may be able to get a couple of guys back at that point.” “The extra week could certainly potentially help us.”

While results from this weekends series may not have been huge for Notre Dame’s playoff aspirations they could have a big effect on LSSU’s bid for a top four spot in the standings. The Lakers final four match ups are probably the toughest in the CCHA and depending on the outcome of the leagues review of the major penalties assessed in Saturdays game to Schofield and Barczuk coach Jim Roque could be facing conference leading Miami of Ohio in two weeks without one or both of them.

The Lakers have next weekend off before hitting the road to face Miami of Ohio, then back to the Sault for their final home stand of the season against Ferris State.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Notre Dame Tops #18 Lakers

Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson watches a blocked shot bounce away during Friday's game against Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.

Coming off a good showing against now tenth in the nation Michigan State last weekend the Notre Dame mens ice hockey team delivered the message that they are not out for the count as they captured an important road win against their CCHA rival Lake Superior State Lakers. The six to one victory moves the Irish three points closer to the top of the CCHA standings and what could be a much needed first round playoff bye.

"I was kind of surprised" said Irish head coach Jeff Jackson after the Friday night game "its been such a long first half as far as scoring goals, for us to score goals is a good thing." "We just needed to be patient, we had to play a good road game and I thought we did."

The Lakers Steven Kaunisto started the scoring when he beat Notre Dame starting goalie Mike Johnson from just inside the blue line one second past the two minute mark of the first. Notre Dame's Ryan Thang evened the score at one at 13:41 to close out the periods scoring.

Lake Superior State goaltender Pat Inglis stares down a shot from Notre Dame's Riley Sheahan Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie.

The second period was all Notre Dame as the Lakers where unable to slow down the Irish offensive pressure. Irish junior Ben Ryan and sophomore Patrick Gaul both scored within the first seven minutes of the period upping the score to 3 - 1. Less than two minutes later junior Calle Ridderwall beat LSSU starting goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson for Notre Dame's fourth score sending him to the bench. Ridderwall didn't do much for replacement goalie Pat Inglis' stats beating him twice before the end of the period to raise the Irish lead to five and complete a single period hat trick.

Neither team managed to find the back of the net in the third making Ridderwall's final goal the end of the evenings scoring. "We had a bad second period." said Lakers head coach Jim Roque. "They were way more desparate and hungry for the puck. We need a great effort tomorrow night to get a split." "We've got to play with more energy."

The one bright spot for the Lakers was their power play kill. Even with several opportunities the Irish's tied for best in the CCHA power play managed only one goal on a five on three chance in the second.

Notre Dame's Ian Cole lays on the ice after a hard check during the Irish's Friday night game against Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie.

Already paying without several of their key players the Irish suffered yet another lose to their line up when junior Ian Cole was forced to leave the game with a possible concussion. "We lost Cole, again with another high hit, that's concussion number seven this year." said coach Jackson. "Its been tough on us." "Frankly I'm getting really tired of the high hits and checks from behind." "Its really become an issue and someone needs to do something about it."

The Lakers and Irish will face off for the final game of their weekend series tomorrow at 7:05 at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here Come the Irish

This weekends match up against visiting Notre Dame could provide the nations #18 Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team an opportunity to put some breathing room between themselves and the three CCHA teams that are within reach of their current fourth place standing in the conference.

With fifth place Alaska, along with Michigan and Notre Dame who are tied for sixth, all within the maximum weekend series point total of six the Lakers will have to be on their ‘A’ game to stay in the conferences top four and increase their chances for a first round bye in this years CCHA playoffs.

Hampered by injuries throughout the season the Irish have been unable to put together any substantial winning steaks with their longest being four that included two regulation wins and two overtime shoot out wins. That by no means makes them a push over. Notre Dame’s goal scoring defense (goals against) ranks fifth in the conference, two spots above the Lakers, and their 20.1 power play conversion percentage is tied for first. Add on the three overtime shootout wins, an area that has been a problem for the Lakers, and the keys to a good weekend for LSSU will be to score early and minimize their time in the penalty box.

A good weekend could be a must for LSSU as they will hit the road to face off against the number two in the nation, conference leading Miami of Ohio next weekend and then number eight in the nation, third in the conference Ferris State the following weekend.

