SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The No. 18 Lake Superior State hockey team clinched a series sweep over the University of Alabama Huntsville Chagers with a 4-1 victory on Saturday, March 13 in the second game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Quarterfinals in the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The No. 2 seeded Lakers advance to the WCHA Semifinals for the second time in three seasons with the win, and improve to an overall record of 17-6-3 this season.
Four different Lakers netted goals in the victory with Will Riedell scoring the game winning goal on a second period power play goal. Sophomore goaltender Seth Eisele earned his first career playoff win as he stopped 16 of 17 shots in the game.
The Lakers took a 1-0 lead in the game when Louis Boudon scored a power play goal in the opening seconds of the second period. Hampus Eriksson won the face-off and got the puck back to Lukas Kaelble. Kaelble carried the puck back through the defensive zone and into the neutral zone before Jack Jeffers grabbed the puck. Jeffers skated through the offensive zone and sent a cross ice pass to Boudon. Boudon was streaking in alone on the rush and tipped the puck to beat UAH goaltender Fessenden on his glove side :18 seconds into the period.
At 7:15 of the second period, Will Riedell scored the eventual game winning goal when he scored a power play goal. After the Lakers spent a lengthy shift in the offensive zone, Hampus Eriksson got control of the puck. Eriksson set up Puricelli for a shot at the blue line when he sent a pass to him and the sophomore forward sent a shot on goal that was saved by the Chargers netminder. Fessenden knocked the puck away but it went directly to Riedell, who fired the puck into the open net for a 2-0 lead.
The Lakers scored their third power play goal of the game, which is the most in a single contest this season, when Eriksson deflected a point shot taken by Mitchell Oliver at 10:25 of the second period. Pete Veillette fed the pass to Oliver to set up the shot, extending his point streak to eight point streak.
Puricelli capped off the Lakers scoring in the game to give the team a 4-0 lead at 13:20 of the third period. Dustin Manz forced a turnover along the boards behind the net and sent a pass to Puricelli who was stationed inside the faceoff circle. Puricelli dropped down to one knee to get the shot off and sent a shot into the top corner of the net for his second goal of the weekend.
With under three minutes left in the game, the Chargers snapped LSSU goaltender Seth Eisele‘s shutout streak when Mick Heneghan scored on a shot from the blue line on the power play to make it a 4-1 game at 17:48 of the third period.
With the series sweep over the Chargers, the Lakers have secured a spot in the WCHA Semifinals next weekend on Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20. The Lakers next opponent and the location of the game will be determined following the conclusion of the WCHA Quarterfinals.