SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State hockey opened 2016-17 season Sunday evening (Oct. 2) with a 3-3 tie in exhibition play with Canadian Interuniversity Sport member Laurentian. The Voyageurs claimed the unofficial shootout victory with a 1-0 result.
The Lakers captured a 3-2 lead with 11:07 remaining in the third period but soon later surrendered the tying goal to the Voyageurs with 7:47 remaining in regulation.
With the score deadlocked at 3-3 after 60 minutes of play, the teams agreed to a three-on-three overtime period for five minutes. This season in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play, if the score is tied at the end of regulation conference members will skate to a five-on-five overtime for five minutes. If no winner is determined the teams play a three-on-three overtime period and potentially a sudden-death shootout process to determine the winner of the three conference standings points.
In Sunday's exhibition, the teams chose not to play the five-on-five overtime period, instead accepting a tie in order to practice the three-on-three overtime scenario.
LSSU outshot Laurentian 7-1 in the overtime period with both sides receiving a four-on-three power play opportunity in the extra frame.
Neither team could find the winner in overtime, forcing the shootout. As the home team, LSSU head coach Damon Whitten was given the opportunity to choose the order and decided to let the visitors take first crack. Derek Varrin led off for the Voyageurs with a shot saved by starting LSSU goaltender Nick Kossoff. During the second round of shooters Dylan Fitze of Laurentian and the Lakers' J.T. Henke both missed their opportunities, forcing a third round. Andrew Tessier added the winning marker for the Voyageurs in the third round before sophomore Mitch Hults was unable to continue the shootout.
Freshman Luke Morgan opened the scoring for the Lakers under two minutes into his first collegiate contest with a tipped shot from fellow freshman Kris Bindulis at the blue line. Henke, a junior from Trenton, Mich., also added an assist by wrapping the puck around the boards to Bindulis on the far-side point.
With 13:20 remaining in the opening period Nick Esposto put the Voyageurs on the board with a power-play goal assisted by Tessier and Cray Roberge. Esposto's marker was the only goal the Voyageurs scored on their seven opportunities. Less than three minutes later, Hults gave the Lakers their second lead of the night with the team's only power-play goal on 10 opportunities.
The teams skated through the second period without scoring, despite a combining for six penalties in the period.
Laurentian tied the game at 2-2 with 14:06 remaining in the third with a goal by Richard Therrien. Therrien's tying marker stood for just under three minutes before Henke put the Lakers up 3-2. Freshman Max Humitz added an assist and Bindulis notched his second assist on the night.
LSSU totaled 54 shots in the contest, including 18 during the third period, despite getting outscored 2-1 in the final period of regulation. Laurentian registered 21 shots total and only six shots in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
The Lakers next host the team's annual Blue vs. Gold intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. The regular season opens for the Lakers on Oct. 14-15 as former Central Collegiate Hockey Association rivals Michigan State returns to Taffy Abel Arena for the first time in four years for Great Lake State Weekend.