Category: Game Recaps

Beavers pound Lakers on road

Alex Ambrosio (seen here against Denver) had one of the two Laker goals in Bemidji this weekend, as Lake Superior fell by scores of 7-1 and 5-1 (Mike Barrett/LHB)

A rough weekend in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play has Lake Superior State searching for their first road win of the 2019-20 season.

Quite a departure from their road mark of last season.

On the road to Bemidji State, the Beavers took no prisoners Friday night with a 7-1 drubbing of the Lakers.  The following night saw much of the same, albeit with a more forgiving 5-1 final score.

Max Humitz’ 6th goal of the season, which came midway thru the 3rd period on Friday, kept Zach Driscoll from shutting the Lakers out completely.  Alex Ambrosio had Lake Superior’s lone tally on Saturday, his 2nd of the year.

Mareks Mitens started Friday night, but was chased after two periods and five goals.  Roman Bengert allowed two in relief during the final period.  Lake Superior was outshot 41-27 in a game that only had two penalties all night — one to Bemidji State’s Tyler Kirkup and one to Lake Superior’s Alec Semandel.

Saturday night saw Bengert getting the start from head coach Damon Whitten.  A 3 goal 2nd period for the Beavers led to, in an odd reversal of fortune from the previous night, Bengert being pulled for Mitens.  Shots were 26-19 in favour of Bemidji State at the end of the night.

One statistical category that the Lakers had going for them was faceoffs.  Lake Superior was 35-32 in the circle on Friday, and went 39-22 on Saturday.

This coming weekend will see the Lakers hosting Michigan Tech.  Game time on Friday and Saturday is at 7 p.m. EST.

Saccoman’s two goals propel Lakers to sweep of Ferris State

Collin Saccoman celebrates his second goal of the night, as the Lakers sweep their opening league series against Ferris State with a 4-3 Saturday night win (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Collin Saccoman had two goals and the Lake Superior State Lakers held off another late Ferris State rally as the Lakers swept the weekend series with the Bulldogs in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play with a 4-3 Saturday night win at the Taffy Abel Arena.

For the Lakers (4-6-0, 2-0-0 WCHA), it was their first sweep of Ferris State (2-5-0, 0-4-0 WCHA) on home ice since November 12-13, 2010.  The Lakers swept the Bulldogs with 1-0 and 4-0 scores.  Last season, Lake Superior managed its first road sweep of the Bulldogs since 1993.

Like the Friday night matchup, the first period saw no scoring.  Shots were much more even than they were on the previous night, with the Bulldogs holding a slim 13-12 margin after one period.  Laker goaltender Mareks Mitens and Ferris State netminder Carter McPhail (a former Soo Eagle) matched zeroes for over a period.

Lake Superior opened the scoring when Ferris State’s Dominic Lutz was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct for kneeing Jacob Nordqvist.  Nordqvist did not return to the game, but Saccoman earned a goal on the ensuing power play.

Ferris State struck back a mere 15 seconds later when Dallas Tulik, serving the Lutz penalty, exited the box and got in alone on Mareks Mitens.  Lake Superior reclaimed the lead late in the period, when freshman Louis Boudon notched his second goal of the season.

The third period began with another Ferris State player getting the gate, as Coale Norris was called for checking from behind, taking Saccoman down in the process.  As they did earlier, the Lakers made the Bulldogs pay, as Saccoman returned and put Lake Superior up 3-1.

The Lakers got another goal, this time from Pete Veillette, extending the lead to three goals.  Veillette’s first of the season came with under 11:00 to play.

Just as they did on Friday, however, the Bulldogs put together a rally that made things interesting.  Tulik scored his second of the night with 4:12 remaining.  Then, with McPhail pulled and Max Humitz in the box, Ferris State climbed within one goal.

Desperately pushing for overtime, the visitors threw everything they could at Mitens, but the native of Ventspils, Latvia, held strong, ensuring a 4-3 final score.

Mitens made 20 saves on 23 shots, while McPhail stopped 33 of 37 he faced.

