SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The No. 20 Lake Superior State hockey team extended their winning streak to five games after sweeping the University of Alabama Huntsville this past weekend. The Lakers started the weekend Friday night by earning a 2-1 win and following it up on Saturday night with w 4-1 victory at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste Marie.
Jacob Nordqvist scored the game tying goal Friday for the Lakerss in the third period and Will Riedell scored the game winner with nine seconds left in regulation. Mareks Mitens finished the game with nine saves for his 30th career win, tying him for the 10th spot all-time in program history.
With the win, the Lakers improve to 11-4-3 overall and 5-3-0 in conference play this season. Lake Superior State has now won four consecutive games to sit in fourth place in the WCHA standings with 14 points.
The two teams played to a scoreless first period with the Lakers outshooting the Chargers by a 13-3 margin.
Alabama Huntsville would take a 1-0 lead at 12:29 of the second period when Bennett Stockdale beat Laker goaltender Mareks Mitens.
At 11:15 of the third period, the Lakers would tie the game when Jacob Nordqvist scored his second goal of the season. With the two teams skating four-on-four, Lukas Kaelble skated into the top of the circle with the puck before finding Hampus Eriksson who was wide open across the ice. Eriksson sent a slap shot on goal and after UAH netminder, David Fessenden, made the initial stop but let out a rebound. Nordqvist drove to the net on the play and was able to send the puck past the Chargers goaltender to tie the game at 1-1.
In the final seconds of the game, the Lakers were given a power play opportunity with just under 22 seconds remaining on the clock after Louis Boudon was slashed. After the Lakers regained possession of the puck following an offensive zone face-off, Riedell would fire off a quick shot that just missed the net. The puck would make its way into the corner, and Nordqvist and Brandon Puricelli would work to free the puck. Puricelli got control of the puck and sent a pass from the corner boards to Riedell, who was all alone. With a clear path to the net, the senior defenseman would skate into the slot and get off a slap shot that beat Fessenden high with 9.2 seconds left on the clock to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead.
The game would end with Mitens earning his 30th career victory, as he stopped nine shots in the game. The senior goaltender is now tied with Gordon Defiel for tenth place all-time in wins in program history. In addition, Mitens has allowed two or fewer goals in 14 of his 16 appearances in net this season.
Fessenden stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in the game from the Lakers.
Saturday, Mitchell Oliver, Hampus Eriksson, Louis Boudon and Brandon Puricelli recorded the Laker goals in the game as the Lakers extended their win streak to five games. Lake Superior State has strung together five consecutive wins for the first time since the 2018-19 season, when the Lakers won eight straight games from Dec. 7, 2018 through Jan. 11, 2019. Freshman goaltender Ethan Langenegger got the start in goal for the Lakers and earned his second career win with 19 saves in his second career start.
With the win, the Lakers improve to 12-4-3 overall and 6-3-0 in conference play this season for a total of 17 WCHA points. Following Saturday’s WCHA games, the Lakers are in a three way tie for second place in the league standings with Bowling Green and Northern Michigan. Lake Superior has a game in hand over both teams.
For the second straight game against UAH, the Chargers scored the game’s first goal. Quinn Green redirected a shot by Dayne Finnson past Laker goaltender Langenegger for a 1-0 lead at 5:33 of the first period.
At 10:41 of the first period, the Lakers tied the game at one when Oliver scored his third goal of the season. The play started with an offensive zone faceoff that Boudon won cleanly. Pete Veillette grabbed the loose puck and sent a pass back to Oliver, who was at the blue line. Oliver fired a wrist shot that made its way through traffic and would beat UAH goaltender David Fessenden on his blocker side.
Eriksson would score the Lakers second goal of the game and the eventual game winning goal at 4:16 of the second period. The senior forward would collect the puck from Miroslav Mucha and circled through the offensive zone with the puck before firing off a quick shot that went into the short side top corner of the UAH net to beat Fessenden. Senior forward Yuki Miura would record secondary assist on the goal.
Seconds after a Laker power play expired, Boudon would score to bring the Lakers lead up to 3-1 at 7:15 of the second period. The Lakers would hold the puck in the offensive zone for a lengthy shift, thanks to good puck movement from the power play unit on the ice. Veillette, who was stationed at the top of the circle, would send a pass to Eriksson who was on the doorstep. Eriksson sent a between the legs pass through the crease and Boudon was able to redirect the puck off the far post and over the goal line for the two goal advantage on the scoreboard.
Puricelli would complete the game’s scoring at 2:40 of the third period after he forced a turnover in the neutral zone. The sophomore forward would skate in on Fessenden all alone and would slide the puck in on his backhand to give the Lakers the 4-1 lead.
The Lakers would finish the game outshooting the Chargers, 21-20. Langenegger earned his second career win in his second career start as he stopped 19 shots from Alabama Huntsville. Fessenden finished the game with 17 saves for UAH.
The Lakers will have a few days off before heading to Houghton, Mich. for a Tuesday afternoon game against the No. 18 Michigan Tech Huskies at 2:07 p.m. at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The game was originally scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 22-23 but was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The two teams played the first game of the postponed series last Tuesday, Feb. 16 with the Lakers winning by a final score of 3-1.