Mitens outstanding in net as Lakers win fourth straight on road, sweep UAA

Mareks Mitens (seen here from an exhibition game against the USNTDP’s Under 18 squad) prevented a furious rally by Alaska-Anchorage, enabling the Lakers to hold on for a 2-1 win and series sweep (Mike Barrett/LHB)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Anthony Nellis claimed his second consecutive game winning goal and Mareks Mitens slammed the door shut as the Lake Superior State Lakers  (10-20-4, 8-15-3 WCHA) earned their fourth straight win in a 2-1 win over Alaska-Anchorage (2-24-4, 2-19-3-3 WCHA).

Entering the final month of the season needing to essentially win out in order to qualify for the WCHA Tournament, the Lakers have risen to the task.  

Perhaps even more impressive is that they have had to do this completely on the road.

Neither team found the back of the net in the first period.  Both teams made a change in net from the previous night, as Mitens got the start in place of Nick Kossoff, while Olivier Mantha was replaced in the Alaska-Anchorage net by Brody Claeys.

The Seawolves opened the scoring when Trey deGraaf capitalized on a power play opportunity.  The third goal of the year for deGraaf resulted in the first lead of the weekend for Alaska-Anchorage.

Just moments after Jake Hand was denied by Claeys on a great 5 on 3 chance, Max Humitz tied the game with just 1.7 seconds remaining in the period.  A lengthy review of a potential offsides call did not overturn the goal, resulting in a 1-1 tie after 40 minutes.

Shortly before the midway point of the third period, Anthony Nellis cashed in for his second goal of the weekend.  A turnover led to an odd man rush, which Nellis capitalized on, earning his 12th goal of the year and his third in four games.

With just over five minutes left in regulation, Bryan Basilico appeared to put Lake Superior up 3-1.  What would have been his second goal of the season, however, was waived off after a review due to goaltender interference.

Down late, the Seawolves cranked up the pressure on Mitens, peppering the Latvian netminder with everything they could.  The freshman remained steady in net, despite point blank shots and odd deflections, as the Lakers held on for a 2-1 win.

Both teams had 23 shots on net.  In picking up his third win of the season, Mitens stopped 22 of 23 (including 10 in the third period), while Claeys made 21 saves.  

In addition to being equal on the shot counter, both teams were also equal on the power play, as the Seawolves and the Lakers each went 1 for 4 with the odd man.

The Lakers are idle next weekend and will be keeping a close eye on Ferris State.  The Bulldogs have a one point lead on Lake Superior and will play Minnesota State this weekend.  The two teams will face each other in the following week in Big Rapids before the start of the WCHA Tournament.