Prior to the game, the Lakers honoured Sault Ste. Marie mayor Tony Bosbous on the ice.  Bosbous has served as mayor since 2001 and elected not to seek reelection.  His term will end on Election Day.

Ferris State will host the Lakers down at Ewigleben Ice Arena at the end of the regular season.  With the setup of the WCHA schedule, the Lakers and Bulldogs always play four games a season, including a series to conclude the year.

Lake Superior is home in two weeks time, welcoming the Michigan Tech Huskies to town.  Both Friday and Saturday games will comme-nce at 7 p.m. EST.

Lakers snap skid with wild win over Ferris State

The Lakers celebrate the overtime winner by Max Humitz (right). Lake Superior won 5-4, snapping a six game losing streak (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Coming off of a four game road trip that saw them come up fruitless, Lake Superior State needed a bounce back win to snap a six game losing streak as they entered Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play.

The Ferris State Bulldogs did not allow the drought to end quietly.

The Lakers (3-6-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) held a 2 goal lead late in the 3rd period, but two quick goals by the Bulldogs (2-4-0, 0-3-0 WCHA) forced overtime, where Max Humitz found the back of the net to claim a 5-4 victory at the Taffy Abel Arena.

Lake Superior came out hungry in the opening period, peppering Bulldogs netminder Roni Salmenkangas with many quality shots, including a crossbar.  The native of Tampere, Finland, held off the Lakers’ onslaught.  His goaltending counterpart across the ice, Mareks Mitens, stopped all 6 shots he saw in the opening period, sending the teams back to the dressing room tied 0-0 after one period.

After holding their respective opponents scoreless, it was Salmenkangas who blinked first.  Laker defenceman Mitch Oliver drilled a shot on net that Salmenkanags initially stopped, but gave up a big rebound that found the stick of sophomore forward Pete Veillette, who hit the wide open net, breaking the scoreless deadlock.

Ferris State did not wait long to respond, as Jake Transit scored his 2nd goal of the season, getting the Bulldogs on the board.  A mere 2:02 later, Jason Tackett capitalized on a power play, allowing Ferris State to take their first lead of the night.

Late in the second period, the Lakers found themselves with a two man advantage, as Marshall Moise was off for cross checking, while the Bulldogs were serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice.  Two posts spared Ferris State from suffering any damage on the attempt, however, as the visitors held a slim 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Lake Superior amped up the pressure on Salmenkangas and the Bulldog D corps as the 3rd period wore on, with Ashton Calder breaking thru for the Lakers, tying the score at 2 goals apiece with 13:36 remaining.

The Lakers had a golden opportunity to retake the lead midway thru the 3rd period when Ferris State’s Oskar Andren closed his hand around the puck while standing in the crease and made a hand pass, which led to a Laker penalty shot.  Max Humitz took the shot, but was stopped by Salmenkangas.

Although they failed to convert on the penalty shot, Lake Superior kept pressing, and a shot by Collin Saccoman from the right circle was tipped by Will Reidell, putting the Lakers ahead 3-2.

A throwing the stick penalty was assessed to Ferris State’s Connor Fedorek, which enabled Lake Superior to go up by two goals, as Calder potted his second of the night with 5:01 left to play.

Down but not out, the Bulldogs responded over a minute later when Brendan MacLaren cut the Ferris State deficit to one goal.  Showing a never-say-die attitude, the team from Big Rapids found the tying goal thanks to Tackett cashing in again, which sent the contest to overtime, deadlocked at 4.

Overtime saw Lake Superior dominate, outshooting the Bulldogs 6-1.  With under 30 seconds to play, Humitz found the back of the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Though he was not tested as often as Salmenkangas, Mitens made a number of big saves himself, including a huge one with under 3:00 to play to preserve the then-lead, tallying up 24 by the end of the game.  Salmenkangas made 35 saves on 40 shots in defeat.

The series will conclude on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. faceoff.

