SAULT STE. MARIE – A three goal second period lifted the Bowling Green State Falcons over Lake Superior in the first game of their weekend set at the Taffy Abel Arena.
The two squads faced off in November, where the Falcons (15-8-6. 12-4-5 WCHA) claimed 5 of 6 points from the Lakers at the Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green.
The Lakers (6-19-4, 4-14-3 WCHA) got on the board first when Anthony Nellis picked up his ninth goal of the season. Just 24 seconds later, however, Bowling Green tied the game on a goal from Alec Rauhauser.
Lake Superior came right back down the ice and reclaimed the lead on a goal from Brayden Gelsinger. His goal was the third goal in a 56 second span.
“We had a good start, getting the first goal,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten. “They responded and we answered right back. I’ve mentioned before that we can’t afford to give up five goals and expect to win.”
The Falcons’ Max Johnson tied the game on a power play before the first period drew to a close.
Bowling Green dominated the shots in the second period, posting a 13-2 differential. Goals from Lukas Craggs, Brandon Kruse and Tyler Spezia eventually led to Lakers goaltender Nick Kossoff being relieved after the second period for Mareks Mitens.
The final period saw almost a complete reversal of the shots, as the Lakers dominated with 17 shot on net to just one for the Falcons. Lukas Käelble notched the first goal of his career, closing the Lakers within two.
Unfortunately for Lake Superior, Falcons goaltender Ryan Bednard was sharp throughout, making 24 saves to pick up the win.
“I thought we pushed back,” said Whitten. “We kind of sagged after their third goal, but a couple of guys kept going to give us some life. We had a tremendous third period, where we really poured it on, but we couldn’t get that next one to really give ourselves a chance.”
Both teams managed 27 shots on net. In picking up the win, Bendard made 24 saves. Kossoff was tagged for 5 goals on 26 shots before Mitens came in. The native of Ventspils, Latvia stopped the only shot he faced.
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.)
MARQUETTE – In need of points, the Lake Superior State Lakers came up empty-handed in a Friday night loss to the Wildcats of Northern Michigan.
Lake Superior got on the board first when Diego Cuglietta netted goal number six on the year, scoring an unassisted goal under five minutes into the game. The Lakers came out hard, outplaying the host Wildcats through the first half of the opening period. A penalty to Alex Ambrosio seemed to spark the ‘Cats, as they began to get the better of the play.
Just 55 seconds into the second period, the Lakers’ lead was gone, as Adam Rockwood picked up his 3rd goal of the year. An even strength goal, Rookwood’s tally came right after the expiration of an Anthony Nellis penalty. Rockwood got assists from Demico Hannoun and Robbie Payne, the latter of whom is a candidate for the 2018 Hobey Baker Award.
Darien Craighead kept the momentum going for Northern Michigan with a goal 1:15 later, giving the Wildcats their first lead of the night. Craighead added a power play tally later in the period for his 15th of the season.
Down but not out, the Lakers closed within one when J.T. Henke found the back of the net. Despite the shots standing at 27-14 in favour of the hosts after 40 minutes, Lake Superior trailed by only one goal entering the final session.
To start the third period, the Laker offense came out firing shot after shot at ‘Cats goaltender Atte Tolvanen. Tolvanan, who came close to breaking the NCAA shutout record last season (held by former Laker Blaine Lacher), stood tall, keeping the Lakers in check. At the other end, Nick Kossoff kept the Wildcats from climbing any higher, turning away each attempt to widen the scoring gap.
With Kossoff on the bench and the Lakers’ net empty, Lake Superior tried to send the game to overtime. Tolvanen, however, showed why he is one of the top goalies in the WCHA by coming up big for his team when they needed him, preserving the 3-2 score.
For the Lakers, Kossoff faced 34 shots, stopping 31. Tolvanen finished the night with 27 saves on 29 attempts.
With the loss, the Lakers now trail the Wildcats 2-1 in the standings for the Father Cappo Cup, and hold a 2 goal advantage. The rivalry for the cup started in 1992, and has been contested annually since 1995. The ‘Cats won the cup last season on a tiebreaker, as both teams finished 1-1-2, but NMU outscored LSSU 10-9.
On the plus side, the teams directly ahead and below the Lakers in the standings all lost, as Alaska-Anchorage fell to Bowling Green, Ferris State lost to Bemidji State and Alaska was defeated by Michigan Tech. While Lake Superior could not take advantage of the situation, they did not fall further out of the playoff race either.
The series will complete Saturday, January 20th at the Berry Events Centre in Marquette. Face off is at 7:07 p.m.
