SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Diego Cuglietta scored his 23rd goal of the season to move into a tie for the most goals scored in NCAA Division I Men's Hockey this season, but No. 19 Lake Superior State hockey fell to Ferris State University 3-2 in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play at Taffy Abel Arena on Saturday night.
Cuglietta's goal, which came at 13:18 of the second period, was his 23rd of the season and tied him with Arizona State's Johnny Walker for the most goals scored in the nation. Cugliett'a 23 goals are the most by a Laker in a season since Sean Tallaire netted 32 goals in 1995-96.
Lake Superior State (21-11-2, 16-10-2-0 WCHA) fell behind early in the game when Ferris State (10-23-3, 7-18-3-0 WCHA) scored 5:01 in to make it 1-0. It was the lone goal of the period and the Bulldogs led in shots at the end of the frame by a 12-11 margin.
Two minutes and 34 seconds into the second period, Ferris State extended the lead to 2-0 on a goal by Jake Transit. Senior forward Diego Cuglietta scored his 23rd goal of the season at the 13:18 mark to cut the lead in half, with an assist coming from freshman forward Melvin Karlsson. However, the Bulldogs got the two-goal lead back with five seconds remaining in the second period when Corey Mackin scored, making it 3-1. The Lakers outshot Ferris State 12-9 in the second frame, making the total shots on goal at the end of the second period 23-21 in favor of Lake State.
The majority of the third period was scoreless. However, with senior goaltender Nick Kossoff(15-6-2) pulled for an extra attacker, junior forward Bryan Basilico scored at the 17:39 mark to make the score 3-2. The Lakers kept Kossoff out of the net and applied pressure, but were unable to score the equalizer as the game ended with the score 3-2. The Lakers outshot the Bulldogs 13-1 in the final frame, bringing the final shots on goal to 36-22 in favor of Lake Superior State.
Kossoff made 19 saves and Roni Salmenkangas (9-15-2) made 34 saves.
The Lakers were 0-for-6 on the man advantage and the Bulldogs were 0-for-3.
Lake Superior State will host Bemidji State in a best-of-three WCHA Quarterfinals series on Friday, March 8, Saturday, March 9, and Sunday, March 10 at Taffy Abel Arena. Game times are scheduled for 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday (if necessary).
Tickets to games one and two are now available online. For additional ticket information, visit lssuakers.com or call 906-635-2601.
Watch head coach Damon Whitten's postgame interview below.