The Lake Superior State hockey team played their annual Great Lake State Weekend series on Friday, October 13th and Saturday, October 14th. This year’s opponent was Michigan Tech, the same team who eliminated Lake Superior from the WCHA Tournament at the end of last season.
While the Lakers have had a historically rough track record against the Huskies, promise was shown in two very tight, very close games. The Huskies held off a late rally on Friday night to win 4-3, before skating to a 2-2 tie on Saturday. Michigan Tech claimed two points on Saturday on virtue of a shootout victory.
Friday – Huskies 4, Lakers 3
The Lakers started off Friday night on the wrong foot, when Tech’s Gavin Gould scored 1:05 into the game. The Huskies got a late goal from Jake Jackson to go back to the locker room up 2-0.
In the second period, the Lakers got one back thanks to Max Humitz. Humitz beat Huskies goaltender Patrick Munson while on the power play to make it 2-1 in favor of Michigan Tech.
Early in the third period, the Lakers’ Anthony Nellis tied the game with his second goal of the season.
With the game tied, the Lakers came out in full force, pressuring the Huskies while looking for the go ahead goal. The Huskies, however, kept the Lakers off of the board, and Tech’s Gould squeaked a puck past Kossoff for his second of the night. Less than a minute later, Greyson Reitmeier put a puck behind Kossoff to make the score 4-2 in favor of the visitors.
A power play goal from Brayden Gelsinger with 2:22 left in regulation put the Lakers within reach. Despite pulling goaltender Nick Kossoff, however, the Lakers were unable to solve Munson again.
In net, Kossoff made 26 saves on 30 shots, while Munson made 21 saves on 24 shots.
Saturday – Lakers 2, Huskies 2 (Huskies win shootout)
A change in net occurred for the Lakers, as freshman Mareks Mitens received the start in lieu of Nick Kossoff. A native of Ventspils, Latvia, Mitens played for Aston in the NAHL last season, where he was named goaltender of the year and league MVP.
Lake Superior drew first blood on Saturday, when senior J.T. Henke put the puck behind goaltender Munson in a scramble in front of the net. With the goal, plus an assist later in the game, Henke leads the Lakers with 6 points on the year.
The Huskies struck back on the power play, as Joel L’Esperance scored on Mitens while LSSU’s Gage Torrel was off for cross checking. Tech added another goal about a minute and a half later when Alex Gillies made it 2-1 Tech.
After outshooting the Lakers 17-5 in the first period, the Huskies continued their barrage on Mitens in the second period, outshooting Lake State 9-5. Mitens stood up to the challenge, however, keeping Tech off of the board in the period.
Early in the third period, Anthony Nellis briefly appeared to tie the game for Lake Superior while on the power play. A video review showed the puck hit the corner of the crossbar.
Nonetheless, the Lakers ramped up their offensive pressure on the Huskies in the third period, outshooting them 13-10 in the period.
Only a few minutes after appearing to tie things up, Nellis scored his third goal of the year, tying the game for real this time.
While both teams had their chances to end the game in regulation, Mitens and Munson did not allow a goal the rest of the way, sending the teams to overtime.
After nobody scored in the 5 on 5 overtime, a 3 on 3 overtime was played. Again, the goaltenders kept their opponents off the scoreboard, necessitating a shootout. Mitens had a bit of extra work to get his team to the shootout, as Tech’s Mark Auk was awarded a penalty shot with under a minute remaining in the 3 on 3.
In the shootout, Mitens and Munson matched zeros trough three rounds. In the fourth round, Tech’s Jake Lucchini got the puck over the right pad of Mitens. Munson then stopped Max Humitz to end the shootout.
With the shootout win, the Huskies took 5 of a possible 6 points against the Lakers in WCHA play. The teams meet again in Houghton on December 15th and 16th.
Mitens finished with 40 saves on 42 shots. Munson made 22 saves on 24 shots.
Next week, the Lakers are off to Denver to face the defending national champions. The Pioneers (1-0-1, 0-0-0 NCHC) are coming off a win and tie against Notre Dame. Puck drop on Friday is 9:35 p.m. eastern, while Saturday’s contest starts at 9:05 p.m.