SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Lake Superior State hockey team closed out Great Lake State Weekend with a Saturday night game against the Michigan Tech Huskies. The Lakers (1-2-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) took the Huskies to a shootout, where Michigan Tech (3-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) prevailed to claim two of three points in conference play.
Lake Superior, under head coach Damon Whitten, got on the board first when senior forward J.T. Henke jabbed away at a loose puck in front of Huskies' netminder Patrick Munson, putting the Lakers ahead 1-0.
The Huskies struck back when Joel L'Esperance scored on Laker netminder Mareks Mitens while on the power play. Michigan Tech added to their lead 1:25 later with a goal by Alex Gillies, sending the Lakers to the dressing room trailing by a goal after one period.
The second period saw no scoring. Michigan Tech, who outshot the Lakers 17-5 in the first period, continued to outshoot Lake Superior in the second, with shots standing at 26-10 in favor of the visitors. Laker goaltender Mitens stood tall however, and kept the Huskies off the scoreboard in the second period.
Early in the third period, junior forward Anthony Nellis appeared to tie the game with a slapshot right off of a faceoff. Replays, however, showed the puck went off the corner of the crossbar. At 8:44 of the third period, Nellis tied the game for real with his third goal of the season.
With the game knotted at two goals apiece at the end of regulation, a five minute, 5-on-5 overtime was played. Both teams had chances, but goaltenders Mitens and Munson kept their respective opponents off of the board.
Following the overtime, a five minute 3-on-3 overtime was played. This overtime, introduced by the WCHA last season, is officially considered by the NCAA to be a tie. Like the first overtime, both goaltenders kept the puck out of the net, causing the game to go to a sudden-death shootout, also introduced by the league last year.
In the shootout, Mitens and Munson each kept the first three skaters they faced off of the scoreboard. Michigan Tech's Jake Lucchini got a puck by Mitens in the fourth round to secure the extra league point for the Huskies.
In goal, Mitens made 40 saves on 42 shots in his first collegiate game. Not included in that shot count were seven saves in the 3 on 3 overtime, including stopping Tech's Mark Auk on a penalty shot.
Across the ice from Mitens, Munson stopped 23 of 25 shots.
Lake Superior came onto the ice tonight sporting special gold jerseys. These jerseys, according to Whitten, were a special thing for Great Lake State Weekend, that they will be seen again in the future.
The Lakers hit the road next week to face the defending national champion Denver Pioneers. The Pios (1-0-1, 0-0-0 NCHC) are coming off of a win and tie against Notre Dame. Game time on Friday, October 20th is at 9:35 p.m.