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Lakers unable to fend off sweep as Ferris State wins 7-5

Photo courtesy Kati Doty
Photo courtesy Kati Doty

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - Lake Superior State fell 7-5 against Ferris State on Saturday night, suffering their second consecutive Western Collegiate Hockey Association series sweep on the three-week road trip. The Lakers (6-6-0, 4-6-0 WCHA) have now lost five straight and six of their last seven.

A high scoring game throughout, six goals were scored in the first period, giving a preview of the wild race to the finish to come. The Bulldogs (5-9-1, 4-5-1 WCHA) outscored the Lakers 2-1 in both the second and third periods to close the victory. For the second night in a row the Lakers outshot the Bulldogs, 38-32, but could not find the winning formula.

Four of the six first-period goals would go down as firsts of the careers for a pair of Bulldogs and two Laker players. Nate Kallen opened the scoring for FSU with his first collegiate goal, an unassisted shorthanded marker, just 3:22 into the contest. Luke Morgan would then tie the score at 1-1 with 13:26 remaining in the opening period with his first collegiate tally, also unassisted.

The Bulldogs responded eight seconds after Morgan's goal to reclaim the lead, 2-1, on a breakaway goal by Chad MacDonald. Macdonald's goal was assisted by Tyler Andrews and Tyler Dorantes.

With 7:11 remaining, the Lakers went on a brief five-on-three power play as Josh Nenadal returned from the box and eight seconds later, with just six seconds remaining on the two-man advantage, Diego Cuglietta redirected a shot from the blue line by Kris Bindulis which found its way behind Jason Kapelmaster to even the score at 2-2. Sophomore defenseman Owen Headrick (Garden River, Ont.) also factored on the goal with an assist, his 10th of the season, to lead WCHA defenders in assists and continue his lead among the league's defensemen in total points.

Cuglietta's goal with the two-man advantage preserved a Lakers power play for 1:34 left on a Jared VanWormer elbowing penalty. Freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman needed just 41 seconds of that time to factor into the scoresheet with his first career goal to give the Lakers a 3-2 lead. Saccoman delivered a seeing-eye shot from the blue line after J.T. Henke found him from the corner with a long pass across the ice to set up the goal. Freshman Max Humitz also added his second assist of the season on the goal.

Just under four minutes later and with 2:41 remaining in the first, sophomore defenseman Zac Tierney scored for FSU to tie the game at 3-3. Tierney's goal, his first collegiate goal, was assisted by Mitch Maloney.

The sides went into the first intermission deadlocked at 3-3 with the Lakers ahead 14-10 in the shot column.

Sophomore forward Mitch Hults gave the Lakers their second lead of the night 5:42 into the second period, shorthanded, after scooping away the puck from a defenseman's feet and put a deke on Kapelmaster before roofing a shot just under the water bottle. Hults' linemate and penalty killing partner Gage Torrel was credited on the assist, as was junior defenseman Kyle Chatham.

The 4-3 lead for the Lakers lasted just 45 seconds before VanWormer knotted things back up at 4-4 with a power-play goal set up by Cameron Clarke and Joe Rutkowski. This time the tied score would last just two and a half minutes before Corey Mackin was sprung on a breakaway after a nice scoring chance for the Lakers was broken up by Andrew Dorantes, who moved the puck ahead to Mackin. Streaking down the right side, Mackin fired in his fourth goal of the season just over Nick Kossoff's glove to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 lead.

The goal by Mackin would spell the end of Kossoff's night after giving up five goals on 20 shots and the sophomore netminder was replaced by junior Gordon Defiel who opened the series between the pipes on Friday.

Defiel made five saves to finish off the final 11 minutes of the second period to keep the Lakers within striking distance, going into the locker room trailing 5-4 and holding a slight 24-23 lead in shots.

The Bulldogs took a two-goal lead 3:54 into the third period after Gerald Mayhew hammered away a rebound created by a Maloney shot that was blocked by Defiel but was left at the doorstep for Mayhew to finish.

With 11:43 remaining in regulation, Humitz made it a one-goal game with a power-play goal for his fifth goal of the season. Humitz was able to toe drag a defender after receiving a drop-pass from Henke and buried his shot through Kapelmaster's five hole while taking a heavy check from an FSU player. Bindulis also assisted on the goal for his second helper of the night.

Mackin finished off the game with an empty net goal assisted by Dorantes to close out the 7-5 victory for the Bulldogs. The empty netter was MAckin's second tally of the evening.

Defiel was tagged for the loss, despite allowing just two goals, but was the goalie of record when Mayhew scored what would be the game-winning goal early in the third period. Defiel is now 6-5-0 on the season.

Kapelmaster improves to 5-0-0 to begin his collegiate career while recording 33 saves to hold on for the win.

After struggling on the power play over their previous four games, the Lakers broke through for three power-play goals in six tries. FSU went one-for-five on the power play for the game. Both teams also scored a shorthanded goal in the game.

LSSU remains on the road next weekend as they travel to Ann Arbor for a nonconference series at Yost Ice Arena against Michigan Nov. 25-26. The Lakers return home Dec. 2-3 against