Watch for the wrap-up story and slideshow, coming shortly!
CACOPHANY IN ALBANY – The 1992 LSSU Laker hockey team raises the Knickerbocker Arena roof in Albany, New York, after landing the NCAA Division I championship title. Twenty years later, the '92 squad reunites on July 13 for a Blueliner charity golf tournament, alumni squad hockey game, and team induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame. (LSSU/John Shibley)
A print-resolution photo that runs with the caption above can be found by clicking here.
By Linda Bouvet
Sports Information Director
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The 1992 Lake Superior State hockey team, one of
the most-storied teams in Laker hockey history, will be inducted into
the Lake Superior State Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, July 13.
Several members of the 1992 team, coaching staff and support staff
will return to Sault Ste. Marie to celebrate the 20th anniversary of
the Lakers’ second of three NCAA hockey championships. The festivities
will start with an alumni hockey game at 6 p.m. Friday, July 13, at
Taffy Abel Arena, followed by the hall of fame induction at 8 p.m. in
the Norris Center Gymnasium.
The public is invited to both events. Admission to the hall of fame
induction is $5 per person and includes pizza, appetizers and a cash
bar. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling
906-635-6219 or clicking here to send an e-mail.
The annual Soo BlueLiners Golf Outing, a four-person scramble at Wild
Bluff Golf Course in Brimley, begins with a lunch at noon, followed by
a 2 p.m. shotgun start. For more information, call BlueLiners
president Howard Ledergerber, 906-248-5732.
Lake Superior State’s 1992 national championship, which occurred
midway through the program’s amazing 10-year national dominance in
college hockey, was among the most unlikely of LSSU’s success stories.
Led by hall of famers Jim Dowd and Doug Weight, LSSU was projected to
win the title in 1991, but Clarkson ended the Lakers’ season during
the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament. Players who accounted
for over 100 goals and won Central Collegiate Hockey Association
regular-season and playoff titles in 1990-91 had left the program.
Second-year head coach Jeff Jackson expected the 1991-92 season, with
10 freshmen and 16 underclassmen, to be a rebuilding year.
“It was extra special for us to win the championship after the
previous year’s disappointing finish,” said current Notre Dame head
coach Jeff Jackson, who will attend the reunion. “What made it special
for me personally were the great people we had in the program both on
and off the ice. I still have great relationships with so many of
them. Winning creates a bond that lives on forever. The Laker culture
was always about that bond.”
“I have been looking forward to this for a long time,” said goaltender Darrin Madeley, who, along with defenseman Mark Astley and forward Paul Constantin, was named to the 1992 NCAA All-Tournament Team. “You don’t really understand what you have while you are going through it, and then within a few years you realize how much those people meant to you. That team was a family. From the coaching staff, Mono, Cotner, Boyer, Gil and all the players. I really miss that bond, so being able to see all these people again will be a great experience.”
Lake Superior State won 10 of its first 12 games in 1991-92 and stunned Michigan in early December by winning 3-2 in overtime and 10-0. The year was not without setbacks, however, as LSSU endured a 3-5-2 stretch in February and lost the CCHA regular-season title to the Wolverines.
Led by Madeley, who was a senior goaltender, along with CCHA All-Tournament Team selections Brian Rolston and Tim Hanley, Lake Superior State cruised through the first two rounds of the CCHA Playoffs, then beat Michigan 2-1 to claim the second of what would be four playoff titles during a five-year period. Seven different Laker players scored goals during the semifinal and championship games at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
After beating a tough Alaska-Anchorage opponent during the first round of the NCAA West Regional in Detroit, LSSU expected a tough test from Minnesota during the final round, but the Lakers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and won, 8-3. Rolston, a freshman, dominated the regional with three goals and four assists.
The Lakers’ next opponent was Michigan State – the team they eliminated during the CCHA semifinals – during the NCAA semifinals in Albany, N.Y.
Sports information director Scott Monaghan wrote, “The teams were deadlocked at two from the 17:22 mark of the second period until senior defenseman Mark Astley slipped a shot past MSU goaltender Mike Gilmore midway through the third. Just under two minutes later, (Sandy) Moger combined with freshman defenseman Tim Hanley and (Wayne) Strachan. Lake State’s tenacious defense held the Spartans to only six shots on goal in the final period as the Lakers advanced to their second NCAA Championship Game in five years.”
LSSU battled back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to beat Wisconsin in the title game. Constantin put Lake Superior State on the board in the second period with a power-play goal, and Hanley tied it with six seconds remaining as the Badgers, who had upset No. 1 Michigan during the semifinals, took eight of 12 penalties called during the period. After LSSU’s Michael Smith and Wisconsin’s Jason Zent (who had a hat trick) traded goals, Rolston tallied the game-winner at 15:08. Jay Ness finished off the scoring with an empty-net goal, and Madeley totaled 24 saves.
“It was so tough to win, and to win on a team that no one thought had a chance to even make it after all the great players and people we had lost, shows that talent, hard work and everyone parking their egos will always lead to great things,” Madeley said. “We worked extremely hard as a team, and really played above our heads at times. But the key to that championship was coaching. Coach Jackson out-coached every team we played in the playoffs. He knew what they were going to do, and the other teams didn’t have an answer. He had the ability to get his point across without yelling, and knew when to kick and when to let the players grow. Looking back, it was truly amazing to remember what he was able to do.”
Astley and forward Moger were co-captains of that squad, while defenseman Mike Bachusz was an assistant captain.
“I look forward to spending the weekend with the ’92 team and seeing everyone again,” Bachusz said. “It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate what we accomplished back in ’92. I now realize how
difficult it was to win a NCAA Championship. Not only does it take talent, but it takes a team that believes and plays for each other, along with great coaching, to tie everything together.”
“The ’92 reunion will be a family reunion,” said forward Jason Trzcinski, who went on to become an assistant captain in 1995-96. “I have not seen some of these guys in 20 years. And since I’m not much of a Facebook guy, I look forward to catching up, meeting families and all in all having a great time. Being a part of the championship team as a redshirt freshman was a very big part of my life. I was blessed to be a part of the journey. Although never playing in a game that year, the guys always made me feel a part of the team. The ’92 team defines what Laker hockey is and will always be about.”
Constantin led the Lakers in points that season with 21-31—52, while Moger was their top goal scorer with 26-25—51. Astley, who finished third in points with 12-37—49, was named the CCHA’s Best Offensive Defenseman and still holds the school record for most assists by a defenseman. The Lakers, who were 30-9-4 overall and 20-8-4 in the CCHA, led the league in penalty killing.
Moger, Astley, Vince Faucher, Constantin and Madeley were the seniors on the 1991-92 team. Faucher, Constantin and Madeley overcame a variety of challenges to get to the magical end. Moger, Madeley,
Rolston, Astley, Blaine Lacher, Clayton Beddoes and Rob Valicevic went on to play in the NHL.
Click here to view the complete list of former players and staff who will attend the hall of fame induction.
CONTACTS: John Shibley, e-mail, 906-635-2314; Tom Pink, e-mail, 635-2315; Susan Fitzpatrick, Alumni Relations, e-mail, 635-2831; Linda Bouvet, Sports Information, e-mail, 635-2601.