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Lakers play final CCHA series on home ice

Monday, February 25, 2013   by: Brad Coccimiglio

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI. – A week after ending their four-game losing streak with a pair of wins, the Lake Superior State Lakers hockey team dropped a pair of games on home ice to the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks.

The series marks the final regular season home series for the Lakers as members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Next year the Lakers will join the WCHA as the college hockey landscape sees a transition to new leagues.

The Lakers opened the weekend with a 5-4 loss to the Redhawks on Friday night before dropping a 2-1 decision on Saturday night.

On Friday night, Dan Radke led the way for the Lakers with a goal and two assists in the loss. Domenic Monardo added a pair of goals while Zach Sternberg chipped in with a goal and two assists. Lakers goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 46 shots in Friday’s loss.

“We played good for two periods,” said Lakers coach Jim Roque after Friday’s loss. “In the second period (Miami) really took it to us and scored a couple of goals. To play Miami at home and scored four goals, you have to win.”

Max Cook, Matthew Caito, Riley Barber Marc Hagel and Jimmy Mullin scored for Miami in the win. Hagel finished the night with a goal and two assists. Miami goaltender Jay Williams stopped 25 shots.

“We started off slow and they really took it to us in the first,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “We played well in the second period and the third period kind of went back and fourth. We got a couple of bounces but we got into some penalty trouble too. We were just opportunistic tonight.”

On Saturday night, Caito had the game-winning goal in Miami’s 2-1 victory. Barber also scored for the Redhawks. Miami goaltender Ryan McKay stopped 44 shots in the win.

“When he’s on he’s just so calm,” Blasi said of McKay. “He keeps everybody calm. The save he made at the end (in the final minute) was all about positioning. You don’t make a save like that through traffic without being in the right position. He’s not a flopper and he doesn’t over-extend himself. He just tries to be in the right position.”

Radke had the lone goal for the Lakers on Saturday. Goaltender Kevin Kapalka stopped 29 shots in the loss.

“If we play like that, we’ll get rewarded down the road,” said Roque. “I’m not worried about that. You hope the players understand that you don’t always get results that day. You have to put time in. I was really happy with the effort. If we play like that we’ll get rewarded for it down the road.”

The Lakers wrap up their regular season schedule this weekend when they are on the road to take on Northern Michigan while Miami is at home to take on Ohio State on the final weekend of the regular season.

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