The puck drops for the Lakers and Irish both Friday and Saturday nights at 7:05 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Monday, January 18, 2010

LSSU Breaks Into Nations Top Twenty

Coming off a pair of wins over the University of Nebraska-Omaha the Lake Superior State Lakers mens ice hockey team has broken into the nations top twenty for the first time this season. Placed at 18th in this weeks USCHO Division I national poll LSSU becomes the third Michigan team to make it into this weeks rankings.

Lake Superior State’s addition to the poll means that the top four teams in the CCHA’s are now ranked in the nations top twenty.

CCHA’s Ranked Teams

# 2 - Miami of Ohio
# 8 - Ferris State
#10 - Michigan State
#18 - Lake Superior State

Other CCHA teams that received votes in this week’s poll include Michigan, Notre Dame and Alaska.

Lake Superior still has to face both Miami and Ferris before the conclusion of their season but before that they will have to hold off Notre Dame this coming weekend at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Last Minute Break Gives Lakers Win Over UNO

University of Nebraska-Omaha's Jeric Agosta (left) and LSSU's Rick Schofield get ready for a second period faceoff during the Lakers and Mav's Friday night game.

K. Johnston/Eagle Feature & Image

Jan. 15, 2010 - LSSU was out shot 38 to 29 by the visiting University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) Mavericks Friday night but a score with less than two minutes left in the third period after a missed off side call put the game into the Lakers win column.

University of Nebraska-Omaha's Terry Broadhurst (top, center) and Jeric Agosto (bottom, center) watch as the puck goes into the LSSU net despite the eforts of the Lakers goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson (left) and defenders Kyle Haines (top, right) and Will Acton (bottom right) during the Lakers and Mav's Friday night game.

Both the Mavericks and the Lakers came into this weekends series looking to improve their CCHA standings and UNO managed to get on the board first just short of the halfway point of the first period when senior Jeric Agosto score from inside a scrum at the front of the Lakers net. The Lakers Nick McParland scored the only second period goal just two seconds after the end of a LSSU power play evening the score at one headed into the third.

LSSU's Will Acton (left) and Zach Trotman (right) grab team mate Rick Schofield (center) after he score the game winning goal during the Lakers Friday night game against the visiting University of Nebraska-Omaha.

With less than two minutes remaining in regulation time LSSU’s Will Acton stole the puck in the defensive zone and headed up ice accompanied by line mates Zach Trotman and Rick Schofield. Schofield found himself the recipient of an almost perfect pass from Acton and beat Mavs goalie John Faulkner for the game winner. Fortunatley for the Lakers the on ice officials did not whistle the play dead when Acton entered the zone ahead of the puck making him off side. Had the call been made it would have negated Schofields score giving the Mavs the chance to either score themselves or send the game to overtime.

Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks head coach Dean Blais voices his displeasure after the end of the third period about a missed call that cost his team their Friday night game against the Lake Superior State Lakers.

UNO head coach Dean Blais was visibly upset about the missed call pleading his case on the ice with officials after the final buzzer. “From my spot he looked off side, and after watching the tape he was definitely offside” said Lakers head coach Jim Roque after the game. “I feel bad for them, they played real hard tonight.”

The win, along with a loss by Alaska Fairbanks puts the Lakers into a tie for fourth in the CCHA standings for the time being. The Mavericks will have a chance to split the series when the two teams face off again Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in Sault Ste. Marie.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lakers Head Into Seasons Final Stretch Starting With Nebraska

K. Johnston - EAGLE FI

Jan. 14, 2010 - Heading into the seasons home stretch the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey team has already matched their 2008/09 CCHA win record and have surpassed last seasons overall win total. If the Lakers can maintain their winning ways they might be headed towards what could be a very successful season.

The balance of the conferences fifth place Lakers schedule is filled with league opponents including three of the four CCHA teams they are chasing, two of which are ranked in the nations top ten. Head coach Jim Roque’s squad starts its run towards the playoffs at home this weekend against the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks at Taffy Abel Arena in the Sault. The Lakers and Mavs split their previous meeting last November in Omaha.

The Mavs head to Sault Ste. Marie coming off a split series with CCHA rival Alaska and trying to get back to the form that had them ranked in the nations top twenty for a good part of the early season. Nebraska will have to step up their offensive efforts if they hope to topple the Lakers who are coming off a tough road loss and an overtime shootout win against the top ten ranked Michigan State Spartans last weekend.

