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
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
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
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.