SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Wrapping up their two game set against the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves, the Lake Superior State hockey team was unable to solve goaltender Olivier Mantha, as the Seawolves scored 3 goals in the third period en route to a 4-1 win over the Lakers in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action on Saturday at the Taffy Abel Arena.
Anchorage (1-6-1, 1-1-0 WCHA) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Tad Kozun slid the puck past Laker goaltender Mareks Mitens. The goal, coming at 0:54 of the first period, was the second goal scored by the Seawolves on the weekend to come in the first minute of a period.
While there was no scoring in the second period, there was plenty of action to be seen, as a couple of melees broke out at the end of the period. Four players, including Gage Torrel and Brayden Gelsinger for the Lakers, and Jordan Xavier and Kozun for the Seawolves, were issued roughing penalties.
Early in the third period, Austin Azurdia gave Anchorage a 2-0 lead. Goaltender Mantha received one of the assists on the goal.
Lake Superior got a goal back when Jake Hand converted on a power play oppourtunity. With Xavier in the box for holding, Hand banged away at a loose puck in front of Mantha, cutting the Seawolves' lead in half in the process.
With an assist on the goal by Hand, J.T. Henke extended his lead at the top of the Laker stat sheet. Henke (2-11—13) is averaging more than a point per game so far this season. He finished with 30 points in 36 games last year.
The Seawolves restored their two goal lead when Azurdia squeaked the puck past the right pad of Mitens for his second goal of the night. Azurdia's goal came on a power play, which made Anchorage 1 for 5 with the man advantage.
Despite controlling most of the play, the Lakers had little luck with solving Mantha. The senior netminder faced 16 shots in the third period, stopping all but the goal from Hand.
Lake Superior pulled their goaltender with about 2:30 remaining in an attempt to tie the game. Unfortunately, a defensive miscue allowed Jeremiah Luedtke to ice the game with an empty-netter and help the Seawolves earn their first win of the 2017-18 season.
In goal, Mitens made 14 saves on 17 shots faced. Mantha came up with 34 saves on 35 shots.
Lake Superior (2-6-2, 1-2-1 WCHA) hits the road next weekend, as they travel to Bowling Green. The Falcons (4-3-2, 3-1-2 WCHA) are coming off of a win and a tie against Michigan Tech. Puck drop on Friday, November 10th is at 7:37 p.m.