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Lakers skate to a 2-2 tie at Minnesota State

Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Photo Courtesy Kati Doty

MANKATO, Minn. - A pair of third-period goals by Minnesota State secured a tie Lake Superior State in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association weekend series finale Saturday night.  The Mavericks (15-9-4, 11-7-4 WCHA) added a goal with 1:08 remaining in the three-on-three overtime period to claim the extra WCHA point.

Sophomore forward Mitch Hults tallied his ninth goal of the season with 15:33 remaining in the first period to open the scoring and give the Lakers (11-13-4, 8-10-4 WCHA) the early 1-0 lead. Hults circled out to the blue line before firing a shot past goaltender Cole Huggins with LSSU freshman Max Humitz in front setting a screen. Humitz and Kyle Chatham each were credited with assists on the play.

Neither team scored in the second period despite a good amount of end-to-end play by both teams. Late in the middle period, however, the Lakers lost a player as Brendan McKay was whistled for a five-minute major for contact to the head with an elbowing penalty and received a game misconduct on the play.

Still, the Lakers clamped down in the five-minute penalty kill and eventually killed off the penalty with 2:31 left in the period. The Mavericks, aided by the lengthy power play took a 23-17 shots on goal advantage into the second intermission but still trailed, 1-0.

Early in the third period, the Lakers capitalized on a lazy play to clear the zone by MSU and Diego Cuglietta whipped a pass from the boards across the ice for a waiting Gage Torrel. Torrel buried home his 10th goal of the season with a heavy slap shot on the one-time opportunity to give LSSU a 2-0 lead.

Freshman forward Luke Morgan also picked up an assist on the play for his fifth assist and sixth point in the Lakers' last four games.

The Lakers enjoyed their 2-0 advantage for one minute and two seconds before Ian Scheid scored for the Mavericks to cut the lead in half. Sprung by Daniel Brickley and Ryan Schwalbe, Scheid toe-dragged his way into the slot and scored over Gordon Defiel's glove.

With the momentum of their first goal, the Mavericks maintained the offensive pressure and scored their second goal just 3:10 after the goal by Scheid. Brickley this time received a cross-ice pass from C.J. Franklin and snuck it in on the short side from out at the faceoff dot. Brickley picked up his second point of the night, as did Scheid with the secondary assist on the play.

The Lakers failed to convert on a power play opportunity that came just over a minute after the Mavericks' second goal and the teams skated through regulation deadlocked at 2-2.

In overtime, the Mavericks outshot the Lakers 7-5 but both goaltenders proved up to the task and the Lakers even drew a power play with 49 seconds left in the overtime period. Still, the game remained at 2-2 and the Lakers took their 1:11 of power play time into the three-on-three overtime portion.

Freshman Parker Tuomie eventually ended things, with 1:08 remaining before a shootout on a give-and-go play with Franklin. The goal does not count towards official standings, however, as the game officially ended in a 2-2 tie.

The goal did, however, give the Mavericks two points in the WCHA standings and the Lakers settled for just one and now sits tied with Ferris State for fifth place in the conference standings.

Both goaltenders racked up over 30 saves while backstopping an action-packed contest. Defiel registered 34 saves and Huggins saved 30 of 32 shots by the Lakers.

Next week the Lakers sit idle with a bye before welcoming Alaska Anchorage to Taffy Abel Arena on February 10-11.