Three goal third period leads Lakers past Chargers

Alex Ambrosio (seen here taking a penalty shot last season) scored the game winner on an empty net in the Lakers’ 4-3 win over Alabama Huntsville (Mike Barrett/LHB)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — An oddity that the Lake Superior State Lakers fell victim to in their 2017-18 season finale against Ferris State occurred again in their Friday night matchup against The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

This time, the oddity worked out in favour of the Lakers.

Alex Ambrosio’s first career goal was the difference maker as Lake Superior (3-0-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) survived a late rally by Alabama Huntsville (0-7-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) in a 4-3 conference win.

What makes the game winner by Ambrosio an oddity is that the goal was an empty netter.

The Lakers came out of the gate strong, peppering Chargers goaltender Mark Sinclair with 19 first period shots.  Sinclair was sharp, turning aside all but one of those shots.  Lake Superior converted when Anthony Nellis intercepted a pass on a penalty kill and found Brayden Gelsinger going the other way.  Coincidentally, Gelsinger’s second goal of the season was also the second shorthanded goal for Lake Superior this year.

Alabama Huntsville’s offense did a much better job of generating shots in the second period, equaling the Lakers’ 9 shots in the middle frame.  The Chargers tied things up on an early power play goal when Tyr Thompson took advantage of Lake Superior’s Ashton Calder sitting in the box for tripping.  The goal sent the teams to the dressing room after 40 minutes tied one apiece.

The third period saw the Chargers, who were looking to get in the win column for the first time this season, outshot the Lakers 15-7.  It was the Lakers, however, that found the back of the net first when the Lakers’ alternate captains each found the back of the net.  Defenceman Collin Saccoman scored his first of the season early in the period, while Nellis picked up his second goal of the year with less than 8:00 remaining in the game.

Their backs against the wall, Alabama Huntsville cut the Lake Superior lead to one with 4:35 left in the game.  Brandon Salerno got the puck past Kossoff for his first of the season, making the score 3-2 Lakers.

Needing another goal to force overtime, the Chargers pulled Sinclair for a sixth skater.  Less than 10 seconds after Sinclair made it to the bench, Lake Superior came up with the puck and Ambrosio, earning his first goal as a Laker, appeared to ice the game with only 1:21 left.

Alabama Huntsville showed their resolve, pulling Sinclair again to try and force overtime.  With 22 seconds remaining, Connor James put the Chargers within one and kept his team very much alive.

Although they were a goal away from overtime, the Chargers could not gain the zone long enough to pull their goaltender again for another extra attacker.  A couple shots by Kurt Gosselin did no harm as the Lakers pulled out a tense 4-3 victory.

In goal, Kossoff stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced, while Sinclair made 31 stops on 34 shots.