SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Lake Superior State hockey suffered their first defeat of the 2016-17 season on Saturday night in the second game of the weekend Western Collegiate Hockey Association series against Alaska.
Despite the loss, the Lakers are off to a tremendous start to the season with a 5-1-0 overall record and a 3-1-0 mark in conference play to rank fourth in league. The Lakers also have two games in-hand on the three teams above them in the standings.
For the second time on the weekend the Nanooks (3-5-0, 2-2-0) jumped out to a two-goal lead early in the first period. Marcus Basara scored the first of two goals to open the scoring 3:51 into the opening whistle on a two-on-one break, beating sophomore Nick Kossoff on a one-timer over the left shoulder.
Following a game misconduct and five minute major penalty called on LSSU freshman Collin Saccoman, the Nanooks captured their second goal of the night on a power-play tally by Ross Heidt.
Sophomore forward Gage Torrel opened the scoring with a power-play strike of his own with 4:53 remaining in the first period. Freshman Kris Bindulis and sophomore forward Mitch Hults added the assists on Torrel's goal.
Trailing 2-1 to open the second period, Hults evened the score 38 seconds into the middle period on clearing attempt by junior defenseman Aidan Wright on a clearing attempt that was picked up by Braydon Gelsinger in the offensive zone. Gelsinger played the puck over to Hults, who showed great patience in picking the top corner past Jesse Jenks' glove for his third goal of the season and second point of the night.
In the third period Zach Frye put the Nanooks ahead 4-3 with 6:41 remaining in regulation on a power-play goal set up by Chad Staley.
Hults would later tie the game with 4:52 remaining in regulation after intercepting a puck in the neutral zone and working a good give-and-go with junior defenseman Kyle Chatham for his third point on the night.
Despite taking a power play into the five-on-five overtime period, the Lakers were unable to find the game-winning goal.
With both teams back at even strength Basara lit the lamp for the second time in the game on his second shot attempt in a goal-mouth scramble, causing the UAF bench to spill over the boards and swarm him in the corner.
Jenks earned his second victory of the season and was named the first star following a 38-save performance. Kossoff made 22 saves in the loss in his season debut.
Hults' three point performance puts him in the LSSU lead for points with 11 on four goals and seven assists. Torrel's (4-4--8) goal moves him into a four-way tie with Owen Headrick (2-6--8), J.T. Henke (3-5--8) and Gelsinger (3-5--8) for second on the team with eight points.
The Lakers are again at home next Friday and Saturday (Nov. 4-5) as they host No. 13 ranked Minnesota State. Adult tickets are $12 and children tickets cost $6. LSSU faculty, staff and students get free admission to all Laker Athletics events.