With four teams nipping at their heels and just one point behind fourth place Alaska the 12-8-4 overall and 7-7-2 conference Lakers will be fighting for a top four spot in the league standings to earn a first round CCHA playoff bye. The battle starts against the Mavs this Friday and Saturday before facing Notre Dame on the 22nd and 23rd of the month.

2nd, 6th,and 7th in the Nation Battle for Top of CCHA Standings

K. Johnston - EAGLE FI

Jan. 14, 2010 - The number two in the nation Miami of Ohio ice hockey team will face off against the number six ranked Ferris State Bulldogs this weekend in a match-up of the top teams in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). Ferris State and the visiting Redhawk’s are tied with 34 points each in the CCHA standings just one point ahead of number three Michigan State who is also ranked in the nations top ten.

The Redhawks come into Big Rapids after being knocked out of the national number one spot by the unranked Robert Morris last weekend and looking to avenge the two overtime shootout losses they suffered at the hands of the Bulldogs last November. Playing without one of their top five goal scorers after freshman Travis Ouellette was suspended for two games as the result of an incident during the Bulldogs recent series against Notre Dame, Ferris, averaging 3.5 goals per game this season, may have to wring out every ounce of home ice advantage if they plan on capturing the leagues top position.

Miami will depend in its league leading goaltending and defense to try to shut down the Bulldogs offense including its CCHA leading power play. With both teams averaging almost twenty minutes worth of penalties per game the power play and penalty kill could easily become the determining factor in this weekends competitions.

A split weekend between the two teams could open the door for the Michigan State Spartans to make a move for the top of the league standings. A Spartans sweep of CCHA rival Notre Dame this weekend along with a Ferris State – Miami split would put the Spartans in the leagues drivers seat two points up on both the Bulldogs and Redhawks.

With all of the remaining games on Ferris, Miami and MSU’s schedules being conference matchups capitalizing on this weekend’s contests could be key in determining who winds up on the top of the CCHA heap at the end of the season.

Other Michigan CCHA teams include Michigan, LSSU, Western, and Northern.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Michigan Dog Sled Racing Season Begins

K. Johnston - EAGLE FI

Jan. 12, 2010 - Watching the mass of barking, whining and jumping unruly dogs in the starting shoot it’s hard to imagine them ever working as any sort of team. It looks like chaos but when the starter yells “GO!” the dogs are instantly silent and focused. The only sound you hear is the sliding of well waxed sled skis and gentle thumps of dog paws digging into the packed snow surface of the trail.

Courtney Frank of Lodi, OH and her six dog team crest the courses first hill at the inaugural Lake Louise/Thumb Lake Sled Dog Race.

Plenty of snow and cold temperatures were perfect for the opening weekend of the Michigan sled dog racing season. This past weekends inaugural running of the Lake Louise/Thumb Lake sprint races in Boyne Falls (south of Petoskey) and the Tehquamenon distance races at the Upper Peninsula’s Rainbow Lodge north of Newberry were the first of twenty-five scheduled Michigan events including one of the lower 48’s longest running.

Next weekends 45th running of the Midwest International Dog Sled Race at the Kalkaska Winterfest will continue the events legacy of being the oldest, continuously run sled dog race in the state and second oldest in the lower 48. A sprint race, the event also includes a weight pulling competition and is the only race in the state that will include an unlimited/open class where musher’s can run any number and combination of dogs they wish.

The two main types of sled dog events are sprint and distance races. Sprint races are generally shorter in length, less than ten miles, and include several different classes that are defined by the number and breed of dogs in the team. The length of the sprint courses vary within the same event based on the number of dogs allowed in the team.

A 12 dog team competes in a 2006 Tehquamenon distance race FILE PHOTO - EAGLE FI

Distance races also have different classes determined by the number of dogs in the teams but race lengths can be a hundred miles or more and last for several days. The largest distance race in the Michigan is the U.P. 200 that runs a 240 mile course from Marquette to Grand Marais and back. Run in the latter half of February the 200 hundred draws world-class racers and teams that can use their participation in the race as an Iditarod qualifier.

Other races of note on the Michigan schedule include the fan popular Mackinaw Mush in Mackinaw City, the Atlanta 45th Parallel Sled Dog Race, the Jack Pine 30 in Gwinn the upper peninsula’s Kinross Classic. Midwest race schedules and links to individual race websites can be found online at

Monday, January 11, 2010

LSSU Lakers Spoil Spartans Bid For Top Spot in CCHA

After a Friday night win over the Lake Superior State Lakers at Lansing’s Munn Arena the nationally ranked Michigan State Spartans looked poised to capture first place in the CCHA hockey league. All the Spartans had to do to move past number one Miami of Ohio was beat the Lakers on Saturday.