Pioneers escape with Saturday night win

A first period shot by Ashton Calder eludes Denver goaltender Magnus Chrona in the first period Saturday. The Lakers rallied from a two goal deficit in the third period, but were beaten by a late Denver goal (Mike Barrett/LHB)

A goal by Denver’s Ryan Barrow with 20 seconds remaining in regulation spoiled a comeback by Lake Superior State, as the No. 2 ranked University of Denver Pioneers claimed a 4-3 win over the Lakers for a weekend sweep during Great Lake State Weekend (GLSW).

More to come.

Lakers play Pioneers hard and close in 3-1 loss

Ashton Calder attempts to bring the puck around Denver’s Ian Mitchell in the third period. Calder had the lone goal for the Lakers, as they fell to the Pioneers 3-1 (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Going up against one of the top teams in the nation, Lake Superior State gave the Denver Pioneers all they could handle, but came up short nonetheless on Great Lake State Weekend in a 3-1 loss Friday night.

Ranked No. 2 in the nation coming into the series, the Pioneers (3-0-0, 0-0-0 NCHC) picked up their third straight win against a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) team, after sweeping Alaska last weekend.

Unlike the trip the Lakers made to Denver two seasons ago, which saw the host Pioneers figuratively skate circles around Damon Whitten’s squad, Lake Superior (2-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) managed to skate well with the visitors, playing them hard until the final horn.

Ashton Calder got Lake Superior on the board first with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway that resulted in the Pios drawing a penalty.  Despite picking up three power plays, the host Lakers had a difficult time generating zone pressure.

The second period saw the Pioneers begin pressuring Lake Superior hard.  Although the team weathered the storm, including shutting down the Denver power play, the Lakers surrendered a goal by Ian Mitchell just 14 seconds after the expiration of a Laker penalty taken by Miroslav Mucha, setting up the teams for a tense third period.

Although Lake Superior played arguably its best period of the young season, Denver tallied two goals in the final stanza, including the game winner by Emilio Pettersen at 7:15 of the period, and the nail in the coffin from Jaakko Heikkinen on a shorthanded chance with just 1:04 left to play.

Despite the setback, the Lakers made a Hurculean attempt at a comeback, pulling Mareks Mitens and pressing hard.  Although they had difficulty getting chances, they prevented the Pioneers from hitting the empty net a couple of times, preserving the 3-1 final score.

In goal for the Lakers, Mitens made 26 saves on 29 shots.  In the other crease, Magnus Chrona earned the win with 23 saves on 24 chances.

When the Lakers last played Denver, Mitens, who started the Saturday night game of the series, saw 54 shots — substantially fewer than tonight, which serves as a testament to Lake Superior limiting the Pioneers’ chances.

The two teams will conclude their series tomorrow night with a 7:07 p.m. puck drop.

Lakers complete sweep of Warriors

Will Riedell tries to cut down the angle on a shot by Merrimack’s Mac Welsher. Riedell chipped offensively as well, and was one of five Laker defensemen with a goal this weekend (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Lake Superior State hockey team wrapped up its first series of the season on Sunday, October 6th.  The Lakers (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) defeated the visiting Merrimack Warriors (0-2-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) by a 4-3 score at home.

“It was kind of a tale of two nights,” Whitten said on the opening weekend.  “We watched it back and thought we didn’t give up much offensively, but tonight they outworked us and that can’t happen.  There are not many nights you’re going to steal a win getting outworked.  It’s a good lesson, but two very different games.”

Merrimack got the scoring started when freshman defenseman Zach Uens put a shot behind Laker junior goaltender Mareks Mitens just 55 seconds into the contest.  The Lakers did not wait long to respond, as junior defenseman Tyler Anderson answered for Lake Superior a mere 21 seconds later.  For Anderson, it was the second goal of his Laker career.

Following the opening goals, both Mitens and Warriors freshman goaltender Troy Kobryn kept their respective opponents off the board for the remainder of the period.

Lake Superior struck next when senior forward Max Humitz notched his second goal of the season.  Prior to the season, Humitz, along with senior defenseman Collin Saccoman, was named co-captain of the team this season.

