HOUGHTON, Mich. - Michigan Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes but could not hold on in a 5-3 loss to Lake Superior State in WCHA play at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena tonight. The Lakers scored three times in a three-minute span early in the second period to take control, then added an empty-net goal with a minute to go to put it away.
"We did a lot of really good things, but it almost came too easy at the start," said head coach Mel Pearson. "We got away from our game plan a little bit. They hung around and had a good beginning to the second period that put us on our heels. We've got to play a full 60 minutes."
Tech (3-7-1, 1-2-0 WCHA) started the game like it had each of its previous three contests-by scoring an early goal. Blake Hietala came up with a turnover behind the LSSU net and wrapped it far post for his third goal of the season just 1:25 into play.
Malcolm Gould made it 2-0 barely two minutes later as he tapped in a Brad Stebner pass from the left point to the back door. Mike Neville also assisted on the play by cleanly winning the faceoff to Stebner.
The teams skated into the second period without further scoring, but it wasn't far into the second.
LSSU (6-2-1, 2-1-0 WCHA) created a scramble at the goal, which saw Pheonix Copley make a save and Stebner clear a loose puck. The clearing attempt went right onto the stick of Matt Johnson, who beat a still-prone Copley. The goal came 2:27 into the period.
The visitors struck again on a rare penalty shot. Walker Hyland was called for hooking on a breakaway by Zach Sternberg. After a lengthy video review, Sternberg was awarded the penalty shot. He beat Copley with a backhand to tie the score 2-2 with 5:05 gone in the stanza.
Just 20 seconds after the penalty shot, Eric Drapluk took a drop pass and fired a wrist shot from atop the right circle that found the net.
The score remained 3-2 at the end of two periods of play, when Alex Petan got involved in a scrum after the horn had sounded. He was given a five-minute major for facemasking, and the Lakers made the power-play count.
Thirty-one seconds into the third period, LSSU extended its lead with a power-play goal.
Tech battled back with a power-play goal of its own with 4:08 left to play. Petan scored from the slot on a centering feed from Tanner Kero.
The Black and Gold put the extra attacker on the ice with 1:17 remaining, but could not hold possession in the offensive zone. Garret Clemment scored the empty-net marker with 1:02 remaining to close scoring.
Tech held a 36-25 advantage in shots on goal including a 14-6 edge in the third period. The Huskies were 1-for-7 on the power play while holding the Lakers to one goal on five chances.
The two teams, playing in their first conference series against each other since 1984, will wrap up their two-game set tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m.