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.