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Lakers fall 4-2 at Alaska

Photo Courtesy Kati Doty
Photo Courtesy Kati Doty

FAIRBANKS, Alaska –Lake Superior State fell 4-2 at Alaska on Friday in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series opener.

The Lakers (11-15-5, 8-12-5 WCHA) collected the game's first goal, 10:38 into play, on a one-timer scored by senior captain Gus Correale. The fifth goal of the season for Correale was set up by a cross-ice feed from sophomore Diego Cuglietta with the second assist going to freshman forward Brayden Gelsinger.

Backstopped by seven saves from starting goaltender Gordon Defiel in the first period, LSSU took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at the first intermission.

The Nanooks (9-18-3, 8-13-3 WCHA) stormed out of the intermission and tied the game with a goal by Tyler Cline, just 24 seconds into the second period.

55 seconds later, Kylar Hope found Colton Leiter with a centering pass to the slot, springing the freshman forward to give UAF their first lead of the night with a wrist shot over Defiel's glove.

Both teams were whistled for four penalties in the second period, giving the Lakers a pair of pair of power-play opportunities and the Nanooks one chance with the man-advantage.

Alaska struck early again to begin the third period. This time, Ryker Leer trailing on the play buried a rebound shot by Josh Erikson to widen the gap to 3-1 with 15:58 remaining in regulation.

A pair of minor infractions by LSSU freshman defenseman Collin Saccoman and UAF junior forward Tayler Munson, eight seconds apart, resulted in four-on-four play with 13:31 remaining.

With just nine seconds of penalty time to Saccoman remaining, Marcus Basara delivered the Nanooks' fourth goal of the night while falling to the ice to give UAF a three-goal lead and effectively ended Defiel's night. Sophomore netminder Nick Kossoff replaced Defiel following the goal by Basara and finished with five saves in 9:16 minutes of relief.

Defiel played just over 48 minutes in net and made 25 saves on 29 shots by the Nanooks.

LSSU responded with 10:10 remaining in regulation with a goal by Bryan Basilico, assisted by Sccoman and Kossoff. The goal was the second of the season for the freshman forward and Saccoman tallied his 11th assist of the season and Kossoff picked up his second career assist and first of the season.

The Lakers later pulled Kossoff in favor of the extra attacker with 5:07 remaining in regulation following coincidental penalties to Saccoman and Tayler Munson but had to send Kossoff back into the net with 3:05 remaining following a tripping call against J.T. Henke.

The Nanooks finished with six power-play opportunities on the night and the Lakers received three power-play attempts in the game. Neither team found the back of the net with the man advantage.

The loss drops the Lakers into a tie for seventh place in the WCHA standings with Northern Michigan, following a Wildcats loss at Minnesota State, 5-3, on Friday night.

With the win, the Nanooks leaped two points ahead of LSSU and NMU to claim sole possession of sixth place in the WCHA standings

The sides conclude the weekend series Saturday evening at 11:07 p.m. ET.