SAULT STE. MARIE – Lake Superior State's offense intended to make a statement after ranking 10th in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in scoring last season.
The Lakers came through loud and clear with Friday's 6-1 non-conference victory over Michigan State in front of a Great Lake State Weekend crowd of nearly 2,800 fans. The Lakers enjoyed their best offensive production since edging Union 6-5 in overtime on Oct. 18, 2013.
LSSU (1-0) broke open a 1-1 game with five unanswered goals, including three in the third period. Six different players scored goals for the Lakers, and sophomore defenseman Owen Headrick tied for the LSSU lead in points with one goal and two assists. Brayden Gelsinger (1-2—3) and Mitch Hults (0-3—3) also turned in three-point nights, while Kris Bindulis (1-1—2) and Gage Torrel (1-1--2) each added two points on a goal and an assist.
LSSU goaltender Gordie Defiel played nearly 55 scoreless minutes after giving up a goal early in the first period. He finished with 19 saves, including only three in the second period. The Lakers out-shot Michigan State, 34-20.
Gage Torrel gave LSSU a 1-0 lead with an even-strength goal at 2:43 of the opening period, and MSU's Villiam Haag tied it, 1-1, with a power-play goal at 5:21. LSSU's J.T. Henke regained the Lakers' one-goal lead with an even-strength goal at 18:43 of the first period.
Laker Max Humitz scored a power-play goal at 13:45 of the second period, enabling the Lakers to carry a 3-1 lead into the third.
During the final period, Gelsinger made it 4-1 with a power-play goal at 3:43, and Bindulis followed with a 5-on-5 goal at 5:37. Headrick finished off the scoring with a power-play goal at 9:35.
The Lakers were 3-for-11 with the man advantage, while MSU was 1-for-6.
LSSU and MSU meet in Game 2 of the series at 6:07 p.m. Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena. MSU's Rhett Holland received a game disqualification in the third period and will not be eligible to play Saturday.
During first intermission Saturday, LSSU will recognize its LSSU Athletic Hall of Fame 2016 inductees: Kris Dunbar, Randy Sieler, Bruce Hoffort and the 1975-76 LSSU men's basketball team.