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Lakers pick up series sweep with 4-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville

Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Lake Superior State picked up a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series sweep over visiting Alabama-Huntsville Saturday (Jan. 21) at Taffy Abel Arena.

The Lakers (11-12-3, 8-9-3 WCHA) picked up a pair of goals in the third period to ice the game and made a jump to fifth-place in the league standings with the series sweep.

Freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman opened the scoring with his third goal and 11th point of the season on a feed from fellow freshman Luke Morgan, 12:31 into the opening period. For Morgan, it was his first of two assists on the night as the freshman now has 16 points in his rookie campaign after picking up two helpers in Friday's series opener.

The Chargers (7-17-2, 7-10-4 WCHA) tied the game with 13:24 remaining in the second period on a goal by Brandon Salerno after a costly turnover by the Lakers in their defensive zone. Cam Knight picked off a clearing attempt by the Lakers trying to break out of their own zone, fed Josh Kestner, who then found Salerno all alone in front of the net.

Salerno's tying goal was the only blemish on an otherwise stellar night for junior goaltender Gordon Defiel in net. Defiel came away with 34 saves on the evening in picking up his 11th victory of the season.

With 3:19 remaining in the middle period Gage Torrel (9-7--16) found the back of the net shortly after John Teets exited the penalty box. Again it was Morgan setting up the play with a helper and sophomore Mitch Hults added the first of his two assists on the game-winning goal by Torrel.

The Lakers added an insurance goal 7:34 into the third period on an odd-man rush as Hults led a charge up the ice. Sending a backward pass to his trailing defenseman, Hults found James Roll in stride and the junior defenseman tallied his first goal of the season through Carmine Guerriero's pads to put the Lakers ahead 2-1.

Freshman Max Humitz picked up the second assist on the goal by Roll and later gave the Lakers a 4-1 lead with 8:50 remaining on a power-play goal set up by Saccoman and junior defenseman Aidan Wright.

Immediately following the final horn a pair of fights broke out between the teams, resulting in a laundry list of penalties to players from both teams and the eventual disqualification of players for their next contests. For LSSU, senior captain Gus Correale and junior forward Diego Cuglietta each received five-minute majors for fighting and will be suspended for the Lakers' next contest.

Kurt Gosselin, Brennan Saulnier, and Cam Knight each received disqualifications and will be suspended for the Chargers' next game.

Next week the Lakers travel to Mankato, Minnesota, to face the Minnesota State. The Mavericks (14-9-3, 10-7-3 WCHA) enter the matchup six points ahead of the Lakers in the fourth spot of the WCHA standings.