Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Past, present and future collide in the Soo
When the CCHA brackets were announced and I read that the Lake Superior State Lakers would host the Bowling Green State Falcons in the first round of the playoffs, I was a little disappointed at first. I thought I would rather see a team that wouldn't be in the same league as Lake State next season. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized the Lakers and Falcons fighting for the right to move on for a chance to play at 'The Joe' is pretty poetic. After all, the Falcons are a founding member of the league and the two schools have had plenty of battles over the years and will have more in the years to come. Both programs represented the CCHA well. Bowling Green has won seven regular season championships, five playoff championships and one national championship. Lake Superior has won four regular season championships, four playoff championships and five national championships under the CCHA banner.
This past weekend, however, went the way of the Falcons. In game one of the series on Friday, the Lakers blanked Bowling Green by the score of 2-0. After a scoreless first period, Laker captain Dominic Monardo ripped a shot that put his team up 1-0. Eric Drapluk and Dan Radke assisted on Monardo's goal. Just two minutes later, Bryce Schmitt scored with help from Zach Sternberg and Nick McParland. The two goals was all the Lakers would need, as Kevin Kapalka earned the shutout with 31 saves. LSSU was 0-for-3 on the power-play, while BGSU was 0-for-2.
The next two games of the series, the Lakers would be embarrassed on their home ice. Bowling Green came back to even the series 1-1, with a big 6-3 win Saturday night. The Lakers would actually draw first blood, with Drapluk scoring a power-play goal in the first period, assisted by Kevin Czuczman. With BG up 3-1 in the second, Drapluk would find the net again, this time assisted by McParland and Colin Campbell. Down, 5-2, Campbell would score the last Laker goal, on the power-play, assisted by Radke and Sternberg. Kevin Murdock took the loss, making 17 saves in two periods of work. Kapalka played out the third, making nine saves in relief. LSSU was 2-6 with the extra man, while BG was 0-4. Game three was even uglier for the royal blue and gold, getting dominated by the score of 7-0. Kapalka took the loss, making 26 saves. Lakers were were 0-4 on the power-play, while the Falcons went 1-6.
The Lakers season comes to an end with a disappointing 17-21-1 record, just 11-16-1-1 in the last season of CCHA play. Lake State will look for retribution next season on November 29-30 as they will host Bowling Green under the WCHA banner. Both teams will be competing for the WCHA's MacNaughton Cup for the regular season championship and the Broadmoor Trophy for the playoff champion. While I'll miss what the CCHA was back in the 80's and 90's, I won't really miss what it became. I'm truly thankful for what I call poor officiating, the three-point wins and gimmicky shoot-outs will be a thing of the past...
Photos courtesy of Michael David