Lakers fall to Chargers 5-3 behind strength of Rajic hat trick

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A three goal first period doomed the Lake Superior State Lakers, as they were forced to settle for a series split against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers after dropping a 5-3 decision at the Von Braun Center on Saturday night.

Both Nick Kossoff and Jordan Uhelski received the nod in net from their respective coaches again.  Kossoff made 26 saves on 27 shots last night, while Uhelski had 19 stops on 21 attempts.

Alabama-Huntsville (4-7-1, 3-2-1 WCHA) opened the scoring with a power play goal by Kurt Gosselin at the 10:32 mark of the opening period.

The Chargers made it 2-0 when Christian Rajic banged the puck in the back of the net behind Kossoff.  The deficit grew to 3 when Brennan Saulnier notched his seventh goal of the year.

With 15 seconds remaining in the period, Brayden Gelsinger buried the puck behind Uhelski on a power play, sending the Lakers back to the dressing room with momentum, despite trailing 3-1.

Josh Nenadal earned his second goal of the season at the 7:19 mark of the second period, cutting the deficit to one goal.

The one goal disadvantage was short lived, however, as Rajic scored back to back goals less than two minutes apart, earning a hat trick.  Rajic’s fifth and sixth goals of the year made the score 5-2 in favor of the Chargers.

Following the fifth goal, Kossoff was pulled in favor of Mareks Mitens.  Kossoff finished the night with 18 saves on 23 shots.

Down but not out, Lake Superior attempted to rally again, as Max Humitz cut the Huntsville lead to two goals.  Humitz’ goal, his seventh of the year, was the fourth goal scored by either team in under four minutes.

Despite the Lakers peppering Uhelski with 23 shots in the third period, Lake Superior could not find the back of the net again, as the Chargers held on, sealing a 5-3 win.

Uhelski earned the win by stopping 41 of 44 shots.  Mitens stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief.

On special teams, each team scored a power play goal, as the Lakers went 1 for 6, while Alabama-Huntsville was 1 for 3. 

In addition to moving into 5th place in the WCHA standings, the Chargers snapped a 5 game losing streak against Lake Superior.  Alabama-Huntsville had not beaten the Lakers since October, 2015.

With the loss, Lake Superior now sits in 6th place in the league standings with 8 points.  Alaska-Anchorage, Ferris State and Bemidji State are in a three-way tie in 7th place.  With the Seawolves in action later tonight, Alaska-Anchorage could potentially pass Lake Superior and move into a tie with the Chargers in 5th place.

Lake Superior (3-8-3, 2-4-2 WCHA) is back in action on Saturday, November 25th.  They will face the US National Development Team Program’s Under 18 team in an exhibition.  Game time is at 5 p.m.