Category: Game Recaps

Lakers relinquish early two goal lead, suffer sweep at hands of Bemidji

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.

Lakers can’t slow down Beavers, fall 3-0

Lake Superior players Collin Saccoman, Diego Cuglietta and Gage Torrel attempt to converge on a loose puck. Despite a number of chances, the Lakers suffered their 3rd straight Friday shutout (Mike Barrett/LHB).

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.

Lakers take 3rd place in Three Rivers Classic with 4-1 win over Sun Devils

Ian Johnston (seen here against the USNTDP) scored his first goal as a Laker, as LSSU defeated Arizona State to claim 3rd place in the Three Rivers Classic (Mike Barrett/LHB)

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).  

LSSU stymied by Robert Morris in 5-0 shutout

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.

Lakers tie Michigan Tech, fall in shootout

Brendan McKay, seen here against Minnesota State, scored his first collegiate goal in a 3-3 tie against Michigan Tech (Mike Barrett/LHB)

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.

Offense sputters against Huskies in 3-0 loss

HOUGHTON – Offensive woes continued for Lake Superior, as they suffered their second consecutive shutout in a 3-0 loss to the Michigan Tech Huskies.

Lake Superior (4-12-3, 3-8-2 WCHA) found themselves behind the eight ball early, as a power play goal by the Huskies (9-7-4, 7-6-4-1 WCHA) netted a power play goal courtesy of Brent Baltus just 2:56 into the game.

The Lakers settled things down after the goal by Baltus, as they played their defensive game well, frustrating the Tech offense with a good forecheck. 

Despite being outshot 19-4 in the second period, the Lakers kept Michigan Tech off of the scoresheet by playing well defensively.  While the shot differential was lopsided, the Huskies accumulated 16 blocked shots throughout the game, many of which came in the second period.

Two third period goals within four minutes of each other sealed the fate for Lake Superior, as the strong play of Mareks Mitens in net was not enough to keep the Lakers in the game.

Making his first start in a Laker uniform was sophomore defenseman Steven Ruggiero.  Ruggiero, a native of King’s Park, New York, transferred to Lake Superior following a half season at Providence.  He was a 6th round (178th overall) draft pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2015.

Also of note concerning the lineup was the absence of Laker captain Aidan Wright.  The senior defenseman from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, sat out for the first time in his college career.  Wright had played 133 consecutive games before tonight.

Mitens made 37 saves on 40 opportunites, while his counterpart Robert Beydoun picked up the shutout with 25 saves.

The teams will meet again tonight at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton.  Puck drop is at 7:07 p.m.    

Lakers stomped by Mavericks in series finale

Editor’s note – our apologies for the delay in posting this recap.  

SAULT STE. MARIE – Looking to capture the magic they had found last Saturday against Alaska, the Lake Superior State Lakers were dealt a harsh dose of reality, as they dropped the series finale against the Minnesota State Mavericks 7-0 at the Taffy Abel Arena.

Mankato, the 8th ranked team in the country, came out with the foot on the gas pedal, as they controlled nearly every facet of the game.

“Discipline hurt us.  You’ve got to be more disciplined against a team like that,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten.  “They’re a really good team, give them a lot of credit.  There’s a reason they’re ranked where they’re at.  They are skilled, deep and fast.  Obviously they were the better team tonight.  Special teams killed us again tonight, which were a big difference on the weekend.”

Many questionable penalties were called against both teams throughout the game – a fact Whitten was particularly unhappy with.

Minnesota State was 4 for 7 with the man advantage, including one goal on a major penalty to Max Humitz, who was tossed for spearing.

Nick Kossoff was relieved after yielding five goals in two periods.  Mareks Mitens, his replacement, allowed two more in the third period.

For the Mavericks, Connor LaCouvee picked up the shutout with a mere 13 saves – 8 of which came in the first period.

For those who are not mathematically inclined, Lake Superior took 5 shots on net in the final two periods – the same number of goals scored over that stretch by Minnesota State.

