The Northern Michigan Wildcats and Lake Superior State Lakers split a home-and-home series over the weekend, with each team winning on their home ice.
On Friday in Marquette, NMU blanked LSSU, 1-0. The lone goal was scored by forward Mike Santorelli, whose 26 goals are good for second in the country behind Niagara's Ted Cook. The game-winner came at a time when Northern (12-18-2 overall, 9-14-1 CCHA) had a 5-on-3 advantage. A Nick Sirota shot from point rattled around in front of the net until Santorelli's stick sent it floating over goaltender Jeff Jakaitis' head and into the goal.
“We were just kind of peppering the goalie,” Santorelli said. “I think a puck came through and I just shot it because you never know what will happen when you shoot the puck. Just so happened, it went in the net.”
NMU goaltender Bill Zaniboni picked up the sixth shutout of his career, stopping 26 LSSU shots along the way. At the other end of the ice, Jakaitis allowed only one goal on 20 shots.
“We lost a tough one tonight," LSSU head coach Jim Roque said.
Roque also credited the defensive play, only allowing 20 NMU shots. "If we have the same type of game tomorrow night, I’m more than happy with that,” he said.
Roque got his wish and on the following night Jakaitis faced only 24 shots and stopped 23 en route to a 2-1 Laker victory.
LSSU (15-12-3, 9-10-3) opened the scoring early on in the first period on a 5-on-3 advantage. Derek A. Smith scored 2:22 into the game to put the Lakers up by one, but NMU's Andrew Sarauer tied the game midway through the second frame. Nathan Perkovich put LSSU up for good at the 2:49 mark of the final period with his 11th marker of the season.
Zaniboni allowed two goals on 28 shots in the loss. In the season series, the Lakers beat the 'Cats three games to one and out-scored them by a margin of 9-4. Thus, the Father Cappo Cup returns to LSSU for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
LSSU now takes to the road where they will face the Miami RedHawks in a Thursday-Friday series.
NMU is also traveling this weekend, this time to Columbus to face-off against the Ohio State Buckeyes.