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Icers prepare for LSSU rematch, goalie could break record

January 23, 2001

If the possibility of knocking off the No. 1 team in the nation isn’t enough motivation for Lake Superior State tonight at Munn Ice Arena, they will also have revenge on their minds.

Nine days ago, top-ranked MSU (20-1-4 overall, 13-1-3 CCHA) looted the Lakers on their home ice and stole four CCHA points from Sault Ste. Marie with two improbable wins.

Lake Superior (10-16-0, 6-13-0) will visit East Lansing for the second time this season tonight at 7:05 p.m.

“After the way we beat them in Lake State, they’re going to be upset and ready to come after us hard,” Nail said. “With it being on Tuesday, we don’t have much time to prepare, so I think it’s going to be a tough game.”

The Lakers will have to find a hole in MSU’s superstar sophomore goaltender Ryan Miller, who has already shut them out twice this season. He won 5-0 on Nov. 17 at Munn and 2-0 on Jan. 12 in Sault Ste. Marie, and notched a 2-1 decision on Jan. 14.

With a shutout tonight, Miller would tie Wally Easton’s 70-year-old NCAA record for career shutouts with 16.

“I’m not looking for shutouts,” Miller said. “I’m not going out of my way to do anything special.”

By blanking out Miami twice last weekend, Miller bettered his nation-leading goals against average to 1.18, which is half a goal better than second place. He also leads the nation in saves percentage (.955).

The Spartans will have to battle fresh legs tonight after a scheduling quirk gave Lake Superior a weekend off after the MSU series.

On the other hand, the Spartans completed their sweep of Miami just three days ago. But MSU sophomore defenseman Brad Fast said its an issue the Spartans will be able to overcome.

“It’s probably the quickest turnaround we’ve had all year,” Fast said. “It’ll be a very good challenge for us and I think the guys will be ready.”

Already plagued with injuries, Lake Superior got another dose of bad news this week when it learned assistant captain Jason Nightingale, the team’s second-leading scorer with 15 points, will miss the rest of the season because of a heart condition.

The Lakers are already playing without their captain, Ryan Knox, and star forwards Jeremy Bachusz and Trevor Weisgerber.

But All-American goaltender Jayme Platt is still healthy and worrying MSU head coach Ron Mason. Platt kept the Spartans at bay for most of the series earlier this month before surrendering three late-game goals.

“He’s as good as it gets when he’s playing well,” Mason said. “That’s what made him an All-American last year. We’ve played (Lake Superior) before, so it’s nothing new for us. We know how they play, they know how we play, it’s just going to be a matter of who does it best.”

Adding to the importance of tonight’s game, it could be a preview of the Spartans’ postseason. If the CCHA playoffs started today, MSU would play Lake Superior in the No. 1-seed versus No. 10-seed first-round match-up.

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