DENVER – The Lake Superior State hockey team concluded their series with the top-ranked Denver Pioneers on Saturday, October 21st at Magness Arena in Denver. The Lakers (1-3-2, 0-1-1 WCHA) were unable to hold off the Pioneers (2-0-2, 0-0-0 NCHC), falling 5-1.
Josh Nenadal opened the scoring for Lake Superior when he deflected the puck under the crossbar and past Pioneers goaltender Dayton Rasmussen. Rasmussen made his first career start in place of Tanner Jaillet, who allowed three goals on 17 shots the previous night.
Denver's Henrik Borgstrom appeared to tie the game right off of a faceoff, but Denver's Jarid Lukosevicius was whistled for a penalty at the same time, negating the goal and putting Lake Superior on the power play.
With just under three minutes in the first period, Denver's Troy Terry tied the game with a quick wrist shot, putting the puck behind Lakers goaltender Mareks Mitens. Mitens made 40 saves in his college hockey debut on Saturday, October 14th against Michigan Tech.
Much like the previous night, the Pioneers outshot the Lakers by a wide margin, with shots favoring Denver 18-7 after one.
With 3:28 remaining in the second period, the Pioneers were granted a two minute 5 on 3 opportunity when Jake Hand and Diego Cuglietta both were called for penalties. Hand was the initial penalty, while Cuglietta was penalized while the Lakers were attempting to touch the puck to stop play.
The Pioneers capitalized on their opportunity when Terry scored his second goal of the night on a deflection. The goal gave Denver their first lead on the entire weekend.
Early in the third period, the Pioneers extended their lead when Michael Davies put a wrist shot behind Mitens, making the score 3-1 in favor of the home team. The Pioneers added goals from Griffin Mendel and Jaakko Heikkinen, pulling away from Lake Superior for a 5-1 final score.
With Denver's Blake Hillman serving a major penalty for a hit to the head, Logan O'Connor got in alone on Mitens, but was interfered with, resulting in a penalty shot. Mitens managed to get the puck to slide harmlessly to the side of the net for his first official save on a penalty shot. In his first game, Michigan Tech was awarded a penalty shot in a 3 on 3 overtime. Although Mitens stopped that puck as well, it is absent from scoresheets due to its occurrence in a 3 on 3 overtime.
Mitens came away with 49 saves on 54 shots, while his counterpart made 15 saves on 16 shots. The Freshman from Latvia started in lieu of Nick Kossoff, who set a school record on Friday night with 64 saves in a single contest.
Lake Superior stays on the road next weekend when they travel to East Lansing to visit the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans (2-2-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) are coming off of a series split against Western Michigan. Last season, the Lakers swept Michigan State 6-1 and 7-3 when the Spartans paid a visit to Sault Ste. Marie. Puck drop on both nights is at 7:05 p.m.