MARQUETTE, Mich. - The Lake Superior State hockey team defeated the Northern Michigan Wildcats by a final score of 4-1 in the first game of a non-conference series on Friday, Jan. 8 at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.
The Lakers got off to a strong start as the team broke their drought on the power play with a goal on the man advantage from junior forward Pete Veillette just :43 seconds into the game. Senior captain Lukas Kaelble got the puck along the boards and sent a pass to junior forward Ashton Calder who circled with the puck along the goal line before finding Veillette wide open in the slot. Veillette got off a quick shot that was stopped by Northern Michigan's goaltender, Nolan Kent but Veillette got to his own rebound to give the Lakers an early 1-0 lead.
On their second power play opportunity in the game, the Lakers would extend their lead to two goals as defenseman Mitchell Oliver scored his first career goal at 4:26 of the first period. Sophomore Louis Boudon won an offensive zone face-off, with the puck going straight back to Kaelble at the left point. Kaelble sent a pass across to Oliver, who fired a wrist shot that rang off the far post and into the Wildcats net for a 2-0 lead.
Lake Superior State took a three goal lead at 5:35 of the second period when Boudon scored only three seconds after a Laker power play expired. Calder carried the puck behind the Wildcat net and connected a pass to Veillette. Veillette held onto the puck for a second before sending the puck to Boudon who was all alone just outside the crease. The sophomore forward put the puck into the wide open net for a 3-0 Lakers lead.
As special teams continued to dominate the game, the third period saw the Lakers have to kill off a five minute major penalty to Jack Jeffers after he was called for a check from behind. The Lakers penalty kill, which has been very strong through the early stages of the season, allowed a goal as Joseph Nardi scored to put the Wildcats on the board, 3-1 at 5:55 of the third period.
The Lakers would successfully hold off Northern in the remainder of the game with Hampus Eriksson sealing the win with an empty net goal at 18:19 to regain the Lakers three goal lead. Yuki Miura recorded an assist on the game's final goal.
Both teams finished the game with 28 shots on goal with Mitens making 27 saves and Kent stopping 24 shots.
The Lakers will return to the ice next weekend in the team's final non-conference series of the season as they take on Northern Michigan in a pair of road games. The first game is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 8 at 7:07 p.m. at the Berry Events Center while the series closer is set for a 6:07 p.m. puck drop on Saturday, Jan. 9.