SAULT STE. MARIE – Following their fourth consecutive Friday night shutout, the Lake Superior State Lakers chased the goaltender who shut them out in a 5-3 win.
The Lakers (6-16-4, 4-11-3 WCHA) scored three first period goals against Darren Smith, who was pulled after one period of play in favour of Justin Kapelmaster.
Gage Torrel got the scoring started for Lake Superior when his shot got past Smith, who was screened by Hampus Erikkson. Jake Hand and Anthony Nellis joined the fun, helping the Lakers to open up a 3-0 lead.
In the second period, with Kapelmaster keeping the Lakers off the board, including a penalty shot by Alex Ambrosio, the Bulldogs forged a comeback, as Trevor Recktenwald cut the Lake Superior lead to two after 40 minutes of play. Initially reviewed to see if the play was onside, the goal stood when the replay failed to overturn the call on the ice.
Early in the third, Ferris State (10-15-1, 7-10-1 WCHA) pulled within one when Ryker Killins got the puck through a pileup in front of Nick Kossoff. Like Recktenwald’s goal, this one had to go to the booth for review, but also came back good.
Under a minute later, the game was tied on Justin Tackett’s first goal of the year. A long shot from Mitch Maloney was deflected by Tackett past Kossoff for a 3-3 score.
“They clawed their way back into it and suddenly you’re looking at 3-3 late in the game,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten, on the Ferris State comeback. “It’s a real credit to our team and our leaders. It’s been challenging, but our guys have stuck together, believing in each other and staying positive.“
With under 9:00 left to play, Diego Cuglietta came streaking into the zone and took a shot on net. Kapelmaster made the save, but a rebound escaped to the side, which Cuglietta slid back to the blueline. Kyle Chatham teed up the puck and shot it thru a crowd of players and found the back of the net, putting the Lakers back on top.
“We started well, getting up 3-0, but then they battled back and we weren’t getting the bounces,” said Chatham. “We showed good character by not slouching too much. I got the puck at the point and the next thing I knew it was in the net.”
Ferris State had its chances, but Kossoff kept the puck out of the net the rest of the way. With the goalie pulled, Brayden Gelsinger notched his sixth goal of the season with an empty netter for a 5-3 final.
In goal, Kossoff made 20 saves on 23 shots. Across the ice, Smith stopped 8 of 11 before Kapelmaster came in, who made 16 saves on 17 shots.
The Lakers hit the road next weekend for Marquette. Northern Michigan (13-10-3, 11-5-2-2 WCHA), who swept Bowling Green this past weekend, has been the biggest surprise in the WCHA this year under new head coach Grant Potulny.
SAULT STE. MARIE – For the fourth consecutive Friday game, the Lake Superior State hockey team could not find the back of the net, as Darren Smith and the Bulldogs of Ferris State downed the Lakers 4-0.
Entering the game, the Lakers were seven points behind Ferris State, who held the final playoff spot.
The Bulldogs got on the board when Coale Norris and Marshall Moise got into the Lakers’ zone on a 2 on 1. Moise fed a pass to Norris, who put the puck into a wide open net, as Moise had gotten Lake Superior goaltender Mareks Mitens out of position.
Ferris State scored two more goals in the second period, as Corey Mackin and Nate Kallen converted on opportunities, eventually chasing Mitens from the net.
Replacing him was junior Nick Kossoff. Kossoff, who has 4 of the Lakers’ 5 wins on the year, allowed a power play goal by Ryker Killins in the third period.
Although much of the play was even, the Bulldogs managed to make the most of their opportunities.
In goal, Smith stopped all 27 shots. Across the ice, Mitens made 13 saves before being relieved by Kossoff, who made 11 stops.
By picking up the win, Ferris State snapped a five game losing streak. The Lakers, meanwhile, are now 0-6-1 in their last 7 league games. They sit eight points behind Alaska, who is in action against Minnesota State in a late game.
For the Lakers, the chances of making the WCHA Tournament continue to shrink, as they have been unable to gain any ground on teams ahead of them in the standings. Making matters worse were the results from the late games, where Alabama-Huntsville and Alaska won their games, widening the gap.
The teams are back in action tonight for the conclusion of their series. Puck drop is at 7:07.
SAULT STE. MARIE – Lake Superior State could not protect an early two goal lead, as the red hot Bemidji State Beavers scored five 2nd period goals en route to a 6-3 win over the Lakers at the Taffy Abel Arena.
The Beavers (11-6-5, 8-4-4-2 WCHA) have now won six straight games, and are unbeaten in their last nine.
