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Lakers Edge Spartans 4-3 in Overtime Thriller

Diego Cuglietta scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against Michigan State.

DETROIT – Lake Superior State hockey overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat Michigan State 4-3 in overtime in the Great Lakes Invitational on Sunday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena. 

Senior center Diego Cuglietta scored twice, including the game winner in overtime.

The win, which is the first for the Lakers (10-6-1) in the Great Lakes Invitational since 1996, gives the Lakers 10 wins on the season — matching their win total from all of last season when they finished 10-22-4.

Lake Superior State fell behind Michigan State (6-10-1) 2-0 early in the game. Dennis Cesana scored the first goal of the game at 3:31 of the first period and Wojciech Stachowiak scored the second goal at the 10:13 mark. 

However, the Lakers would score the next three goals to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead. 

Senior winger Anthony Nellis scored the first Laker goal — unassisted — at 11:09 of the first period to make the score 2-1. He walked the puck out from the right boards along the top of the circle and scored on a wrist shot from the high slot. 

Cuglietta tied the game at 2-2 at 15:42 of the first period. Nellis fired a shot looking for a deflection and Cuglietta, stationed near the crease, redirected the puck into the net for a power-play goal. Junior defenseman Collin Saccoman and Nellis assisted on the play.

Junior winger Max Humitz gave the Lakers a 3-2 lead at 7:29 of the second period on a wraparound. Saccoman and sophomore defenseman Lukas Kaelble tallied assists on the play.

After the Spartans scored the only goal of the third period to force overtime, Cuglietta provided the overtime heroics with the game-winning goal at 3:05 to give the Lakers the 4-3 win. Freshman defenseman Jacob Nordqvist skated the puck to just behind the goal line to the right side of the net before passing to Cuglietta, who quickly fired the puck into the net before the goalie could react.

Senior netminder Nick Kossoff (8-2-1) made 29 saves for the Lakers, while John Lethemon (4-6-0) stopped 26 shots for the Spartans.

The Lakers went 1-of-3 on the power play and 3-of-3 on the penalty kill. 

With the win, Lake Superior State advances to the Great Lakes Invitational Championship Game against Michigan Tech at 2:30 p.m. on Monday at Little Ceasars Arena in Detroit. The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Detroit and FLOHOCKEY.TV. The radio broadcast is on 99.5 YES FM.  

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Listen to the postgame press conference below.