SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The Lake Superior State men's hockey team capped off Great Lake State Weekend with a 4-3 loss against the No. 2 University of Denver Pioneers on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Taffy Abel Arena.
For the second night in a row, the Lakers would hold a 1-0 lead in the first period as a result of an Ashton Calder (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) goal at 14:57. Calder's second goal of the season was set up by Max Humitz (Livionia, Mich.) as the pair found open ice through the neutral zone while the two teams were playing four-on-four. Calder skated into the Denver zone and got off the shot that would beat Denver netminder Magnus Chrona.
Denver would even the score before the end of the first period as defenseman Slava Demin fired a puck from outside the faceoff circle that made its way through traffic to beat Lakers goalie Mareks Mitens at 16:17.
The final minutes of the first period saw a number of great opportunities by the Lakers including an odd man rush by Calder and Humitz and a chance from Alex Ambrosio (Burnaby, B.C.) that would give the Lakers a power play.
In the second period, the fast-paced, physical play between the two teams continued. The Lakers spent a long shift in the Pioneers zone and though they could not beat Chrona, Dustin Manz (Vanderbilt, Mich.) drew a penalty to give the Lakers the man advantage.
Later in the period, Denver was given a power play opportunity that Bobby Brink would capitalize on to give the Pioneers the lead for the first time in the game. The Pioneers would extend their lead to 3-1 when Hank Crone collected a rebound and shot the puck past Mitens.
The Lakers offense continued to pressure Denver's defense in the third period. Humitz would fire a puck from the slot that beat Chrona but rang off the post to keep the game at 3-1.
Despite trailing by two goals headed into the final 10 minutes of play, the Lakers would show no quit as Humitz found a space between Chrona's glove and the post to put LSSU back within one goal. Humitz' third goal of the season was assisted by freshman Louis Boudon (Grenoble, France), his first collegiate point, and Willl Riedell (Greensboro, N.C.).
Exactly two minutes later, Manz scored his first goal as a Laker to even the game with five minutes left in regulation play. After taking the face-off in the Pioneers zone, Manz would collect the shot following a pass by from Collin Saccoman (Stillwater, Minn.) and send a shot on goal from the boards. The bad angle shot would beat Chrona and put the game at 3-3.
With :20 seconds left in the third period, the Pioneers would score to take back the lead. After a lengthy review from officials, the goal stood and Denver would win the game by a final score of 4-3.
The Lakers penalty killers went 2-for-3 in the game while the power play was unable to capitalize on four opportunities.
Mitens finished the game with a total of 25 saves, including 12 stops in the third period. Chrona would make 20 saves for the Pioneers in the win.
Next weekend the Lakers will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich. to play Michigan at the Yost Ice Arena. The series will open on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and close with a game at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19.