“They’re a good defensive team, especially with [Michael] Bitzer in net,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten. “We’ve got to be better defensively and we need better goaltending. It’s going to be a long night if your goaltending doesn’t give you the chance to compete. Same thing with special teams, giving up two shorties and a power play goal.”
Lake Superior (5-15-4, 3-10-3 WCHA) opened the scoring just over a minute into the game, when Hand put the puck past Bemidji State netminder Michael Bitzer, earning his 5th goal of the season.
Later in the period, Hand picked up his second goal of the night, making the score 2-0 in the Lakers’ favour.
“Jake Hand had a good start to the game with a couple of goals, which gave us some life and energy. We were not good enough defensively from a team perspective and we’ve got to be better that way.”
Bemidji State fought back, getting a goal from Justin Baudry. With 0:07 left in the first, the Beavers appeared to tie the game. The initial call on the ice was no goal, and a lengthy review of the play upheld the call on the ice.
The second period saw the Beavers rattle off three unanswered goals in 5:28. Among the goals were two shorthanded goals, courtesy of Kayle Bauman.
“They hurt you momentum-wise,” remarked Whitten, on shorthanded goals. “They don’t come from grade A situations, and they can be very demoralizing.”
Although Max Humitz got a goal back on the power play, goals from the Beavers’ Charlie Combs and Zach Whitecloud made it 6-3 after two periods. Following the goal by Combs, Kossoff was replaced in net by Mareks Mitens, but returned at the start of the third period.
“I think we needed a change at the time,” said Whitten, on the change. “We weren’t getting enough out of that position, so we switched. [Kossoff] went back in to start the third because we wanted to give him a chance to fight through the adversity. He’s a junior, so we wanted to give him that shot.”
While Kossoff did not allow another goal the rest of the way, the Laker offense could not find the back of the net again, as Bemidji State completed the weekend sweep.
In goal, Bitzer picked up the win by making 15 saves on 18 shots. Across the ice, Kossoff stopped 28 of 33, while Mitens was scored on with the only shot he faced.
With 12 points in the standings, Lake Superior sits in 9th place, seven points behind 8th place Ferris State, who is playing a Sat/Sun series with Bowling Green State. The Bulldogs (9-13-1, 6-8-1 WCHA) will visit the Lakers next weekend. Both games are slated to begin at 7:07 p.m.
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Returning home from their third place showing in the Three Rivers Classic, Lake Superior State looked to start the remainder of their conference schedule right.
Bemidji State had other plans.
An early two goal lead, coupled with a stellar performance from one of the top goaltenders in the Western Collegiate Hockey Associaiton, aided the Beavers in picking up their fifth straight win with a 3-0 win over the Lakers.
The Beavers (10-6-5, 7-4-4 WCHA) are now unbeaten in their last eight games. They have not lost since December 1, when they fell 3-1 to Bowling Green.
“Our back was against the wall a month ago and our guys responded,” said Beavers head coach Tom Serratore. “We have nine road games and four home games remaining, so for the rest of the season we’re going to be on the road. We went 4-0-2 in our last six home games, and now we’re building on that.”
Lake Superior (5-14-4, 3-9-3 WCHA) was unable to gain any momentum from its 3rd place finish in the Three Rivers Classic. The Lakers fell 5-0 to host Robert Morris before beating Arizona State 4-1 in the consolation game.
“It’s a tough loss, said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten. “If you don’t score goals, you’re not going to win hockey games. Against Bemidji, it’s going to be a low scoring game, so if you only give up two, you have a chance against that team. Give them credit, plus we all know how good Bitzer is, but the chances were there.”
The Lakers have now been shutout in each of their last three Friday games.
“We need to spend more time in the offensive zone and get to the net for some second chance opportunities,” remarked Whitten. “They box out and play heavy in their zone; our forwards have to get to the front of the net to create those opportunities.”
Bemidji State wasted no time getting on the board, as they took a 1-0 lead just 1:04 into the game. Dylan McCrory collected a rebound that went off the skate of Kyle Bauman and put it past Laker goaltender Nick Kossoff, who was out of position from stopping the initial shot.
The Beavers made the score 2-0 when a long shot from the point by Zach Whitecloud was tipped behind Kossoff by Charlie Combs just seconds after going on the man advantage.
“It was nice getting a lead right away,” said Serratore. “It was a big goal a minute into the game and we piggybacked that with a second goal right away. It put us into a good position with a two goal lead.”
The third period saw Lake Superior bring offensive pressure, outshooting the Beavers 11-5 in the final stanza. Bitzer, a 2017 Hobey Baker Award finalist, and one of the premier netminders in the WCHA, kept the Lakers off the board the rest of the way.
An empty netter from Gerry Fitzgerald sealed the deal for the Beavers, as they picked up the 3-0 win.
