SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The Lake Superior State hockey team lost to the No. 2 University of Denver Pioneers on Friday, Oct. 11 by a score of 3-1 at Taffy Abel Arena. The Lakers record sits at 2-1-0 overall through the first three games of the season while Denver holds a 3-0-0 record following the game.
The Lakers held a 1-0 lead over the Pioneers at the end of the first period, thanks to a strong defensive effort led by junior netminder Mareks Mitens (Ventspils, Latvia) and the Lakers penalty killers. Mitens would make his first big stop of the game at 12:15 of the first on a rush from Denver forward Cole Guttman. Denver's first power play of the contest came at 11:07 when senior Bryan Basilico (Macomb, Mich.) was called for tripping. Laker junior forward Alex Ambrosio (Burnaby, B.C.) would force the puck out of the Lakers zone and eventually find sophomore Ashton Calder (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) open on an odd man rush. Calder, who drew a penalty on the play, fired the puck over the shoulder of Denver freshman goalie Magnus Chrona to put the Lakers ahead. The goal was Calder's first of the 2019-20 season and his first career shorthanded goal. Ambrosio's assist was his first of the season.
In the second period, the Lakers would continue to put pressure on Denver but could not add on to their lead. Senior forward Max Humitz (Livonia, Mich.) had a great opportunity as he collected the puck in the slot but his shot went high. Before the period ended, the Pioneers would even the score at 18:20. Ian Mitchell netted the goal for Denver after a cross ice pass from Emilio Pettersen.
At 7:15 of the third period, Pettersen netted the game's eventual game winner for the Pioneers. Denver added to their lead with 1:04 remaining in the game as Jaakko Heikkinen netted the game's final goal.
The Lakers penalty kill went a perfect five-for-five in the game while also notching a shorthanded goal. Lake Superior had three power play opportunities in the game but were not able to score on the man advantage.
Mitens made 27 saves in the game including a point blank shot by Tyson McLellan in the last minute of the first period and made a number of great saves during a late second period penalty kill. Nine of the saves Mitens made in the game were during Pioneers power plays. Chrona stopped 23 shots by the Lakers in the win for Denver.
The Lakers and Pioneers will close out the Great Lake State Weekend series tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. at Taffy Abel Arena.