Following a rough weekend against Michigan State, the Lakers returned to the Taffy Able Arena to delve into their conference schedule. Against Alaska-Anchorage, the Lakers put together two mostly solid games, as they took a 3-2 overtime win on Friday, before finding themselves stymied by one of the best goaltenders in the WCHA in a 4-1 loss on Saturday.
Lakers 3, Seawolves 2 (overtime)
Max Humitz had the difference maker, as he scored with just over a minute left in overtime to put the Lakers over the Seawolves on Friday night.
“Exciting way to win a hockey game for sure,” said head coach Damon Whitten. “I wish we could’ve got that done in regulation, but it was a good overtime win. A great goal from Max Humitz…Max is such a smart hockey player, he goes to a good area and made a great play on that.”
Anchorage opened the scoring when Nicolas Erb-Eckholm collected a pass that slid across the crease from Jonah Renouf and buried it behind Laker goaltender Mareks Mitens. Erb-Eckholm’s goal came just 30 seconds into the second period.
Lake Superior tied the game late in the second period when Anthony Nellis scored his fourth goal of the year. Nellis picked up the rebound from a Matt McArdle shot to beat UAA netminder Olivier Mantha.
The Lakers took a 2-1 lead early in the third period on a power play goal from freshman defenseman Will Reidell. With Nick Nolan off for holding, Riedell earned his first collegiate goal on a long shot through traffic that slipped in beneath the crossbar.
The Seawolves did not go quietly however, as Cameron Trott tied the game on another Anchorage power play goal. The shot by Trott found its way past Mitens, who was screened by Tad Kozun of the Seawolves.
Late in regulation, the Lakers had a chance to end the game in regulation, as back-to-back penalties to the Seawolves (Eric Sinclair for holding, Nolan for cross-checking) gave the Lakers the man advantage for the last 2:31 of the period. Mantha and the Seawolf penalty kill were sharp, however, ensuring the game would go to overtime.
Although Anchorage killed off the remaining 1:29 of power play time in overtime, the Lakers still came out victorious, as Humitz collected a pass from Henke behind the net and quickly unloaded it to earn the win.
Following the game, Whitten had praise for his players, many of whom played solid despite not appearing on the scoresheet.
“I thought guys played well across the board. I thought guys like Chase Gamelin went in and played extremely well, Ian Johnston, Bryan Basilico, Brendan McKay all had good games,” commented Whitten. Our big guns showed up too in J.T. Henke, Anthony Nellis and Humitz. I liked our effort across the board.”
Seawolves 4, Lakers 1
Saturday night was not as kind to the Lakers, as the Seawolves scored three goals (one of which was an empty-netter) in the third period to defeat the Lakers, earning their first win of the season in the process.
The Lakers started out on the wrong foot, as UAA’s Tad Kozun opened the scoring just 54 seconds into the game. Kozun deflected a shot from Cam Amantea past Mareks Mitens, who started consecutive games for the first time this season.
Although the second period saw no scoring, there was no shortage of excitement, as Brayden Gelsinger got into it at the end of the period with a Seawolf player. This elevated into a larger conflict, resulting in Gelsinger and Gage Torrel of the Lakers, as well as Kozun and Jordan Xavier of the Seawolves, each receiving roughing penalties.
Anchorage took a 2-0 lead early in the third period on a goal by Austin Azurdia. Azurdia beat Mitens on a long shot from the top of the circle.
Jake Hand cut the Seawolf lead in half when he collected a loose puck in front of the net and put it behind Mantha. Hand started the play by holding the puck in at the blue line and passing it to J.T. Henke behind the net. Henke attempted to pass the puck to Max Humitz in front, but the puck did not make it to him. Instead, the puck bounced through the crease, where the native of Milton, Ontario, found it to score his third goal of the season.
With that goal, Hand has now matched his goal total from his first two seasons in a Laker uniform.
The Seawolves struck back however, with another goal from Azurdia. Azurdia squeezed the puck beneath the right pad of Mitens, restoring UAA’s two goal lead in the process.
Pulling Mitens for an extra skater, the Seawolves’ Jeremiah Luedtke sealed the deal for Anchorage, as he took advantage of a miffed pass by Matt McArdle and hit the empty net.
Mantha had 34 saves on 35 shots to lead the Seawolves to their first win of the season. Mitens had 14 saves on 17 shots.
Lake Superior hits the road for the next couple of weeks, starting with a trip to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons. BG is coming off of a win and a tie (plus shootout win) against Michigan Tech.