SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The Lake Superior State hockey team's three goal first period propelled the team to a 6-1 victory against the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Friday, Feb. 21 at the Taffy Abel Arena in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) contest.
The Lakers scored three straight goals in the opening period to hold a 3-0 lead over the Wildcats at the end of the first period. Max Humitz would net his team-leading 18th goal of the season at 7:47 as he tallied his 60th career goal as a Laker. The play began when Pete Veillette kept the puck in the offensive zone to prevent the Lakers from going offside on the play. Veillette found Louis Boudon who then wrapped a pass to Humitz. Humitz fired the shot past Wildcat goaltender Nolan Kent to give the Lakers a 1-0 advantage. With the goal, Humitz became the 22nd player in Laker history to record 60 career goals, and the first to reach the milestone since Sean Tallaire during the 1994-95 season.
Ashton Calder doubled the Lakers lead at 8:40 of the first period when he capped off a strong individual effort with his 11th goal of the season. After Hampus Eriksson fed a pass up the boards to spring Calder out of the zone, the Sault Ste. Marie native skated into the offensive zone and would toe drag the puck around the Wildcat defender to get the shot off for a 2-0 Lakers lead. The Wildcats would make a goaltending change following the goal from Calder, replacing Kent with John Hawthorne.
Humitz would net his second goal of the game and his 19th of the season at 18:35 of the first period. The play opened with the two Upper Peninsula rivals taking a faceoff in Northern's defensive zone. Boudon and the Wildcat centerman would be tied up on the draw, with the puck sitting on the dot before Veillette would skate in and grab the loose puck. Veillette sent a pass back to Humitz who fired a one timer to give the Lakers a three goal lead.
At 13:06 of the second period, the Lakers would close out a strong penalty kill with a shorthanded goal by senior forward Brendan McKay. With only a few seconds remaining on Tyer Anderson's tripping penalty, the Lakers would skate in on an odd man rush with McKay and Brayden Gelsinger. Gelsinger would get the initial shot on goal that Hawthorne made the save on but let out a big rebound that McKay would bury the puck into the open net for the 4-0 lead.
The Lakers special teams continued to provide a spark for the team in the second period as Veillette scored his 10th goal of the season while the Lakers were on the power play. With the team having solid movement of the puck on the man advantage, Lukas Kaelble and Dustin Manz were the last two Lakers to have possession of the puck before Veillette sent a blast in off the post to give the Lakers a 5-0 lead at 15:24.
In the third period, the Wildcats got on the board at 5:41 whe Luke Voltin scored his fifth goal of the season to make it a 5-1 game.
Before the end of the game, Bryan Basilico would score his first goal of the season at 13:32 of the third period after being set up by McKay. The senior forward would cap of the game's scoring, making it a 6-1 game.
The Lakers outshot the Wildcats by a final score of 33-26 including 15 shots in the first period. Mitens finished the game with 25 saves while the goaltending duo for the Wildcats combined for 27 saves in the game.
The Lakers and the Wildcats will wrap up their weekend, and season, series tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m. The game will include a special pre-game ceremony for the team's six seniors as well as the program's 12th annual Check.Slash.Survive game.