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Lakers fall 6-4 in series opener against Ferris State

Photo courtesy John Shibley/ LSSU Public Relations
Photo courtesy John Shibley/ LSSU Public Relations
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SAULT STE.MARIE, Mich. - Four goals in the third period lifted visiting Ferris State to a 6-4 victory over Lake Superior State in Friday's Western Collegiate Hockey Association series opener at Taffy Abel Arena.

The Bulldogs (13-17-4, 12-12-3 WCHA) broke a 2-2 tie early in the third period with a goal by Chad McDonald at 1:08 of the final frame. Craig Pefley won the faceoff draw directly back to McDonald to pick up his second of three assists on the evening.

With 12:30 remaining in regulation, Pefley scored a power-play goal for his third point of the night on assists from Cameron Clarke and Joe Rutkowski. The assist to Clarke was the freshman defenseman's second assist of the game.

A power-play goal by Diego Cuglietta, assisted by Gage Torrel and James Roll, drew the Lakers (11-16-6, 8-13-6 WCHA) to a one-goal deficit with 9:53 remaining in regulation. The goal by Cuglietta was his 12th of the season and his second point of the game after assisting on Kyle Chatham's second-period goal to tie the game, 2-2.

Torrel tied the game at 4-4 with 4:07 remaining in the contest for his second goal of the evening. The sophomore forward from Monticello, Minn., also opened the scoring for the Lakers with a goal midway through the first period to tie the game at 1-1.

With two goals and an assist on Friday, Torrel became the seventh LSSU player to reach at least 20 points on the season as he now boasts 13 goals and 21 points.

Senior defenseman Ryan Lowney gave the Bulldogs the eventual game-winning goal with 2:07 remaining, assisted by McDonald and Pefley. For Pefley, it was his third assist and fourth point of the night, while McDonald added his third point of the evening with the assist.

The Lakers pulled starting goaltender Gordon Defiel with just over a minute remaining in regulation to bring on the extra attacker, looking for the tying goal. Following a brief offensive attack from LSSU with the extra attacker, a clearing attempt from Lowney was gathered by Gerald Mayhew and scored past a last-ditch diving effort by Kris Bindulis to salt away the 6-4 victory.

The empty-net goal by Mayhew was the senior forward's second goal of the night after opening the scoring 2:50 into the first period. The Lakers registered the first seven shots on goal in the game before McDonald put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0 on the first shot on goal by FSU.

Defiel made 40 saves on 45 shots faced in the losing effort. In net for the Bulldogs, Jason Kapelmaster earned the win with 26 saves on 30 shots by the Lakers.

Each team scored one power-play goal. Ferris State had seven power-play opportunities in the contest, while the Lakers went on the power play four times in the game.

The loss keeps the Lakers in seventh place, trailing Alaska by two points for sixth place ahead of the final result of the Nanooks game against Alaska-Anchorage on Friday. A win for the Lakers against the Bulldogs on Saturday night can clinch a spot in the WCHA playoffs next weekend.

The teams close the regular season on Saturday at 7:07 p.m. A special Senior night ceremony to honor captain Gus Correale, Defiel, and student equipment manager Wes DeJong will take place approximately 15 minutes prior to puck drop on Saturday.