MARQUETTE – A third period goal by Philip Beaulieu stood as the difference, as the Lakers suffered a 3-2 loss and a sweep at the hands of their Upper Peninsula rivals, the Northern Michigan Wildcats.
With the loss, the Lakers could not win back the Father Cappo Cup, as Northern Michigan took the season series with a 3-1 record.
Lake Superior (6-18-4, 4-13-3 WCHA) started out on the right foot, as Max Humitz opened the scoring under two minutes into the game. Humitz nearly sent the Friday game to overtime, but a big save by Atte Tolvanen ensured that game ended in regulation.
The Wildcats (14-10-3, 12-5-2-2 WCHA) tied it up later that period on the power play when Beaulieu put the puck behind Lakers goaltender Nick Kossoff. Beaulieu’s goal came while LSSU’s Steven Ruggiero was in the box for high sticking.
A golden opportunity presented itself when the Lakers were awarded a 5 minute power play late in the first period. James Vermeulen received a game misconduct for checking from behind. Coupled with a minor penalty to Adam Roeder moments earlier, Lake Superior had a 5 on 3 for 1:27. The Lakers, however, could not convert, as the ‘Cats penalty kill unit gave them fits.
Just 26 seconds into the second period, Troy Loggins scored unassisted to put the WIldcats up 2-1. The lead did not last long, as Brayden Gelsinger tipped a shot from Tyler Anderson behind Tolvanen, which the game at two goals apiece after a lengthy review.
After tying the game, the Lakers continued putting pressure on Tolvanen; the Wildcats netminder was unfazed, even as Lake Superior worked more at crashing the net.
At 8:19 of the third period, Northern Michigan hit the one that mattered, as Beaulieu notched his second goal of the night. While the Lakers tried to rally, Tolvanen made the saved he needed to, preserving the 3-2 final score.
By retaining the Cappo Cup, Northern Michigan has won 4 of the last 5. The Lakers have only one the cup once (2015-16) since both teams joined the WCHA.
Lake State returns home next weekend for the final home set of the 2017-18 season. Before the game on Saturday, the four seniors (Aiden Wright, Kyle Chatham, J.T. Henke and Ryan Renz) will be honoured on the ice. Fans looking to attend senior night are reminded to show up early (around 6:45 p.m.)