Lake Superior will look to regroup this weekend in Houghton against Michigan Tech.  The Lakers and Huskies faced off back in October, with Michigan Tech taking 5 of 6 points.  Joe Shawhan’s squad is coming off of a split against Ferris State.

Lakers cannot contain eighth-ranked Mavericks, fall 5-1

Brayden Gelsiner collides with MSU-M goaltender Jason Pawloski while Ian Scheid (18) and Riese Zmolek (25) look on (Mike Barrett/LHB)

SAULT STE. MARIE – Taking advantage of their power play opportunities, the Minnesota State – Mankato Mavericks strung together a five goal second period, erasing the Lake Superior lead on their way to a 5-1 win over the Lakers on Friday night.

Lake Superior opened the scoring when Hampus Erikkson earned his first career goal.  The native of Forsbacka, Sweden, blasted a shot from outside the blue line that evaded Maverick goaltender Jason Pawloski, finding the back of the net.

The Mavericks tied things up right after the expiration of a penalty to Nicholas Rivera.  Rivera, who was off for boarding, managed to pick up an assist on the goal from Jared Spooner at 2:42 of the period.

Following the goal by Spooner, the Lakers found themselves unable to contain the high-powered offense that Mankato brought with them during the second period, as the Mavericks found the back of the net four more times.

For the Mavericks, Parker Toumie, Zeb Knutson, Jake Jaremko and Daniel Brickley all capitalized throughout the period.

Despite sustained offensive pressure in the third period, the Lakers could not convert, as Pawloski closed the door the rest of the way.

For Minnesota State, Knutson finished the night with four points on 1 goal and 3 assists.  Other multiple-point getters included Brickley (1-2-3), Spooner (1-1-2), and Jaremko (1-1-2).

Kato went 2 for 6 on the man advantage, while Lake Superior was 0 for 5.

Between the pipes, Nick Kossoff had 34 saves on 39 shots.  Across the ice, Jason Pawloski picked up the win with 23 of 24 saves.

While he was effectively shut down by the Mavericks blueliners, J.T. Henke was 17-9 in the faceoff circle.  Henke came into the game in sole possession of the top spot in the WCHA scoring race, and currently sits tied with Knutson of the Mavs.

Making his return to the lineup for Lake Superior was freshman defenseman Lukas Kaelble.  Kaelble had been injured and out of the lineup since the series against Denver back in October.

Before the start of the game, a moment of silence was observed in memory of James W. Moody, late professor of History and Geography at Lake Superior State, who passed away earlier this week.  Moody had taught at Lake State since 1971.

Lakers score four in third, earn 4-1 win and split with Alaska

Anthony Nellis crushes Nick Hinz of the Nanooks into the boards in the first period Saturday (Mike Barrett/LHB)

SAULT STE. MARIE – A very physical hockey game saw Lake Superior rally past Alaska with four third period goals, as they earned a weekend split with a 4-1 win on Saturday at the Taffy Abel Arena.

“I thought guys played. We didn’t have any passengers, guys showed up and played hard,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten.  “We had much better urgency and intensity, so I’m happy about that.

“To have a four goal third period is huge.  We haven’t been overly proficient offensively, so to get that first one and get rolling is huge.”

Both teams came out hitting hard and often.  The physical play did not escape notice of the referees, who issued 22 minutes worth of penalties in the first two periods.  The third period saw the whistles essentially put away, as the referees seemed content to allow the teams to play.

On the physicality, Whitten commented that “every team is different.  [Alaska] has that big heavy defensive corps that like to bang you around, and I think we responded well.  We had a heavy effort, we were good that way and it was good to be delivering those kinds of hits.”

Through the first half of the game the defenses stood tall, as neither team had much luck generating scoring chances.  Nanooks goalie Anton Martinsson weathered the early storm (with the help of two Laker shots clanging off the pipes), but unlike Friday night, the Lake Superior D corps gave Alaska few opportunities.

As the second period wore on, the Lakers started getting more offensive pressure as the game wore on, but Martinsson kept the Lakers out of the net thru two periods.

