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No. 18 Lakers Drop Series Opener at Northern Michigan 4-2

Nick Kossoff making a save against Northern Michigan.

MARQUETTE, Mich. – No. 18 Lake Superior State hockey suffered a 4-2 setback to Northern Michigan on Friday night at Berry Events Center.

Lake Superior State (20-9-2, 15-8-2-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) and Northern Michigan (16-14-2, 15-8-2-0 WCHA) played to a 1-1 tie in the first 20 minutes of play. The Lakers had two power plays in the first 10 minutes of the game but were unable to score. The Wildcats converted on their first power play of the evening with Philip Beaulieu scoring at 14:55 of the period. However, the Lakers would tie the game a little over two minutes later as senior center Gage Torrel rocketed a one-timer past Atte Tolvanen (16-14-2) for his sixth goal of the season at 17:07 of the first period.

In the second period, Lake Superior State was outshot 17-7 and outscored 3-1 to make the score 4-2 at the second intermission. The Wildcats scored the first two goals of the period to take a 3-1 lead. Adam Rockwood and Joseph Nardi (shorthanded) scored at 5:25 and 8:34 respectively. However, junior winger Brayden Gelsinger made the score 3-2 with his ninth goal of the season at the 9:42 mark. On a 2-on-1 rush, Gelsinger took a pass across the front of the net from freshman winger Ashton Calder and beat Tolvanen. Northern Michigan finished up the scoring in the period, and the game, when Ty Readman scored at 9:43 of the period.

The Lakers tried to claw their way back into the game in the third period as they outshot the Wildcats 10-6 in the stanza. However, the Lakers were unable to score and the game ended with the score 4-2 in favor of the Wildcats. 

Senior goaltender Nick Kossoff (14-5-2) made 27 saves for Lake Superior State, while Tolvanen stopped 22 shots for Northern Michigan.

Lake Superior State was outshot 31-24 on the night.

The Lakers finished 0-of-3 on the power play and the Wildcats were 1-of-3. 

The Lakers and Wildcats are now tied for third place in the WCHA standings with 47 points each. 

Lake Superior State now trails Northern Michigan 2-1 in the Cappo Cup series. If the series ends tied, the tiebreaker is the most goals scored in the season series. As things stand, the Lakers trail 8-7 in goal scored in the series. The Lakers last won the Cappo Cup in 2015-16.

The Cappo Cup, which is awarded annually to the winner of the season series between Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State, was first awarded by the late Monsignor Louis Cappo in 1991, and has been awarded to the team that claims the season series every year since the 1994-95 season.

Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan conclude their two-game WCHA series on Saturday night at Berry Events Center. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. 

Listen to head coach Damon Whitten's postgame interview below.