In net, Bitzer stopped all 21 shots he faced for his 4th shutout of the season (and 3rd in league play). For Lake Superior, Kossoff made 22 saves on 24 shots in defeat.
“He’s just a winner of a person,” remarked Serratore, on Bitzer. “He’s a goalie who takes his craft very seriously. He was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and a 1st Team All American. We rely heavily on him and he’s been very good over the course of the last month.”
Despite the loss, the Lakers blueliners made things difficult for Bemidji State, as Lake State tallied 15 blocked shots.
“I thought our defensive corps played pretty well overall,” said Whitten. “I felt as though we got better as the game went along.”
Making his debut for the Lakers was forward Alex Ambrosio. A native of Burnaby, British Columbia, Ambrosio joined the team during the break to help shore up the depleted Laker offense.
“He’s a guy we knew about; we liked him as a hockey player,” said Whitten, on Ambrosio. “His hockey IQ shows as well, and we’re trying to improve our depth there, so he will be an even better addition as he moves along in our program. [Coaches] have pretty extensive lists to try and handle situations like [mid-season acquisitions], plus you have your contacts that you rely on when you need to add some bodies.”
Ambrosio most recently played for the Coquiltam Express of the British Columbia Hockey League.
The teams will conclude their series tonight. Puck drop is at 7:07 p.m.
PITTSBURGH – After not being in the lineup Friday against Robert Morris, Ian Johnston was inserted onto the fourth line to try and generate some offense.
The sophomore from Ottawa made himself be heard with his first goal in a Laker uniform as Lake Superior (5-13-4, 3-8-3 WCHA) claimed a 4-1 win over Arizona State (4-12-4, 0-0-0 Independent) in the consolation game at the Three Rivers Classic.
Lake Superior ended their scoreless drought early in the first period as J.T. Henke continued his phenomenal senior campaign. Henke was muscled off of the puck by the Sun Devils; Arizona State failed to play the puck however and the Trenton, Michigan native collected it and put it behind Ryland Pashovitz.
Just over 2:30 later, Arizona State tied it up with Tyler Busch’s seventh goal of the season. Despite generating 16 shots on Nick Kossoff in the first period alone, the junior netminder turned aside the rest of the attempts.
The Lakers reclaimed their one goal lead Brayden Gelsinger slipped the puck through the five hole of Pashovitz. Gelsinger’s 5th goal of the season sent Lake Superior back to the locker room after one period with the lead.
In the second period the Sun Devils, who generally have a difficult time getting shots on net, badly outshot Lake Superior 19 to 4. Consecutive penalties to Gage Torrel, Ryan Renz and Max Humitz in the first half of the period kept the Lakers on the defensive.
The Lakers did not get their first shot on net until under 4:00 remaining. Despite the multitude of shots, Kossoff was not terribly tested, as most shots were from long range with little traffic.
Early in the third period, Kyle Chatham made a clean centering pass from along the right boards directly to the stick of Johnston. The forward then lifted the puck over the left leg of goaltender Pashovitz, earning career goal number one.
Down but not out, Arizona State continued peppering Kossoff, but failed to capitalize. The Lake State penalty kill performed well, limiting the Sun Devil chances, particularly on a 5 on 3 chance midway through the third.
The Lakers salted the game away with an empty netter courtesy of Humitz, who carried the puck through the neutral zone and got the shot off from the blue line, as Lake Superior earned the 4-1 win.
Thirteen different Lakers registered at least one blocked shot, with Collin Saccoman (6), Steven Ruggiero (4) and Kyle Chatham (3) leading the way.
Kossoff finished the night with 48 saves. In the other net, Pashovitz stopped 17 of 20.
In the championship game, 11th ranked Providence prevailed over Robert Morris to win the Three Rivers Classic. Kasper Björkqvist’s power play goal late in the second proved to be the difference, as the Friars (12-7-1, 6-4-1 Hockey East) prevented the Colonials (8-12-1, 7-7-1 Atlantic Hockey) from claiming a third straight title.
Lake Superior will return home next weekend to face Bemidji State. The Beavers (9-6-5, 6-4-4-2 WCHA) swept their home series against Alabama-Huntsville (6-14-2, 5-9-2-1 WCHA).
PITTSBURGH – Looking to take steps forward going into the second half of the season, the Lake Superior State Lakers found themselves stymied by the Robert Morris Colonials in a 5-0 loss in the Three Rivers Classic.
Lake Superior (4-13-4, 3-8-3 WCHA) could not get its offense going, as the team suffered its third shutout in four games.