With about five minutes remaining in the second period, Alaska capitalized on a power play chance, as Ryker Leer broke the stalemate by taking the puck and putting it up and over Nick Kossoff (who was diving in an attempt to snare the puck) and into the goal.

Less than two minutes into the final period, the Lakers evened things up, as freshman defenseman Tyler Anderson earned his first collegiate goal.  Anderson picked up a loose puck while his team crashed the net and swatted the puck behind Martinsson on the stick side from the edge of the circle.

Just over six minutes later, with the Lakers on the power play, Henke got a loose puck and beat Martinsson, giving Lake Superior its first lead of the weekend in the process.  Henke’s shot came from almost the exact same spot as Anderson’s.

“He’s been very good offensively and consistent all season long,” remarked Whitten on Henke.    “Obviously he’s a major offensive catalyst for our team in that regard, and he brings it.  As good as he’s been though, I still think he can be better and be a dominant force in this league.”

Henke later added an assist on a goal by Anthony Nellis, as he passed the puck right through the skates of Alaska defenseman James LaDouce to Nellis, who deked and slipped the puck beneath the left leg of Martinsson.  With two points on the night, Henke (4-11-15) pulled ahead of Seuss for sole possession of first place in league scoring.

Lake Superior salted the game away with an empty netter from Diego Cuglietta to secure the 4-1 win for Lake Superior, helping them to earn a series split with the Nanooks.

“I thought we played well for five periods and that’s not good enough to win two games on the road,” said Nanooks head coach Lance West.  “Last night we won some battles, got to the net and scored, and tonight I don’t think we got to the net.

“We still had a 1-0 lead thru two periods, playing a very tight game.  Mental mistakes cost us in the third period, and they got some momentum out of them.”

Laker goaltender Kossoff faced just 20 shots, making 19 saves in the process to collect the win.  Martinsson, his counterpart, came up with 27 saves on 30 shots.

Around the league

Alabama-Huntsville 3, Northern Michigan 2

Josh Kestner scored two goals, including the game winner 1:48 into the second period, as the Chargers held on to beat the Wildcats, splitting the weekend series.  Northern Michigan held the lead twice in the first period, but Huntsville responded each time.  All five goals in the contest came within a 7:00 stretch of play.  In goal, Jordan Uhelski made 22 stops to collect the win, while Mathias Israelsson had 18 saves in defeat. 

Ferris State 5, Alaska-Anchorage 2

A three goal third period led the Bulldogs past the Seawolves, enabling them to sweep the weekend.  Alaska-Anchorage erased a two goal deficit in the second period with goals from Austin Azurdia and Corey Renwick.  Two goals by Taylor Fernandez plus one more from Craig Pelfey made the difference for Ferris State.  Pelfey finished with 2 goals and 2 assists on the night, as Justin Kapelmaster had 27 stops.  His Seawolf counterpart Olivier Mantha had 28 saves on 32 shots.

Bemidji State 3, Bowling Green 3 (Bemidji State wins shootout)

The Beavers trailed 2-1 going into the third period before goals by Dillon Eichstadt and Ian Janco put them in the lead.  Bowling Green’s Lukas Craggs then sent the game to overtime with an extra attacker goal with 54 seconds left on the clock.  Jay Dickman scored the only goal in the shootout to earn the Beavers 2 of 3 points in the league standings.  In goal, Michael Bitzer had 25 saves for the Beavers, while Ryan Bednard had 29 for the Falcons.  Bowling Green earned 4 of 6 points on the weekend.

Van Tetering, Nanooks propel past Lakers

Alaska goaltender Anton Martinsson sticks his glove out on a wide shot in the second period. Martinsson made 23 saves to pick up the win on Friday (Mike Barrett/LHB)

SAULT STE. MARIE – Three goals in just 42 seconds put the Lake Superior State hockey team behind the eight ball midway thru the first period, as the Alaska Nanooks, fueled by a hat trick from Troy Van Tetering, held off a potential Laker rally en route to a 5-3 win on Friday night at the Taffy Abel Arena.

