Bulldogs drop Lakers, playoff hopes dwindle

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Needing at least one win for any hope of qualifying for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) postseason, the Lake Superior State hockey team could not connect, as the Bulldogs of Ferris State took a 4-1 win at Ewigleben Ice Arena.

Ferris State (13-21-1, 10-16-1 WCHA) snapped the Lakers’ four game winning streak — all of which came on the road.  

Lake Superior (10-21-4, 8-16-3 WCHA) hoped to go into Ewigleben and get a quick goal to silence the crowd.  A quick goal was scored, but by the home team, as Captain Corey Mackin put the Bulldogs up 1-0 just 45 seconds into the game.

Despite surrendering the early lead, the Lakers remained determined, giving Ferris State netminder Darren Smith plenty to do, as the shots favoured Lake State 13-10 after twenty minutes.

The Bulldogs got another early goal in the second period, as Mackin again capitalized.  The captain collected a pass from Mitch Maloney behind the net and beat Lakers goaltender Nick Kossoff on the right side.  Ferris State added another goal later in the period from Zach Szajner, sending the Lakers back to the dressing room trailing 3-0 after two periods.

Lake Superior, after peppering Smith with shots all night, finally managed to get one by him, as Hampus Erikkson got a piece of an Anthony Nellis shot, cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to two goals.

Despite pulling Kossoff for an extra skater at various points throughout the period, the Lakers could not solve Smith again.  An empty netter with 5 seconds remaining from Coale Norris sealed the Lakers’ fate.

In goal, Kossoff made 27 saves on 30 shots.  Across the ice, Smith was credited with 37 saves on 38 shots.

Coupled with an Alabama Huntsville win over Bowling Green, the Lakers’ postseason hopes appeared to be all but over.  However, the series between Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage also has bearings on the WCHA playoff picture.  With the Seawolves playing spoiler by earning a 5-3 win, the Lakers are not yet eliminated from the postseason picture.  Their fate will come down to what they can do in their game against the Bulldogs tonight.