Men's Preview: LSSU @ Clarkson
Clarkson is off to their best start in nearly two decades, and this weekend they take on a team they have not faced in a decade, as they welcome Lake Superior State University to Cheel Arena for a weekend series. Lake State enters the series with a 1-1-0 record after a split last weekend against CCHA rival Ohio State. The Lakers were shut out 1-0 on Friday night and won 7-6 in overtime on Saturday. Lake Sate is lead by former Clarkson assistant Jim Roque who is in his second year at the helm, replacing Frank Anzalone.
Roque and his team face a tough challenge coming into Cheel. Clarkson has not lost in their home building since November 26, 2005. Since then Clarkson has compiled a 9-0-1 record at home and are 16-2-2 at Cheel dating back to the start of last season. LSSU was 5-8-3 on the road last year and was outs scored 44-36 outside of Sault Ste. Marie. Lake State's defense is young, consisting of one senior, one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen, look for the Clarkson forwards to try and exploit this early on Friday night with a quick couple goals.
Early on in the season with the new USA Hockey rules interpretations, there are going to be plenty of penalties called. It's a part of the game now, and until the players or referee's change it's here to stay. Last weekend LSSU took went 8 for 11 on the penalty kill and 2 for 14 on the powerplay. Not great numbers, but this will be a team with another week of practice under their belts and in a tight game a late penalty can prove costly. Clarkson has taken 20.5 PIM's per game so far, and has killed off 30 of 34 powerplays. They are scoring on the power play at a 25 percent clip. If LSSU gets into penalty trouble, and let's be honest, with an ECAC crew, it's hard not to, Clarkson should make the Lakers pay.
The goaltending matchup is very intriguing. Laker senior Jeff Jakaitis put up 43 saves against Ohio State and still lost. Freshman Pat Inglis got the start Saturday, allowed 6 goals, and won. Jakaitis is the starter but Roque may go with Inglis Saturday. Jakaitis can steal a game, and with 43 saves last week, is a very sound goaltender, but if Clarkson outshoots LSSU by the 79-56 margin as OSU did, both goal tenders could be in for a long night. On Clarkson's end David Leggio has posted solid numbers. A 3-0-1 record with a .929 save percentage and a 2.20 GAA. Leggio has not stolen a game for the Knights yet, but has been good enough to win. Coach Roll will probably go with Leggio both nights.
At 5 goals per game Clarkson has the 5th ranked offense in the country, but what might be surprising is the fact that everyone is getting into the act. 12 different Knights have goals, 5 have more than one and Shawn Weller, and Shea Guthrie have a combined one goal. Clarkson has outscored it's opponents 20-9 and in the three wins the game winning goals have come from Steve Zalewski, Chris D'Alvise and Dan Tuttle. This is a potent offense that when it hits it's stride can put goals on the board in a hurry. Clarkson will look to get on the board early this weekend, get the crowd rocking and take both games from the Lakers.
Before I make my predictions let's see how I fared last week:
Clarkson 5 - Providence 4 -RIGHT CU 5-1
Clarkson 6 - UMass 2 - WRONG Tie 3-3
Q 8 - RMU 3 - RIGHT Q 3 - RMU 1
BU 3 - RPI 2 - WRONG Tie 4-4
Union 5 - RIT 3 - WRONG Tie 2-2
Providence 4 - SLU 1 - RIGHT PU 4 - SLU 2
Q 6 - RMU 2 - RIGHT Q 5 - RMU 1
Colgate 4 - Bentley 0 - RIGHT Colgate 5 - Bentley 1
5-3, Not horrible, not great.
This week we have:
RPI @ Denver - DU says hello to their former assistant, and sweeps him back to Troy. 3-2; 5-1
Union @ Northeastern - Union in a squeaker. 2-1
Canisus @ Colgate - What's up with the midweek games for Gate? They still win 5-2.
RMU @ Cornell - Cornell wins, but it's not a blowout. Cornell 4-3
LSSU @ Clarkson - Too much offense and home cooking carry the Knights to 5-0-1. 5-1; 4-2