Despite dominating play during much of the opening period, it was the Nanooks (5-10-2, 3-7-1-1 WCHA) who drew first blood, as Justin Woods beat Mareks Mitens seconds after Alaska rang one off the post.

Just twelve seconds later, Colton Leiter made the score 2-0 Alaska with a long shot that squeezed past Mitens on the short side.  Van Tetering kept the momentum going for the Nanooks with another goal, putting the Lakers behind 3-0.

“I thought it was a good start.  The first ten minutes we really came at them, but they weathered the storm, and when it comes down to it, 42 seconds costs you the hockey game,” said Lakers head coach Damon Whitten.  “It’s unacceptable to give up that many goals in such a short time.  It’s not good enough and we need to be better.”

Although Lake Superior (3-9-3, 2-5-2 WCHA) got a goal back at 15:42 courtesy of Gage Torrel, the Nanooks returned to the dressing room up three, as Van Tetering earned his second goal of the night with under a minute left in the first period.

At 9:36 of the second period, Van Tetering had his hat trick, as he slid the puck beyond the outstretched arm of Nick Kossoff, who relieved Mitens after one period.

Lake Superior started to rally late in the second.  Max Humitz earned his 8th goal of the season with an unassisted goal in form of a wrist shot over the shoulder of Nanooks goaltender Anton Martinsson.  Humitz’ goal made it 5-2 Nanooks going into the third period.

“We’ve got good character and good players,” said Whitten.  “It’s one of those game where pucks end up in the back of your net too easily.  We kept playing though, and I like that about our team.  Even so, it’s hard to play from behind and chase.  You don’t win many hockey games 6-5 or 7-6.”

Senior forward J.T. Henke got the Lakers within two, as his fourth of the season cut the Nanooks’ lead to 5-3.  Despite continued offensive pressure, however, Lake Superior was unable to find the back of the net again, falling by a 5-3 final.

Both teams had a power play goal, as Lake Superior was 1 for 6 on the power play, while the Nanooks were 1 for 4 with the man advantage.

Martinsson stopped 20 of 23 shots.  For the Lakers, Kossoff made 12 saves on 13 shots in relief of Mitens, who was victimized for 4 goals on 9 shots.

Both teams are back in action Saturday night at the Taffy Abel Arena. 

“It’s all about mindset.  You’ve got to come in and play heavier and harder than the guy across from you.  We weren’t that tonight.  I give [Alaska] a lot of credit, I thought they had more desperation and urgency to their game, so it’s not good enough from Lake State’s side.  We’ve got to do a better job.”

Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m.

Around the WCHA

Ferris State 2, Alaska-Anchorage 0

Justin Kapelmaster stopped all 22 shots he faced, while Jacob Hetz and Trevor Recktenwald each scored their first goal of the year for the Bulldogs.  The Seawolves’ Olivier Mantha posted 46 saves on the night, but his team was unable to give him any goals in support.  Both teams went 0 for 3 on the power play.  Anchorage defenseman Nicholas Nolan registered 7 blocked shots for the Seawolves.

Northern Michigan 3, Alabama-Huntsville 1

Two shorthanded goals less than two minutes apart put the Wildcats ahead of the host Chargers at the Von Braun Center.  Christian Rajic opened the scoring for Alabama-Huntsville, before Troy Loggins and Adam Rockwood cashed in with shorties late in the second period.  Zach Diamantoni netted a power play goal in the third for the Wildcats.  Mathias Israelsson faced just 16 shots, turning them all aside, save for the Rajic goal.  Things got dicey in the third period, as four penalties were called for roughing after the whistle.

Bowling Green 3, Bemidji State 1

Niko Coffman could not have picked a better time to score his first goal of the season, as the sophomore defenseman from Chelsea, Michigan, netted the game winner for the Falcons with only 1:12 remaining in the game.  Brandon Kruse and Mitch McLain also scored for Bowling Green (McLain on an empty net), while Mike Soucier picked up the lone goal for the Beavers.  Both BSU’s Michael Bitzer and BGSU’s Erick Dop made 24 saves.