ANN ARBOR, Mich. - For the first time since 2005-06, Lake Superior State claimed victory in Yost Ice Arena with a 3-1 win over Michigan in nonconference action Friday against its former Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival.
The Lakers (7-6-0) snapped a five game losing streak with the series-opening win over the 16th-ranked Wolverines (5-5-1). LSSU scored three unanswered goals, including a pair of goals with less than three minutes remaining in the third period, to cap the thrilling finish.
Tony Calderone opened the scoring with a power-play tally from just inside the blue line. The shot found its way through a pair of LSSU defensemen to catch Gordon Defiel off-guard.
Twenty-three seconds after the goal by Calderone, sophomore Josh Nenadal tied the game with his second goal on the season. He snuck the puck under Pat LaFontaine's blocker. LSSU senior captain Gus Correale picked up the primary assist with a centering pass from the corner that found Nenadal. Sophomore Diego Cuglietta also picked up his first of two assists on the night on the play.
The Wolverines spiked offensively in the third period with the score still knotted at 1-1, but were unable to breach the Lakers defense or Defiel, who saved all 16 shots that came his way in the final 20 minutes.
With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Mitch Hults found J.T. Henke on the far blue line with a breakout pass from the Lakers' defensive zone faceoff circle. Hults's pass hit Henke in stride and the junior forward patiently found freshman Luke Morgan streaking through the slot. Henke made a perfect one-time pass that Morgan finished to put the Lakers ahead 2-1.
Michigan had a chance to tie the game with the puck on their leading scorer Will Lockwood's stick. He closed in on Defiel after an errant pass by the Lakers' defense. Lockwood used his speed and tremendous puck handling skills to get in all alone, but was hauled down by junior defenseman Aidan Wright with a heads-up play to take the penalty and not surrender the LSSU's lead.
The Wolverines controlled the ensuring faceoff, but a scramble in the boards resulted in a shorthanded two-on-one opportunity for Cugglietta and Correale. Cuglietta made a nice play to take the puck and start the breakout and passed to Correale, who sure-handedly skated the puck right into the Michigan net to ice the Lakers' victory.
Defiel made 29 saves to earn the game's first star honors. LaFontaine made 25 saves and allowed just two goals in a strong 58:30 of action in the Wolverines' net.
The teams close the weekend series on Saturday night with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at Yost Ice Arena.