After losing a hard fought game 4-2 on Friday the Lakers took to the ice Saturday looking to hold on to their own fifth place in the league standings. The Lakers went after MSU starting goal tender Drew Palmisano hard in the first period with sixteen shots on goal but were unable to score. State’s Dustin Gazley scored the periods only goal beating LSSU starting net minder Brian Mahoney-Wilson with less than a minute left before the first intermission.

In the second period it was Mahoney-Wilson who had to face the offensive push fighting off all twelve of MSU’s shots on goal. LSSU’s Steven Kaunisto beat the MSU defense to tally the only goal of the second tying the score at one.

LSSU Dan Barczuk started the scoring 2:36 into the third period giving the Lakers their first lead of the game. MSU’s Andrew Rowe evened the score at 9:23 with the games only power play score. Less than a minute later Lakers individual points leader Rick Schofield picked up his second point of the night scoring a shorthanded goal and putting the Lakers back on top 3-2. With less than three minutes left in the game National Player of the Month the Spartan’s Corey Tropp tied the score at three and sending the game to overtime.

After a scoreless five minute overtime period each of the CCHA rivals received one point in the conference standings and then went to a three player shootout to determine who would get the final of the nights three possible points. The point moved MSU to within one of league leading Miami of Ohio and left LSSU tied with Ohio State for fifth.

MSU’s Dean Chelios got past Mahoney-Wilson in the first round of shots but neither of the Spartans subsequent shooters could score. The first two LSSU shooters were unsuccessful in their attempts at MSU goalie Palmisano but Zac MacVoy made his shot leaving the tie breaking chances to a fourth round of shooters. After misses by both fourth round shooters LSSU’s Domenic Monardo put the extra point into the Lakers season total leaving them once again in sole possession of the CCHA’s fifth spot.

Even coming off a sweep of the team that was sweeping the number one team in the nation while the Lakers were narrowly losing one and then tying one against a top ten team LSSU seems even further away from a national top 20 spot receiving less votes in this weeks polls than in lasts. A pair of losses by Miami of Ohio to Robert-Morris and MSU’s win over Lake State moved the Spartan’s up to seventh in the USCHO national poll

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lakers Hockey Sweeps Robert Morris, Win Streak to Six

K. Johnston/ Eagle FI

JAN 3, 2010 - The Lake Superior State Lakers got out their brooms and started the new year off with a two game sweep of Pennsylvania’s Robert Morris University. The pair of wins extends the teams current win streak to six and considering regulation ties they are unbeaten in their last eight games.

Playing the first game of the series on Satuday instead of the usual Friday the Lakers, behind junior goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson, held off a third period flurry by the Robert Morris Colonials to win 7 to 6. Out shot 43 to 37 in the game the Lakers power play scored on three of their four opportunities while they managed to kill four of the five man advantage chances given to the Colonials.

EF&I FILE PHOTO - Lake Superior State University's Ben Power

Zach Trotman, Ben Power, Kyle Haines, Pat Aubry, Zac MacVoy, Simon Gysbers and Fred Cassiani all racked up scores against two of the three goalies the Colonials sent to defend the net. MacVoy also picked up his thirteenth assist of the season on Kyle Haines second period even strength goal.

EF&I FILE PHOTO - Lake Superior State University goaltender Pat Inglis

Senior Pat Inglis got the starting nod in net from Lakers coach Jim Roque for Sunday’s game two. Inglis held the Colonials scoreless for the full 60 minutes to tally his first shutout of the season. Matt Cowie and Rick Schofield scored the games only goals against Robert Morris goalie Brooks Ostergard. Cowie scored at even strength just past eleven minutes into the second assisted by Nick McParland and Chad Nehring. Schofield, assisted by Nehring and Zac MacVoy, scored late in the same period on one of the Lakers seven power play opportunities. The Lakers power play kill was flawless holding the Colonials scoreless on six attempts.

EF&I FILE PHOTO - Lake Superior State University's Chad Nehring

The Lakers head to Lansing next weekend to face off against the Michigan State Spartans. As of today the Spartans are the second highest nationally ranked Michigan team at 13th just two behind Ferris State who is ranked 11th.