Sunday, March 6, 2011

LSSU Defeats Ohio State to Advance in CCHA Playoffs

Lake Superior State Lakers swarm goal tender Kevin
Kapalka after defeating OSU in round one of the CCHA
playoffs at Taffy Abel Arena.
Its playoff season in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and this weekends first round match up pitted the number eight finisher, the Lake Superior State Lakers against the number nine Ohio State Buckeyes. Enjoying home ice advantage at Taffy Abel Arena the stage was set for the Lakers squad to bounce back in a big way after being swept by Miami of Ohio in their final regular season series which they did by taking the first two games in the best of three series and advancing into round two.

OSU starting goal tender Cal Heeter

The series started Friday night and even though the score might have made it sound like a one sided offensive triumph for the Lakers that was not the case. It was in fact a defensive battle in which the stars, OSU starting goalie Cal Heeter and LSSU starting goaltender, freshman Kevin Kapalka, whose .926 save percentage is second in the conference, combined for a total of 84 saves. Kalpalka’s 48 saves was a career high that earned him his first playoff victory and the shutout.

LSSU's (left to right) Chad Nehring, Kevin Kalpalka, Zach Trotman
 and Will Acton form a wall in front of the net during round one of
the CCHA playoffs.
 Other than a first period even strength score by the Lakers Dan Radke the net minders held their opponents scoreless until almost the halfway point of the third including a combined 39 second period saves. Laker freshman Kellan Lain put the second dent in the goaltender shoot out when he beat Heeter at the 9:44 mark of the third. LSSU added two more points on empty net scores by team captain Rick Schofield and sophomore Nick McParland. Schofield’s score was his 100th point as a Laker.

It was clear Saturday night that both teams had shifted into playoff mode as they came out at a fast and furious pace.

LSSU's Zach Trotman, Will Acton and Rick Schofield
celebrate Schofields second period score Saturday night.
O for 3 on Friday night the Lakers power play was the first to score Saturday when sophomore Ben Power found the back of the OSU net 11:15 into the first period. Lakers senior Will Acton tacked on number two with an even strength goal just past the six minute mark of the second period and captain Rick Schofield capitalized on the Lakers third power play opportunity giving the Lakers a 3-0 lead that they would take into the third period.

OSU wasn’t going down without a fight and they came out in the third to prove it. The Buckeyes finally managed to crowd the from of the net and scored twice in the first six minutes of third. LSSU starter Kevin Kapalka and the Lakers defense managed to hold off Ohio States offense after that to claim their berth in the next playoff round.

The Lakers round two opponent won’t be known until the completion of the remaining first round CCHA playoff series’.

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