Like the Lakers earlier, Merrimack managed a quick response of their own, as sophomore forward Jordan Seyfert tied things up 39 seconds after the Humitz goal.  The Warriors retook the lead later in the period with a goal from senior forward Tyler Irvine.

Merrimack had a huge opportunity to add to their lead, as Humitz received a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing.  The Lake Superior penalty kill held strong, however, sending the teams to the locker room with a one goal game after 40 minutes.

At 8:14 of the third period, the home Lakers managed to tie the game back up with a shot from junior defenseman Will Riedell.  1:27 later, Lake Superior went back in front courtesy of Saccoman. 

Pulling Kobryn for an extra skater, Merrimack pushed hard for the tying goal.  Mitens and the Laker defense stood tall, however, as Lake Superior held on for the 4-3 win, with Saccoman’s goal standing as the game winner.

In goal, Mitens stopped 20 of 23 shots to earn the win.  Across the ice, Kobryn made 15 saves on 19 shots.

Special teams play saw both teams fruitless with the extra attacker.  Lake Superior was 0 for 3, while the Warriors went 0 for 6, including the 5 minute power play.

After Sunday’s game, Whitten was complimentary about his defensive corps, who accounted for 5 of the team’s 10 goals on the weekend.

“We’ve talked a lot about them early on,” commented Whitten.  “Five of our six starters are back, as well as guys who’ve also gotten experience in there.  We have to lean on them to be strong defensively early on and for them to contribute offensively.  They’re gonna have to be good for us all season long.”

On seeing a former Laker bench boss return to the arena, Whtten said that he and Borek “had a really good conversation Thursday, and Scott talked about what his time here meant to him.  It was nice to hear him talk about all the things he loved about Sault Ste. Marie.  I was a player when he was coaching here, so I know him more from playing against him, but it was great to hear him speak so fondly of his time here.”

Lake Superior is home again on Friday, October 11th and Saturday, October 12th, when they host the University of Denver for Great Lake State Weekend.  Game time for Friday’s matchup is 7:30 p.m.

Lakers start season on right foot, beat Merrimack in opener

Michell Oliver uncorks the shot that earned him his first collegiate goal in the Lakers’ 6-2 win over Merrimack on Saturday night (Mike Barrett/LHB)

Lake Superior State could not have asked for a better opening to its 54th season of collegiate hockey, as they downed the Merrimack Warriors 6-2 at Taffy Able Arena.

Head coach Damon Whitten saw his team win their fourth straight season opener by beating the same opponent they faced last year on opening weekend.

Mitchell Oliver, who was unable to play last season due to eligibility issues, opened the scoring with a rocket shot from the blue line that beat Merrimack goaltender Jere Huhtamaa. The Warriors responded with a goal by Chase Gresock late in the period that sent the teams to the locker room tied after 20 minutes.

Lake Superior restored their lead with a goal by Hampus Eriksson. The native of Forsbacka, Sweden, dug the puck out of a pile up in front of the net and flipped it over the shoulder of Huhtamaa.

Merrimack did not stay down for long, as Gresock tallied his second goal of the evening, beating goalie Mareks Mitens and tying the game at 2. The Lakers got another goal, this time from Jacob Nordqvist, who put the puck past Huhtamaa while skating parallel to the net, regaining the lead for the home team.

Late in the period, Lake Superior went up by 2 when Yuki Miura deflected a shot from captain Collin Saccoman past an outstretched Huhtamaa. For Miura, this was the 3rd goal of his collegiate career.

A goal by Max Humitz in the third period signaled the end of the night for Huhtamaa, as he was switched in favour of Troy Kobryn. As freshmen, neither Huhtamaa nor Kobryn had ever played a minute of NCAA hockey before tonight.

Going for broke, Merrimack pulled Kobryn with under four minutes to play. Lake State’s Miroslav Mucha put the final nail in the coffin with an empty netter, setting up the final 6-2 score.

