|Lake Superior emerges as surprise team (11-29-13)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor|
|Friday, 29 November 2013 10:08|
Lake Superior's already emerging as the surprise team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Lakers - eighth in the WCHA coaches poll - are ranked 16th nationally, and 7-4-1 overall and 3-3 in the league.
They host Bowling Green (6-5-3, 4-3-1) this weekend.
"It's a testament to their brand and their coaching staff, and some of their returning seniors," BG coach Chris Bergeron said. "It's a by-committee-type success. They don't rely on this guy or that guy."
The Lakers are fifth in the WCHA in scoring (2.92 goals per game) and eighth in goals allowed (2.75).
"Now, they feel good about themselves and they should," Bergeron said. "They've been in the Top 20. They're winning games at home. They're winning games on the road. It's a very difficult group to play against."
WCHA: The second- through ninth-place teams in the WCHA are separated by just seven points.
Ferris State leads the 10-team league at 7-0-1. while Alabama-Huntsville is last at 0-8.
"You may not have the Notre Dame or Michigan on paper that might be a little different, or Miami on paper, but every game is a battle," Bergeron said. "Every game is close. The shots are close. They're hard-fought games. Very similar teams on paper. From top to bottom, we're an evenly-matched league."
MINGO: After totaling eight goals and 14 assists last season, BG forward Dajon Mingo has no goals and four assists this season.
The redshirt-sophomore played well in Saturday's game against Minnesota State.
"I felt really good with the puck, going around guys, taking off on my speed," Mingo said.
"The first goal will come soon. I've played a lot better than what the stats show. The coaches tell me just to keep going, keep digging because (the goal) is going to come. I can't worry about the goals because I know they'll come."
PP/PK: One key matchup is the BG power play against the Laker penalty-killing.
The BG power play scored in each game against MSU to snap a 0-for-23 stretch, but wasn't sharp with a two-man advantage for 44 seconds Saturday when it held a 2-1 lead early in the third period.
The Laker penalty-killing leads the WCHA and is eighth nationally (83.3 percent, 45-of-54).
"They keep things to the outside, so they make you take shots when you don't want to," Bergeron said. "If teams don't want to pay by the price (inside) by taking goalie's eyes away and second and third effort in front of the net, their goalies are going to stop the puck."
The Laker power play is sixth in the league (16.7 percent, 9-of-54), while BG's penalty-killing is seventh (83.1 percent, 64-of-77).
PERSONNEL: Freshman forward Alex Globke leads the Lakers with seven goals and 15 points, while senior linemates Colin Campbell and Dan Radke have combined for five goals and 13 assists.
Junior defenseman Kevin Czuczman has four goals and six assists.
Senior Kevin Kapalka has started the last six games in goal, posting a 2.22 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage in eight games overall. He leads the league and is seventh nationally in save percentage.
SCHEDULE: The Falcons have faced one of the country's toughest schedules so far as their opponents are seventh in winning percentage at .544.
SERIES: BG was 4-1 against the Lakers last season.
The Falcons swept a regular-season series at BG and then won a first-round playoff series at Lake Superior. The Lakers won Game 1 of the series, but BG won the final two games.
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