Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lakers continue playoff run with a quarterfinal series at Western Michigan

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – No. 20 Lake Superior State will be playing for a chance to advance to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association semifinals at Joe Louis Arena when it meets No. 16 Western Michigan during this weekend’s quarterfinal playoff series.

Western Michigan (17-13-6 overall, 14-10-4-4 CCHA), which is the tournament’s No. 3 seed, had a bye last weekend during the first round of CCHA Playoffs. The seventh-seeded Lakers (18-15-5 overall, 10-12-4-4 CCHA) are coming off a first-round home sweep against Alaska, 4-3 and 2-0.

This is the second year in a row that LSSU has swept at home and advanced to the CCHA Quarterfinals. The Lakers also secured their first winning season since 2006-07, which is the last time they made it to Joe Louis Arena. The Lakers were 21-19-3 that year.

Games will be played Friday, Saturday and (if-necessary) Sunday at 7:05 p.m. at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich. The games will be broadcast live on 99.5 Yes FM.

Tickets are $17 each or $11 when 10 or more tickets are purchased at one time. To order, call 888-496-8849 (888-4WMUTIX) or go to There is a $7 handling fee for ordering tickets online, except on game day. LSSU fans will be seated in Section 22, but fans can choose any second when ordering online.

The Lakers split with the Broncos during their last regular-season home series, losing 3-1 and winning 3-2. Overall the Lakers lead the all-time series against WMU, 69-45-15. In Kalamazoo, LSSU is 28-28-10 against the Broncos.

The Lakers and Western Michigan will meet in post-season play for the first time since the 2008-09 season when the Lakers lost in three games at Kalamazoo. LSSU won the first game, 6-4, and then lost 4-3 in two overtimes and 3-1.

LSSU returns three point-grabbers from the 2008-09 playoff series at WMU. Senior forward Fred Cassaini (7-14—21; 2011-12) tallied one goal and one assist. Junior forward Brett Wall and senior defenseman Kyle Haines (6-15—21; 2011-12) each tallied an assist for the Lakers. Cassiani has a career playoff point total of 4-3—7, while Haines has 1-3—4. Sophomore forwards Kellan Lain (3-2—5) and Kyle Jean (0-4—4), and junior forwards Ben Power (1-4—5) and Nick McParland (1-3—4) are also among LSSU’s career playoff point leaders.

During 2011-12 regular season play, the Lakers had four multiple point scorers during the series against the Broncos. Sophomore forward Colin Campbell (7-16—23) had one goal and two assists, while Cassiani has three assists. Haines added two assists, and sophomore forward Dan Radke (3-7—10) netted a goal and assist.

Overall the Lakers are second in the CCHA on the power-play (19.6 percent), while Western Michigan sits in fifth place (18.8). The Lakers were 3-for-7 on the power-play against the Broncos and held WMU to 2-for-4 in February. On the penalty kill the Lakers are ranked fifth overall (84.1) and the Broncos are sixth (84.0). Nationally, the Lakers are ranked 13th in penalty killing and WMU is 14th.