SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Lake Superior State gave up a pair of one-goal leads in the third period to finish with a 4-4 tie against Alaska-Anchorage in Saturday's Western Collegiate Hockey Association series finale inside Taffy Abel Arena. After playing through a scoreless five-minute overtime period, the Lakers (11-14-5, 8-11-5 WCHA) picked up the extra WCHA standings point with a goal from Kyle Chatham in the three-on-three overtime portion.
LSSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from Gage Torrel at 10:27 of the first period and Diego Cuglietta with 3:16 remaining in the opening period. Both goals marked the 11th goal of the season for Torrel (11-7--18), who finished with a +3 rating, and Cuglietta (11-9--20).
Out of the first intermission, the Seawolves (7-17-6, 6-12-6 WCHA) quickly cut the LSSU lead in half, 2-1, with a goal by Nils Rygaard at 2:28 of the second period. With 9:14 remaining in the middle period, Chase Van Allen scored on the power play for the Seawolves to tie the game at 2-2.
A minute and 30 seconds later, freshman forward Luke Morgan notched his sixth goal and 20th point of the season with a power-play goal, putting the Lakers back ahead, 3-2. Bindulis and Hults each picked up their second assist of the night on the goal by Morgan.
After two periods of play, the Lakers held a 3-2 lead, despite being out-shot 20-13 by the Seawolves.
16 seconds into the third period, Mason Mitchell scored in four-on-four play to tied the game at 3-3.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native Aidan Wright notched his first goal of the season with a power-play goal, midway through the final period of regulation, assisted by freshman Collin Saccoman and sophomore Anthony Nellis. The assist for Nellis was his third point of the weekend after scoring both goals in Friday's 3-2 loss against UAA. Saccoman's helper marked his second assist of the evening, after tallying a point on Torrel's goal to open the game.
The Seawolves persisted, however, and late in the game with their seventh power-play opportunity of the evening, Nicolas Erb-Ekholm picked up his second point of the night with a power-play tally, tying the game at 4-4 with 1:18 remaining in regulation.
After both teams skated through the NCAA-mandated five-on-five overtime scoreless, the Lakers ended the affair with a goal from Kyle Chatham, who went end-to-end and scored past Olivier Mantha in the WCHA three-on-three overtime. The goal by Chatham and assist from Hults does not factor into season statistics, however, the tally lifted the Lakers to a two-point takeaway in Saturday's series finale.
With two points on the night, the Lakers moved into a tie for sixth place in the WCHA standings with Northern Michigan, which pulled off a home-sweep of Alaska on the weekend. LSSU and the Wildcats trail fifth-place Ferris State by one point in the standings and have a one-point lead over Alabama-Huntsville and the Nanooks tied for eighth place.
Junior goaltender Gordon Defiel made 29 saves to backstop the Lakers and now boasts an 11-12-5 record on the season. In net for the Seawolves, Mantha made 23 saves in the game.
Both teams finished 2-for-7 on the power play and the Seawolves edged LSSU, 33-28, in shots on goal.
The Lakers travel to Fairbanks to face the University of Alaska next weekend before closing out the regular season at home, Feb. 24-25, against Ferris State.