In collecting the win, Mitens made 27 saves on 29 shots.  His counterpart Huhtamaa allowed 5 goals on 23 shots, taking the loss.  Kobryn stopped all 4 shots he faced in relief.

Starting his second season behind the bench for Merrimack is Scott Borek. Head coach of the Lakers from 1996-97 to 2000-01, Borek amassed a 76-94-15 record. That his first game as head coach of the Warriors last season was against his former team was purely a coincidence — the schedule had been made prior to his hire.

The two teams will conclude their series on Sunday.  Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

 

Cuglietta reaches century mark, but Lakers pushed to the brink

A quick start by Lake Superior State could not be sustained in the first game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Semifinals, as the Lakers fell 2-1 to Minnesota State – Mankato on Friday night.

With the semifinals being a best of 3 affair, Lake Superior must win on Saturday to keep its season alive in their quest for the league tourney crown.

Lake Superior (23-12-2) got on the board first when senior captain Diego Cugletta got in the Maverick zone on a 2 on 1 and fired the puck over the left shoulder of Minnesota State netminder Dryden McKay. 

For Cuglietta, it was goal number 25 on the season and point number 100 in his collegiate career, as the forward from Kamloops, British Columbia, became the first Laker to reach the century mark since Dominic Monardo did so with a goal in a 3-0 win over Northern Michigan in 2013.

Two goals by the Mavericks (30-7-2) later that period quickly turned the Laker lead into a deficit.  Charlie Gerard scored his eleventh goal of the year on a breakaway that beat Laker goalie Nick Kossoff on the glove side at 6:18 of the first.   1:02 later, Walker Duehr made it 2-1 Mankato by collecting a pass from behind the net and firing it point-blank at the net, giving Kossoff little chance.

With the Mavericks styming the Lakers at nearly every turn, a comeback just wasn’t in the cards for the visitors.  The Lakers were 0 for 5 with the man advantage and had a remarkably difficult time setting anything up on their chances.  Even pulling Kossoff for an extra attacker proved difficult, as Lake Superior could not maintain zone possession long enough to get their netminder pulled.

Early in the third, Minnesota State briefly appeard to go up 3-1, as Gerard put the puck in the net while being taken down by Laker defenseman Steven Ruggiero.  A review disallowed the goal, but permitted a penalty shot, which Kossoff deflected up high and away.

In net, Kossoff made 29 saves on 31 shots, while McKay stopped 20 of 21 to collect the win.

Since New Year’s, the Mavericks have allowed just 25 goals in 19 games.  Of the 19 games, they have allowed more than 2 just once, a 5-3 win against Lake Superior. 

Lake Superior will look to extend their season tonight, as they aim to hand the Mavericks just their second loss on home ice all season (a 1-0 win by the Lakers on January 19th was the first).  Game time is at 8:07 p.m. EST.

Sweep! Lakers down Bemidji State, advance to semifinals

Hampus Eriksson (extreme right) puts the eventual game winner over Bemidji State goaltender Zach Driscoll.

Lake State is moving on.

By picking up a 3-1 win, Lake Superior State won its first playoff series since their 2012 first round matchup against the University of Alaska.  That series was also at home and ended in a sweep.

“It was a big weekend for us,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten.  “We earned home ice and we had to defend it, so I thought we did a really good job.  You have to be good defensively this time of the year and I thought we defended at a high level.  You need great goaltending and we got that too.  Special teams need to be good and this weekend they were as well.”

Much like their game from the previous night, Lake Superior State (23-11-2) and Bemidji State (15-17-6) started out playing a wide open end to end game.  Unlike Friday’s game, however, the Beavers had a much easier time generating shots on net, as they built up a strong shot advantage in the early going.  Lake Superior fought back as the period wore on, closing the gap.

Lake Superior drew first blood when Max Humitz gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead that was initially waved off on the ice, despite the puck being in the net.  A short review validated the tally, giving the forward from Livonia, Michigan, his 16th goal of the season.

