Mike Barrett, LSSULakers.com
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Three third period goals enabled the Lake Superior State hockey team to prevail over Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) foe Alabama Huntsville 4-3 in the first game of a weekend series.
Lake Superior (3-0-0, 1-0-0 WCHA) opened the scoring on a shorthanded goal by junior forward Brayden Gelsinger. A Huntsville pass was picked off by senior forward Anthony Nellis, who, along with Gelsinger, came into the offensive zone on a 2 on 0 against Charger goaltender Mark Sinclair. The native of Regina, Saskatchewan's second goal of the season was also the second shorthanded goal for the Lakers on the young season.
Surviving a 19-4 shot disadvantage in the first period, the Chargers (0-7-0, 0-1-0 WCHA) hit an equalizer early in the second period. While freshman forward Ashton Calder was in the penalty box for Lake Superior, the Chargers' Tyr Thompson beat senior goaltender Nick Kossoff, making the score 1-1.
Early in the final period, Lake Superior restored their lead on a goal from junior defenseman Collin Saccoman. Saccoman, who was assisted by sophomore forward Hampus Erikkson and senior forward Gage Torrel, beat Sinclair, earning the first goal for a Laker blue liner this season.
Later in the period, Nellis, who had a helper on the earlier goal by Gelsinger, had the favor returned as his second goal of the season put the visiting Lakers up 3-1.
Down but not out, Alabama Huntsville cut the Laker lead to one when Brandon Salerno beat Kossoff with under five minutes to play. The Chargers, hungry for their first win of the season, outshot the Lakers 15-7 in the final frame.
Late in the period, Chargers head coach Mike Corbett pulled Sinclair for an extra attacker. The plan backfired, however, when sophomore forward Alex Ambrosio got the puck and fired it into the empty net, restoring the two goal lead for Lake Superior. For Ambrosio, it was the first goal of his collegiate career.
Just when the game appeared over, the Chargers struck again, with Connor James finding the back of the net with just 19 seconds left to play. Despite a firm push by the home team, Kossoff and the Lakers held on for the 4-3 final.
In net, Kossoff had 25 saves on 28 shots, picking up the win. In the other crease, Sinclair stopped 31 of 34.
The teams will be back in action Saturday, October 27th at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville for the conclusion of the series. The opening faceoff is set for 8:07 p.m. EST.