Wednesday, December 30, 2009

LSSU Lakers Ice Hockey Ready to Start Seasons Second Half

After finishing the first half of the 2009/2010 season four wins better than the same point last season the Lake Superior State University ice hockey team heads to Pennsylvania this weekend to start what could be the toughest second half schedule of any CCHA team.

After a pair of games against Robert Norris this weekend, who split with the Lakers at home last year, five of the eight teams LSSU will face in the second half are currently ranked in the nations top 20 including #1 Miami of Ohio, #12 Ferris State and #13 Michigan State. Tack on a season final match up against Upper Peninsula rivals Northern Michigan in Marquette and the Lakers could be primed to turn in an overall great season.

LSSU Lakers mens ice hockey head coach Jim Roque. FILE PHOTO - Eagle FI

“We’re excited we had a decent first half” said Lakers head coach Jim Roque, “we have the opportunity to have a great season.” Roque says confidence is a big plus for his team heading into the second half. “We’ve got some good older players” said Roque in a telephone interview Wednesday. “The last three games (before the holiday break) we started scoring goals and played better defensively”. “Our confidence has been dictated by our goalie.” he added. “Brian has played really well”. Brian Mahoney-Wilson’s team leading .920 save percentage “helps give other players the confidence to play better. They know it’s okay if they make a mistake.”

In addition to continued goal tending success the Lakers are going to need players who have had led in the first half to continue to produce. Players like junior Chad Nehring who leads the team in goals heading into the second half with eleven including six power play goals that account for 50 % of the teams total of twelve power play scores. Junior Rick Schofield who tops the individual points earners with 9 goals and 9 assists and senior forward Zac McVoy who’s team high 12 assists added to his four goals put him in second place of the individual points count with 16.

Currently in sole possession of fifth place in the CCHA almost every remaining game for the Lakers will be against another one of the leagues top seven teams. “They’re always tough games” says Roque of second half contests. With only seven points separating the second and fifth place teams every series in the second half has the chance of drastically altering LSSU’s league standings and whether or not they can call their season a success. Considering that only one team in the first half really dominated the Lakers, chances of a good finish are certainly within their reach.

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