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Beavers struck back a short time later.  A heavy shot by Justin Baudry eluded Laker goalie Nick Kossoff, tying the game at one goal apiece before the conclusion of the second period.  After having been outshot 11-9 in the opening frame, Lake Superior outshot the Beavers 17-12 in the middle stanza.

Early in the third period, Lake Superior got its first power play opportunity when Ethan Somoza went off for hooking.  On the ensuing power play, Hampus Eriksson picked up a pass from the opposite faceoff circle and buried the puck behind Driscoll, restoring the Laker lead with his third goal of the year.

Following the goal, the Beavers upped the pressure, desperately trying to net the tying goal.  A pair of minor penalties hindered their efforts, with one coming immediately after the Eriksson goal and the other with less than 5 minutes to play.

In earning the win, Kossoff stopped 38 of 39 shots.  Driscoll, meanwhile, made 29 saves on 31 shots faced.

Interestingly, no penalties were called in the first two periods.  Like Friday, there were few trips to the sin bin in general.

By picking up two assists on the night, forward Diego Cuglietta is now sitting at 99 career points.  With one more goal or assist, he will become the first Laker to reach the century mark since Dominic Monardo did so in 2013.  Like Monardo, if he is to do it, it must happen on the road.

With all of the upper seeds winning their respective playoff series, the Lakers will venture to Mankato next weekend to take on regular season champion Minnesota State.  The Mavericks (29-7-2) dispatched Alabama Huntsville in their quarterfinal series.

 

Lakers pound Bemidji State 4-2 in quarterfinal matchup

In their first home playoff game since joining the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), the Lake Superior State Lakers earned a hard fought 4-2 win on the ice at the Taffy Abel Arena.

A successful power play was the difference maker for the Lakers (22-11-2), as they went 2 for 3 with the man advantage, and notched one more just after the expiration of another power play.

Both teams came out of the opening puck drop with a great deal of energy, as end to end rushes dictated the play through the early part of the first.  Bemidji State (15-16-6) drew first blood when freshman Nick Cardelli ripped the puck past Laker goaltender Nick Kossoff midway thru the first period.

Lake Superior evened things up early in the second when Jay Dickman went off for throwing the stick.  The Lakers sustained pressure on Driscoll, but could not capitalize on the power play itself.  Just eight seconds after the Beavers returned to full strength, Diego Cuglietta collected his own rebound and slipped it past the outstretched leg of Driscoll for his 24th goal of the season.  Cuglietta has the most goals in a season among all Lakers players since 1995-96.

Late in the middle frame, the Beavers were assessed another penalty, this time to Dillon Eichstadt for interference.  Much like on their first attempt, the Lakers were largly stymied by Driscoll .  Unlike their first power play, Lake Superior managed to capitalize, as a long shot by Lukas Kälble eluded the Beaver goalie, giving the home team its first lead of the night.

In the third period, on their next power play, Ashton Calder found Anthony Nellis all alone on the left side of Driscoll, who potted the puck before the netminder could get into position, giving the Lakers a 3-1 lead.

Shortly after the Nellis goal, the Lakers found themselves in a precarious position.  A delayed penalty to Steven Ruggiero enabled the Beavers to pull Driscoll for an extra attacker.  Brad Johnson rang a shot off of a goalpost that hit just right, going behind Kossoff and making the score a one goal affair.  Making matters worse for Lake Superior, the penalty still had to be served.  Luckily for the Lakers, their penalty kill proved up to the task and kept the Beavers at bay.

With time running out, Bemidji State reverted to a more physical game, hoping to earn the equalizer.  The Beavers were unsuccessful in this endeavour, and Max Humitz scored an empty netter from the blue line with 15 seconds to play, locking up a 4-2 win for Lake Superior.

In net, Kossoff made 29 of 31 saves.  Across the ice, Dirscoll stopped 17 of 20 shots.

The last time the Lakers hosted a playoff series was in 2012-13, which was the final season of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).  The Lakers fell in three games to Bowling Green State that season.

The two teams will play game two of the best-of-three quarterfinal series on Saturday.  Game time is 7:07 p.m. EST.