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Lakers Defeat U.S. National Under-18 Team 7-3

The Lakers celebrate Collin Saccoman's second goal on Sunday.

Hear from Head Coach Damon Whitten

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Five different Lakers scored as Lake Superior State hockey defeated the U.S. National Under-18 Team 7-3 in an exhibition game at USA Hockey Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Senior center Diego Cuglietta and junior defenseman Collin Saccoman scored two goals each for Lake State, while junior winger Max Humitz, junior center Ian Johnston and sophomore defenseman Tyler Anderson each scored one goal.

Lake Superior State scored the only goal of the first period to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission. At 10:38, Saccoman took a slap shot from the right point that Humitz deflected in past the U18s' goaltender Cameron Rowe. Saccoman and Cuglietta assisted on the play.

Lake State outscored the U18s 3-2 in the next 20 minutes of play to take a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. The U18s scored the first goal of the period at the 6:24 mark to tie the game at 1-1. Marshall Warren took a slap shot from the top of the left circle that found its way through senior goaltender Nick Kossoff's five hole. 

Saccoman responded for the Lakers as he scored the next two Laker goals to give them a lead they would not relinquish. Saccoman scored both goals from close range. His first goal, scored at 10:18, was assisted by Cuglietta and freshman forward Pete Veillette. Veilette took a wrist shot from the point that trickled through Rowe's five whole. The puck wound up near the left post. Cuglietta got a piece of the puck to send it into the crease where Saccoman sent it into the back of the net. Saccoman's second goal, which was scored at 12:21, also came on a rebound. Junior forward Brendan McKay took a wrist shot that was stopped. Saccoman won the battle for the loose puck and chipped the puck top shelf for a power-play marker.

Ryder Rolston then scored for the U18s on a wrist shot from close range at the 13:37 of the second period. Rolston's shot went in off the right post.  

Cuglietta concluded the scoring in the second period with an unassisted goal at 14:25. He stole a pass just inside the Laker blue line, skated down the ice on a breakaway, and blasted a slap shot from the slot that went top-right corner. 

In the third period, the Lakers outscored the U18s 3-1 for the 7-3 win. Johnston, deked the goalie and scored through the five hole at 8:12 to put the Lakers up 5-2. Cuglietta and sophomore defenseman William Riedell assisted on the play.  

After Cole Caufield scored past sophomore netminder Mareks Mitens, who had came on in relief of Kossoff about halfway through the second period, at 10:38 of the third period, Cuglietta scored an empty-net goal at 17:36 of the third period that made the score 6-3. Humitz assisted on the play.

The final Laker goal was scored at 19:36 of the third period to make the final score 7-3. On the power-play, Anderson took a slap shot from the right point that rose into the upper-right corner as the shot beat Alexandros Aslanidis, who had come on in relief of Rowe. 

In net for the Lakers, Kossoff made 15 saves on 17 opportunities and Mittens stopped 10 shots on 11 chances. Kossoff was credited with the win.

Rowe, who was the goalie of record, made 19 saves and allowed five goals for the U18s, while Aslanidis stopped five shots and surrendered one goal.

The Lakers held a 31-18 edge in shots on goal. 

Lake State finished 2-of-5 on the power play, while the U18s went 0-of-3 with the man advantage.

Lake Superior State competes in the Great Lakes Invitational at Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 30-31 in Detroit. The Lakers begin play at the GLI against Michigan State at 4 p.m. on Dec. 30.

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