Played at the home of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, the Classic will see tourney host Robert Morris playing for the championship for the 5th time in 6 years.
Timmy Moore and Brady Ferguson were the major sources of the Lakers’ ailments in the opening period, as each had a goal and two assists as the Colonials (8-11-1, 7-7-1 Atlantic Hockey) took a 3-0 lead to the dressing room after one period of play.
Lake Superior was outshot badly in the first period and completely outworked by the Colonials, as Robert Morris scored one fewer goal than the Lakers had shots.
With Nick Kossoff relieving Mareks Mitens in net to start the second period, the Lakers looked to dig out of the hole they were in. Alas, the hole only grew deeper, with Nick Jenny and Luke Lynch converting for Robert Morris to make the score 5-0.
While the shots in the final period were nearly even (10-9 in favour of RMU), Lake Superior could not get the puck past Francis Marotte, as the sophomore earned his third shutout of the season. Francis needed 19 saves to get there.
On special teams, the Colonials were 1 for 9 with the man advantage while Lake Superior went 0 for 4. The Lakers took 14 minutes worth of penalties, meaning some of the nine power plays Robert Morris had were only partial ones.
In relief of Mitens, who made 14 saves on 17 shots, Kossoff tallied 19 on 21.
The Lakers will look to get back on track in their second game of the Classic, where they will face Arizona State. The Sun Devils (4-11-4, 0-0-0 Independent) suffered a similar fate in their opening game, as they were blanked 6-0 by 11th ranked Providence. Puck drop is at 4:05 p.m.
HOUGHTON – Despite playing well and even holding a two goal lead, the Lake Superior State Lakers were unable to end their winless streak against the Michigan Tech Huskies, as the teams skated to a 3-3 tie.
The last time Lake Superior defeated Michigan Tech was January, 2014. They have gone 0-10-3 since, plus 2 losses in the WCHA tournament.
Lake Superior (4-12-4, 3-8-3 WCHA) opened the scoring from an unlikely source, as Brendan McKay earned his first collegiate goal. The redshirt sophomore from Toronto beat Huskies netminder Robert Beydoun, ending the scoring drought for the Lakers.
Prior to the goal by McKay, the Lakers had not scored since Hampus Erikkson potted the only goal in their series against Minnesota State last weekend – eight periods plus change.
Despite the Huskies (9-7-5, 7-6-5-2 WCHA) outshooting the Lakers 12-6 in the first period, Lake Superior took a lead back to the locker room after 20 minutes.
Midway through the second period, J.T. Henke added to the lead with a goal directly off the faceoff. Henke (6-15-21) entered the game in a tie for 26th in the nation in scoring. His 16 points in conference play have him among the scoring leaders in the WCHA.
Dylan Steman helped get his club back into the game 1:35 later as his second goal of the year cut the Lakers’ lead in half.
Lake Superior appeared to get themselves into big trouble when Gage Torrel was called for contact to the head late in the second period. Torrel received a five minute major plus a game misconduct.
Just over a minute into the penalty kill, Tech’s Jake Jackson was sent to the box for interference, helping negate some of the penalty time. Unfortunately for Lake State, Dane Birks knotted the score at 2 goals apiece.
The Huskies took the lead with just over four minutes to play with a goal from Brent Baltus. Making matters worse for Lake Superior was a tripping penalty issued to Mareks Mitens, making the chances for a Laker comeback less likely.
Despite the odds, the Lakers continued to press. With an extra skater on the ice, Anthony Nellis cashed in for his seventh goal of the season with just 42 seconds remaining in regulation.
Just like they did in their series back in October, neither team could end the game in the 5 on 5 or 3 on 3 sessions, sending the game to a shootout.
In the shootout, Lukas Kaelble and Henke had chances to win, as the Huskies missed on their opportunities. Unfortunately, they did the same.
In the third round, Jackson beat Mitens with the puck and, coupled with Nellis failing to convert at the other end, enabled the Huskies to pick up 2 points on the night.
Following the game, head coach Damon Whitten praised his team for holding things together in spite of the adversity the team played through, including the injuries the team has faced through the season. During the third period, Hampus Erikkson was forced to leave the game due to injury.
In net, Mitens made 33 stops, while Beydoun came up with 22. Saves that are made in 3 on 3 overtime and shootouts are not counted towards official statistics.
The Lakers are off until the Three Rivers Classic on December 29-30th. In the first game, they will take on Robert Morris. The Colonials (6-11-1, 6-7-1 Atlantic Hockey) are the tournament host. The winner of that game will play the winner of Providence (10-7-1, 6-4-1 Hockey East) and independent Arizona State (4-10-3), while the loser will face the loser of that game.