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A look at this week
January 13, 2009 - Brandon Veale
HOUGHTON — The top two teams in the Lake Superior Hockey Conference will have an early showdown Tuesday at Mountain View Ice Arena. Kingsford (7-2-1) hosts Hancock (10-2) at 7 p.m. EST. The teams are a show in contrasting styles, with the Bulldogs averaging 6.33 goals per game and the Flivvers allowing only 1.8 goals per game.
The Bulldogs have played five games away from Houghton County Arena, but haven't exactly burned much gasoline. All five were at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena. In fact, this is the first game they've played outside of Houghton County.
Kingsford's three LSHC victims have been teams at the bottom of the league, L'Anse, Jeffers and Negaunee, but the Flivvers have also beaten Escanaba, Manitowoc and DePere.
Goaltender Collin Kuoppala, the coach's son, blanked L'Anse on 17 shots in the season-opener for his only shutout, but has two one-goal games so far in eight appearances.
Elsewhere in prep hockey, Negaunee and Houghton will meet at Dee Stadium tonight. In their first meeting, before Thanksgiving, Houghton overcame a 4-0 deficit just 6:59 into the game to steal a tie.
L'Anse and Jeffers will meet Thursday at MacInnes Student Ice Arena as both teams search for an end to long league losing streaks. Jeffers plays at Eagle River Northland Pines.
Friday, University of Detroit Jesuit High opens a two-game series at Calumet Colosseum against the Copper Kings. Kingsford visits Jeffers Saturday afternoon at the SDC.
• Hancock's girls basketball team will defend its unbeaten record at home against L'Anse tonight.
The Purple Hornets (5-2, 0-2) are still seeking their first WestPAC win after home losses to Houghton and Calumet.
L'Anse coach Shawn Hendrickson said he's happy with his team's effort and work ethic. “We're undersized, but they give me 32 minutes,” he said.
He said dictating the tempo and handling Hancock's 2-3 matchup zone and center Maria Almquist will be key for a road win.
“When you play against someone who's much bigger than you, you always have to account for them,” he said.
Those attempting to predict the score should probably start in the 40s. The Bulldogs have scored between 40-50 points in every game, including three 49-point efforts.
In Tuesday's other games, Dollar Bay travels to Chassell, Lake Linden-Hubbell hosts Baraga and Jeffers tries for an upset bid at Houghton.
Ontonagon hosts Calumet in a make-up game from Dec. 1. Surprisingly, snow was not involved, rather, Calumet asked for more time to get practicing after their long volleyball tournament run.
Houghton's trip to Westwood leads off Friday's slate. Hancock visits Jeffers, Ontonagon is at Ewen-Trout Creek and the Lakes host another Baraga County opponent, L'Anse.
• Boys' basketball returns on Thursday, as Jeffers tries to break a three-game losing streak at Lake Linden-Hubbell. Hancock goes for a third straight win at home against Dollar Bay. L'Anse and Calumet face WestPAC road tests at Ironwood and West Iron County, respectively.
Watersmeet tests their mettle at U.P. No. 2 Ewen-Trout Creek and Ontonagon travels to Bessemer. There's bonus boys' basketball Friday, as Houghton hosts Escanaba in a snow make-up from earlier in the season. Baraga will make up a game at Watersmeet and Wakefield-Marinesco travels to Dollar Bay.
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