Lakers drop pair of games to Michigan State in East Lansing

After a weekend in which Lake Superior looked as though they may shock the college hockey world in Denver, the Lakers fell flat against their former Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Michigan State down in East Lansing.  The Lakers (1-5-2, 0-1-1 WCHA) put together a third period rally that fell just short on Friday night, before the Spartans (4-2-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) shut out the Lakers 6-0 on Saturday.

Spartans 4, Lakers 3

A third period rally fell just short, as the Lakers scored 3 goals in the third period to cut the Spartan lead to one.  Lake Superior could not find that crucial fourth goal, however, in a 4-3 Friday loss to Michigan State.

Lake State started off on the wrong foot in the first period, when Sam Saliba put the puck behind Laker goaltender Nick Kossoff.  Saliba had one of 15 shots for the Spartans in the first period, making the game begin to feel like the series against Denver, where Kossoff and Mareks Mitens were peppered with shots on both nights.  The Lakers only mustered 4 shots of their own against Spartan netminder John Lethemon.

The second period was more of the same, as Michigan State continued to badly outshoot Lake Superior.  Patrick Khodorenko gave his team a 2-0 lead just before the midway point of the game.  The Spartans made it 3-0 when Jake Smith scored unassisted with 3:08 remaining in the period.

Early in the third period, Michigan State made the Lakers’ hole even deeper when Logan Lambdin beat Kossoff to give his team a 4-0 lead.  Shortly afterwards, however, Lambdin was whistled for tripping and on the ensuing delayed penalty, Brayden Gelsinger got his team on the board with this third goal of the year.

With Lambdin serving his tripping penalty, Lake Superior’s power play went to work.  With 0:06 remaining on the power play, Bryan Basilico earned his first of the season at the 3:49 mark of the third period, with assists from Gelsinger and J.T. Henke.

After killing off a cross-checking penalty by Gelsinger, Matt McArdle was sent to the sin bin for the same infraction.  Luckily, Michigan State’s Cody Milan took a tripping penalty to shorten the man advantage for the Spartans.  With Milan still in the box, Max Humitz scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season. 

With the Lakers on the verge of tying the game, Michigan State played tight defensively, holding the puck along the boards to prevent any more Laker chances.  The Spartans were successful in that endeavor, as they survived the Lake Superior rally to win the game 4-3.

For the Lakers, Gelsinger factored into each goal scored by his team, while Humitz had a goal and an assist and Henke had two assists.  For the Spartans, Logan Lambdin had a goal (the game winner) and an assist on the opening goal by Saliba.

In special teams, the Lakers converted on 2 of their 4 power play opportunities.  Michigan State, meanwhile, went 0 for 3 on theirs.

In net, Kossoff made 37 saves on 41 shots, while Lethemon stopped 19 of 22.

Spartans 6, Lakers 0

After nearly coming from behind to win the previous night, the Lakers essentially fell flat on Saturday, as the Spartans scored four goals in the second period to thump Lake Superior 6-0.

Mareks Mitens got the call to start from Lakers head coach Damon Whitten, while Spartans’ head coach Danton Cole sent John Lethemon back out.

While shots in the first period were much closer than the 15-4 margin the night before, Michigan State still outshot the Lakers 8-7, including the shot that mattered, as Mitch Lewandowski scored a power play goal with 1:27 to go in the opening frame.

The second period was a period to forget for Lake Superior, as they managed one shot on Lethemon the entire period.  Michigan State, meanwhile, had 16 shots, including four that found the back of the net.

Brennan Sanford made the score 2-0 Spartans on a delayed penalty to Brendan McKay for hooking.  After killing 1:13 of the Michigan State power play, Carson Gatt of the Spartans went off for interference.  On the ensuing 4 on 4, Mitch Eliot scored his first goal of the season.

Michigan State added two more goals before the period was over, as Jake Smith scored his second goal of the season (and of the series) and Lewandowski earned another power play tally – this time with only 0:22 seconds left in the period.

To start the third period, Mitens was relieved in net by Nick Kossoff.  Mitens made 19 stops on 24 shots.

The Spartans added one more goal when David Keefer – on the power play – scored his first goal of the season, making the score 6-0.  That score stood the rest of the way, going down as the biggest defeat of the season for Lake Superior.

The Spartans converted on 3 of their 8 power play opportunities.  Lake Superior was denied on all 4 of theirs.

Kossoff stopped 9 of 10 shots.  Lethemon earned his first shutout of the year by stopping all 16 shots by Lake Superior.

Two notable absences from the lineup were defensemen Collin Saccoman and Lukas Kaelble.  Both are believed to have sustained undisclosed injuries during the series against Denver.

Lake Superior returns to the confines of the Taffy Abel Arena this weekend, when they take on the University of Alaska-Anchorage.  The Seawolves (0-5-1, 0-0-0 WCHA) were idle this past weekend.  Although they have not started league play yet, they did play a non-conference set against league foe (and interstate rival) Alaska-Fairbanks.  The Nanooks swept the Seawolves 6-2 and 3-2.  Puck drop is at 7:07 p.m. on Friday, November 4th.