For the third time this season, Michigan will be going up against an opponent that we've already seen this season (Minnesota, Northern Michigan). Without further ado, here are 10 things to know about the LSSU Lakers:
1) Links of note: MGoBlog's weekend preview (including a nice PWR breakdown, which I'm not smart enough to do, so thanks for that!), My recap of the last series, LSSUHockey.com's weekend preview, as well as their recap of the last series, The Wolverine's weekend preview.
1) Michigan cruised to 5-1 and 6-2 wins up at the Soo, despite coming out -9 on power play opportunities (LISKO!!!). Because that makes sense and all. Michigan actually trailed both games after the first period (1-0 Friday, 2-1 Saturday) before building two-goal leads during each second period and cruising to easy wins. We somehow held them without a PPG Saturday, despite giving up 10 PP opportunities, and 15 power play shots. Note: The 7 fewer power play opportunities that we had in Saturday night's game was the biggest deficit we've had in five years.
2) In their earlier series, Kevin Porter had 2-1--3 in each game and the top line combined for 5-7--12 in the two contests. The zinger of a stat from Saturday night: In blocking 5 shots, Chris Summers stopped just four less pucks than Laker goalie Pat Inglis. We saw each goalie, lit em both up. Michigan also had a slew of breakaways, most of which they buried. For the Lakers, Zac MacVoy and Rick Schofield each had 1-1--2 and Dan Eves had a pair of assists. On faceoffs, we were -2 and -6 against LSSU before.
3) LSSU comes in unbeaten in five, but as MGoBlog points out in the article I linked above, it was a split with OSU (with the win coming second, obviously), and three point weekends against Ferris and Western Michigan. I'll give them credit for that though. Ferris isn't a bad team and WMU is tough at home (coming into that weekend they were 6-8-0 at home vs. 1-11-2 away from Lawson). They've also given up just 8 goals in their last four games after giving up 20 in the previous 4.
4) Against the "Big Four" in the CCHA, they've gone 0-9-1, with the lone tie coming against MSU. In those games they've been outscored 52-17. Amazingly, they gave up exactly 11 goals in four of those five series. So I've got a guess at how many goals we'll put up this weekend.
5) LSSU is 6-16-6 overall, but just 2-8-5 away from home. They're 4-13-5 in the CCHA and are in tenth place in the CCHA, without much hope of hosting a first round series. Their wins came against Clarkson (nice win, I also think that says something about Clarkson), BGSU, WMU, Ferris, OSU, and Wayne State. They also tied Minnesota-Duluth, who would like totally win the CCHA because all WCHA teams are awesome.
6) Zac MacVoy leads the team in scoring, with 8-10--18 in 26 games. They've also got three guys with 17 points. Nathan Perkovich leads the team with 13 goals. If you count just his performances in the two games against LSSU, Kevin Porter would rank T-5 in goals (with 4) and T-10 in points (with 6) on the Lakers. That might be the meanest stat I've ever come up with.
7) Brian Mahoney-Wilson is 4-8-3 on the year with a 3.13/.895 and Pat Inglis is 2-8-3 with a 3.97/.873, ranking 58th and 69th in save percentage respectively (there are 59 teams). Jeff Jakaitis they are not. Mahoney-Wilson was in net for the wins over OSU and Ferris (as well as the nice wins against Clarkson and BGSU). It seems they platoon, however.
8) Perkovich does rank in the top ten nationally with 8 power-play goals, but the Lakers as a whole are 52nd in the country in offense, averaging 2.25 goals per game. It's not better defensively where the Lakers are 57th in the country, giving up 3.57 goals a night.
9) Their power play is middle of the pack, putting in goals on 15.6% of their opportunities. If someone would like to inform me how LSSU has ended up on the power play 147 times this year (14th in the country), I'd love to hear it.
10) As you'd expect with a team toward the bottom defensively, they tend to get killed when they're short-handed. They rank next-to-last in penalty killing at 71.6% (note: The next team ahead of them is 76.0%). Only Alabama-Huntsville is worse.
Anything less than 4 points is absolutely a disappointment, and probably costs us the CCHA title.
Just keep your fingers crossed that we don't see Craig Lisko skate onto the ice tonight. Over our last 10 games against LSSU, we've had fewer power play opportunities than the Lakers in four of them, and he's been the ref for three of those. We're -13 in the three games he's done, +6 in the other 6 (and that includes a -6 out of McInchak--the second biggest deficit we've had in the last five years).
I'm serious about wanting someone to explain this to me....