The Lake Superior State Lakers and Northern Michigan Wildcats split the weekend series, with NMU taking game one 2-1, and LSSU skating to a 6-3 victory on Saturday. The Lakers lead the Cappo Cup series 7 goals to 5. Lake State also celebrated their annual 'Pink In The Rink', and sported pink jerseys to help battle breast cancer.
Friday night, the Lakers beat Northern in just about every statistic except the one that really counnted: the scoreboard. Despite carrying the play throughout the game, and out-shooting the Wildcats 38-19, they dropped the 2-1 decision.
Scott Macaulay netted the first goal of the game for NMU in the first period. That goal stood until the third, when senior captain Fred Cassiani tied the game up for LSSU, with assists going to Domenic Monardo and Andrew Perrault.
Northern netted the game-winner just ten minutes later, when Stephen Vigier's shot found the back of the net. His goal was assisted by Dylan Walchuk and Austin Handley. Kevin Kapalka made 17 saves for Lake State, while Jared Coreau stopped 37 shots for NMU.
The Lakers were 0-3 on the power-play, and the Wildcats were 0-2.
Saturday night, the Lakers would score early and late, to secure the 6-3 win. Struggling to find the net on Friday, Lake State used the extra man to get a leg up on the 'Cats.
The Lakers opened the scoring early in the first on the power-play, when senior defenseman Kyle Haines' shot from the point beat Reid Ellingson. Assists went to sophomore forwards Kellan Lain and Colin Campbell.
LSSU added another power-play goal at 16:20 of the opening period. This time it was Dan Radke finding the net, on a goal assisted by Haines and Monardo. Just 13 seconds later, sophomore forward Kyle Jean made it 3-0, with a goal assted by Campbell and freshman defenseman Kevin Czuczman.
After a scoreless second period, the Lakers started to coast through the third, until the Wildcats made things very interesting.
NMU started it's comeback with a goal by Matt Thurber at 4:16 of the third period. The lone assist went to Austin Handley. The 'Cats made it a one goal game just five minutes later, as Wade Epp found the net with assists going to Justin Florek and Sault native Kory Kaunisto.
The Wildcats completed the comeback, when Kyle Follmer's shot snuck past Kapalka. Follmer's game-tying goal was assisted by Kaunisto.
This is when the Lakers decided to start playing hockey again. Forty seconds after the game was tied, Domenic Monardo snapped a shot under the crossbar to give Lake State back the lead. His goal was assited by Radke.
One minute after Monardo broke the tie, he lit the lamp once more with another slick goal, sending the Taffy Abel into a frenzy. His second goal was assisted by Ben Power and Zach Trotman. Jean would add an empty-netter, his second goal of the game assisted by Monardo, to secure the Laker win.
In net, Kapalka made a season high 44 saves for LSSU. NMU netminder Reid Ellingson made nine save in the first period, before being pulled. Coreau made 18 saves in the second and third periods, and took the loss. Lake State ended up 2-4 with the extra man, while the 'Cats were held 0-4.
The Lakers (11-7-2/7-6-1-1 CCHA) moved into fourth place in the CCHA, with NMU (8-7-3/5-6-3-2 CCHA) are only three points behind.
LSSU is off until after Christmas, when they play in a tournament hosted by Vermont December 29th and 30th.