By John Lachmann
WHO: No. 3 Miami RedHawks (19-8-5) at Lake Superior State Lakers (15-16-1).
WHERE: Taffy Abel Arena, Sault Saint Marie, Mich.
WHEN: Friday—7:35 p.m.; Saturday—7:05 p.m.
MIAMI RADIO: Both nights—WKBV-AM (1490), Richmond, Ind.
LAKE SUPERIOR STATE RADIO: WYSS-FM (99.5), Sault Saint Marie, Mich.
NOTES: Miami has already clinched home ice in the second round of the CCHA Tournament, which means this will be the RedHawks' last-ever road series in the only conference the team has ever known.
LSSU is the only team to hang a loss on Miami in Cady Arena this season, one of the RedHawks' 1-0 defeats on Dec. 8.
The Lakers bounced back from a 1-6 skid by sweeping Alaska, 5-1 and 4-2 last weekend.
Lake Superior State senior forward Domenic Monardo is tied for third in the CCHA in goals with 16, and he is tied for sixth in points with 27. He also scored the game-winning goal in the Lakers' 1-0 win in Oxford earlier this season.
Senior forward Nick McParland leads LSSU in assists with 14, and he also has six goals for 20 points. Sophomore Chris Ciotti has scored 10 times and recorded seven assists, and sophomore Buddy Robinson has netted eight goals – including the team's only shorty – and he has seven assists for 15 points.
Other double-digit points-producing Lakers forwards are junior Dan Radke, who has scored three goals and added 12 assists, junior forward Kellan Lain with seven goals, seven assists and 82 penalty minutes, as well as sophomore Stephen Perfetto and Ben Power.
Perfetto has five goals and seven helpers, and Power has scored four times and earned six assists.
Junior Zach Sternberg leads all Lakers defensemen in scoring with 14 points (4-10-14), and junior Andrew Perrault (1-11-12) and freshman Eric Drapluk (2-9-11) have also rolled up double-digit points totals on the blue line.
Sophomore Kevin Czuczman (2-7-9) and junior Matt Bruneteau (2-3-5) are also patrol the LSSU blue line. Bruneteau notched a goal and an assist in Lake State's 5-2 win over Alaska on Saturday.
The Lakers' goaltending situation has been nearly a split, and it is unclear which Kevin will get the nod this weekend.
After giving up six goals on 33 shots at Bowling Green, junior Kevin Murdock bounced back by stopping 22-of-23 shots in the Lakers' win last Friday.
Fellow junior Kevin Kapalka followed with a 33-for-35 performance in a 5-2 win on Saturday.
Miami's goalie situation is equally uncertain. Freshman Jay Williams stopped 21-of-23 shots in a 2-0 loss at then-No. 6 Western Michigan, and fellow frosh Ryan McKay has played all three games since.
Williams has allowed nine goals in his last eight games, and McKay has surrendered 13 goals in the 11 games he has played in since returning from injury. The decision for coach Enrico Blasi has to be incredibly difficult on a nightly basis.
Senior Marc Hagel, known more for his defense, now has eight points in his last six games, including a pair of goals. Freshman forward Riley Barber has also notched five points in the last five games, and Barber and Morris have both scored three goals in that span.