The Lake Superior State Lakers and the Western Michigan Broncos split a pair of games in Sault Ste. Marie, both earning valuable points in the tight CCHA race. Western squeaked out a 3-1 win on Friday, while LSSU held on for the 3-2 victory on Saturday.
On Friday night, the Broncos took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Dane Walters. Later in the period, they would go up 2-0 on a power play goal by Chase Balisy. The Lakers would cut the lead in half in the second period. Sophomore forward Kellan Lain notched a power play goal with assists going to sophomore forward Colin Campbell and senior defenseman Kyle Haines. Western would secure the win in the third period, taking advantage of the man advantage after a Bronco players Oscar winning performance sent Lane to the penalty box. Will Kessel was credited for the goal for the Broncos.
Sophomore goalie Kevin Kapalka made 22 saves for Lake State. The Lakers were 1-4 on the power play, while Western was 2-5.
Saturday night, the Broncos would take another early lead in the first period when Greg Squires shot found the back of the net. The Lakers would waste little time, though, tying the game at one with a power play goal by Campbell. Assists went to senior captain Fred Cassiani and sophomore forward Dan Radke. Cassiani would help the LSSU take a 2-1 lead in the second, when he set up freshman forward Stephan Perfetto on a perfectly executed 2-on-1 while playing short handed.
Lake State would take a 3-1 lead early in the third, when Radke cashed in on a power play goal of his own, assisted by Cassiani and Campbell. The Broncos would make things interesting, when a Balisy shot snuck through Kapalka and slid just over the goal line. Western hooked, held, slashed, and tackled the Lakers through out the final ten minutes, but were unable to net the equalizer. Kapalka made several key saves, and Haines would block a handful of shots for LSSU.
Kapalka ended the game with 39 saves for his 15th win of the season. Frank Slubowski made 16 saves in net for the Broncos.
It was a big night for Casianni and Haines, as LSSU celebrated Senior Night. Kyle Pobar and Brian Cooper were also honored in the post game ceremony.
The Lakers (16-13-5/11-11-4-4 CCHA) travel to Marquette next weekend to face the always tough Northern Michigan Wildcats in the regular season finale'.