Sunday, November 14, 2010

LSSU Sweeps Nationally Ranked Ferris State

Photos and Story by K. Johnston/Eagle Feature & Image

Coming off a great weekend against Miami of Ohio the last thing the nationally ranked Ferris State Bulldogs (20) ice hockey team expected was to get shutout by the Lake Superior State Lakers and their freshman goalie Kevin Kapalka. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs not only did they get shut out once but twice as the Lakers defense held them scoreless for the weekend to pick up their second home ice sweep of the season.

LSSU's Nick McParland
 Kapalka earned his first shutout as a Laker Friday night at Taffy Abel arena by fending off thirty Ferris shots while LSSU sophomore Nick McParland tallied the games only score when he beat Ferris starting net minder Pat Nagle on the first of the Lakers two second period power play opportunities. The goal was the only shot of the 33 Nagle faced that he missed picking up his third loss of the season.

After losing 1-0 Friday night Ferris came out in the opening period of Saturdays game looking like they were there on a mission out shooting the Lakers 11 to 4 and for the most part keeping LSSU out of the offensive zone.

The Lakers turn came in the second as the pace and physical level of the game jumped to new level. The Lakers took advantage of every opportunity as freshman Kellan Lain, sophomore Domenic Monardo and junior Fred Cassiani all found the inside of the Bulldog net within the first five minutes of the period. Monardo picked up his second goal of the night, and the Lakers individual points lead, when he found himself in possession of the puck just past the halfway mark of the period which he promptly put past Nagle for the final score of the night closing out the LSSU 4-0 victory and the sweep.

LSSU's Fred Cassiani celebrates after scoring
in the second period of the Lakers Saturday game
against Ferris State.

“After the first I just thought our forwards weren’t doing good enough up the ice. I thought they were sitting back to much.” said Laker coach Jim Roque. “In the second we kinda got it going a little.”

LSSU goaltender Kevin Kapalka gets set to
handle a shot from Ferris States Jordie Johnston.
Laker net minder Kevin Kapalka faced 33 shots Saturday while Ferris’ Pat Nagle faced 16 through two periods before being replaced at the start of the third by Taylor Nelson who racked up 5 saves in his 20 minute appearance. The pair of shut outs gives Kapalka a fifth place overall goaltender ranking among all CCHA goalies and a first place ranking in conference play.

“Give Lake State (LSSU) a lot of credit” Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels said in Saturday’s post game interviews. “I thought they played very well. They were very responsible in their own end.” “Their kid in net was solid, he gobbled up pucks, he didn’t leave a lot of pucks laying around.”

The both LSSU and Ferris will face CCHA opponents again next weekend as the Lakers travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan while the Bulldogs will be hosting Western.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

There are many great men and women that came before us and paved the road along which freedom lies. To those who, in whole or part, gave themselves in defense of it we offer our eternal thanks. To those who stand guard over it today we offer our prayers and our support. To those who will stand that watch tomorrow we wish for you many peaceful days and quiet nights.

Thank a vet. It’s their day, they earned it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

LSSU Hockey Splits Weekend With NMU

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.