SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — The No. 19 Lake Superior State hockey team defeated Michigan Tech by a 3-1 final in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association matchup on Saturday evening in Taffy Abel Arena.
It is the first time that Lake Superior State (20-8-2, 15-7-2-0 WCHA) has reached the 20-win plateau since 2006-07, when the team ended the season with a 21-19-3 record. After tonight's win, the Lakers are tied with No. 16 Bowling Green for second place in the WCHA standings. After winning 3-1 on Friday night, the Lakers swept a two-game series with Michigan Tech for the first time since the 1983-84 season when the Lakers won 2-1 and 6-3 on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, respectively.
Senior center Diego Cuglietta scored two goals on the night to reach 20 goals on the season. The last time a Laker notched 20 goals in a season was in 2012-13 when Domenic Monardo scored 20 goals in his senior season. With three points in the game, Cuglietta also leads the WCHA in points (34) on the season.
Cuglietta got Lake Superior State on the board at 7:10 of the first period, with assists coming from junior winger Max Humitz and senior winger Anthony Nellis. Lake State extended its lead to 2-0 off a goal from Humitz at the 18:10 mark of the first frame. Cuglietta assisted on the tally, making it both Humitz and Cuglietta's second points of the night. The Lakers led in shots 15-11 after the first period.
In the second period, Michigan Tech's (12-16-4, 11-10-3-1 WCHA) Jake Lucchini found the back of the net at the 14:18 mark to cut the Lakers' lead in half. Lake State tacked on seven more shots in the frame compared to nine from the Huskies.
The third frame was scoreless until Michigan Tech pulled goaltender Matt Jurusik (7-7-2) for an extra attacker at the end of the period and the Lakers capitalized on the empty net, extending their lead to 3-1. Cuglietta notched his second goal of the game with the empty-netter, assisted by sophomore defenseman Lukas Kaelble.
Final shots on goal ended 32-28 in favor of the Huskies.
In goal for the Huskies, Jurusik stopped 25-of-27 shots faced. On the other end of the ice, senior Nick Kossoff (14-4-2) backstopped the Lakers, saving 31 of the Huskies' 32 shots.
Both teams were 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
The Lakers return to WCHA action on the road next weekend, facing Northern Michigan on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. EST.
They return home for their final regular-season home series when they host Ferris State on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2. The team's seniors will be honored with a ceremony on Saturday for the annual Senior Night. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or online. For additional ticket information, call (906) 635-2602.
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Watch Laker hockey head coach Damon Whitten's postgame interview below.