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College Hockey:
Power Play Sends Lakers Past Irish

— Lake Superior State used three power-play goals and got a 14-save shutout performance from junior goaltender Jeff Jakaitis on the way to a 4-0 blanking of Notre Dame on Saturday evening at the Joyce Center.

Derek A. Smith, Colin Nicholson and Alex Dunn earned power-play tallies and Mike Adamek wrapped up the scoring with an even-strength goal in the third period to hand the Irish the 4-0 loss, their second in a row and second consecutive loss on home ice. Jakaitis’ shutout marked the second time this year that the Irish were held scoreless as they were outshot on the night, 30-14.

The loss drops Notre Dame to 5-11-1 overall and 3-7-1 in the CCHA while Lake Superior ran its current unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) on the way to a 10-5-4 overall record and a 6-5-2 ledger in conference play. The win also snapped a 10-game winless skid (0-7-3) by the Lakers at the Joyce Center and was their first win there since Nov. 28, 1997.

“I was really disappointed in the way we played tonight,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. “It’s totally unacceptable. We got outworked, outsmarted, out-special teamed and out-goaltended. They just beat us in all areas on the ice tonight.”

The Lakers took advantage of five power-play chances in the first period, scoring on two of them. Derek A. Smith got the scoring started when he ripped a shot from the center slot over Irish goaltender David Brown’s glove at 8:46 of the opening period for his second goal of the year. Barnabas Birkeland and Troy Schwab picked up assists on the goal.

Nicholson built the lead to 2-0 at 10:30 with his fourth of the season when his one-timer from the left-wing circle found its way past Brown of assists from Kory Scoran and Steve McJannett.

At 16:40 of the period, referee Mark Wilkins handed Irish defenseman Tom Sawatske a five-minute major for checking from behind. The Lakers scored on the resulting power play, early in the second stanza.

Just 30 seconds into the period, Nathan Ward won a faceoff back to Alex Dunn at the left point. Dunn’s slapshot found the back of the net for his third of the season and the Lakers had a 3-0 lead.

The Irish struggled to get the offense going in the second period, attempting just six shots in the period with only a Mark Van Guilder shot from the left boards finding its way to Jakaitis in the Lake Superior net.

Lake Superior closed out the scoring at 12:01 of the third period when Adamek notched his second of the season for the final score of 4-0.

In the game, the Lakers were 3-for-8 on the power play while Notre Dame was 0-for-4. Brown finished with 26 saves in goal for the Irish.

For Jackson, the game was his first against his former school, a program that he led to three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament (1992-94) with national championships in 1992 and 1994. He left Lake Superior following the 1995-96 season to start the U.S. National Team Development program.

“I have great respect for Lake Superior and had some of the best years of my career there,” said Jackson.

“But tonight was another game. It wasn’t a big deal, but people made it one. What was evident to me was the way they (the Lakers) still play there — the hard work and discipline that was instilled. We will have that here (at Notre Dame). I don’t know when it will happen, but it will. Until then, I will take responsibility for the way we played. We will learn to do it the right way. To play hard and compete all the time. To play with intensity and have that willingness to win every battle. That’s the way the Lakers played tonight.”

The two teams will close out the 2005 portion of the schedule on Sunday afternoon with a 2:05 p.m. matinee contest at the Joyce Center.

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