BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Lake Superior State hockey team fell by a final score of 2-0 against the University of Vermont Catamounts in the final game of the 2019 Catamount Cup at the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vt. on Sunday, Dec. 29.
The Lakers would fall behind by a goal in the first period despite outshooting the Catamounts by a total of 14-7. Vermont forward Ace Cowans would collect a pass to tap the puck into the wide open Laker net with 1:30 left in the period to give the tournament host a 1-0 lead.
Lake Superior forward Louis Boudon was assessed a boarding penalty as the first period expired to give the Catamounts a full two minute power play to open the second period. The Lakers would kill off the penalty to keep the game within a goal.
Goalie Mareks Mitens would continue his strong play for the Lakers as he stopped Vermont forward Vlad Dzhioshvili on a breakaway with 10:28 left in the second.
The Lakers would go back on the power play at 10:08 after the Catamounts were called for interference. Led by the line of Hampus Eriksson, Brayden Gelsinger and Ashton Calder, the Lakers power play generated the team's best scoring chances up to that point in the game during the man advantage but were still unable to get the puck past Vermont's goaltender, Stefanos Lekkas.
At 15:44 of the second period, the Lakers came close to tying the game at one. Defenseman Will Riedell took a shot from the blue line that made its way towards Lekkas but failed to beat the Catamount goaltender. The puck was left to Lekkas' left just outside the post and was scooped up by Laker forward Yuki Miura. Miura collected the puck and attempted a wraparound that crossed the goal line but the on ice official had already whistled the play dead. A scrum between the two teams ensued following the play that resulted in numerous penalties, and ultimately, a two minute power play opportunity for Vermont.
The Lakers, led by Mitens who stopped five shots during the Vermont power play, would successfully kill off the penalty to close out the first forty minutes of play trailing by a goal.
In the final period of play, the Lakers were unable to find a way to get the puck past Lekkas, who recorded his second shutout in as many games and was named the Tournament's Most Valuable Player. Vermont would clinch the win with an empty net goal at 19:57 to put the game out of reach for the Lakers.
Mitens would finish the game with 26 saves, allowing one goal in the loss in another solid game in net for the Lakers. For the second straight game, the Lakers would outshoot their opponent with the game ending in a 31-28 shot advantage.
The Lakers will resume Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play next weekend in a series against Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, Jan. 4 and Sunday, Jan. 5. Saturday's game is set for a 9:00 p.m. EST start while Sunday's game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. EST puck drop.