SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The No. 20 Lake Superior State hockey team closed out the 2020-21 regular season with a 2-1 win over the Ferris State Bulldogs on Saturday, March 6 in the Taffy Abel Arena to secure the second seed in the WCHA standings. It marks the highest regular season finish for Lake Superior State since the 1995-96 season when the team finished tied for first place in the CCHA standings. Lake Superior State's highest finish in the WCHA regular season standings was fourth place in 2018-19.
The victory gives the Lakers 27 points in the WCHA standings, which ties LSSU with Bowling Green for the second place spot. The Lakers swept the season series against the Falcons to win the tiebreaker to earn the second seed in the 2021 WCHA Playoffs.
Junior forward Pete Veillette scored the game's first goal at 13:38 of the first period to give the Lakers a 1-0 lead. After a lengthy shift in the Bulldogs zone, Louis Boudon would control the puck along the end boards before connecting a pass to Ashton Calder. Calder skated into the shot from the slot and sent the puck towards Ferris State netminder Logan Stein. Veillette redirected the puck from the doorstep to give the Lakers the game's first lead.
At 5:12 of the second period, Ferris State's Antonio Venuto tied the game at one when he scored his third goal of the season.
Senior defenseman Will Riedell's power play goal scored at 15:51 of the second period would stand as the game winning goal. Brandon Puricelli circled with the puck through the offensive zone before getting off a quick shot that was blocked by a Bulldog skater. However, before Ferris State could clear the puck out of the zone, Laker forward Benito Posa grabbed the puck and found Riedell open at the top of the circle along the boards. Riedell skated in and got off the wrister that made its way through traffic and past Stein for a 2-1 lead.
In the final twenty minutes of play, the Lakers outshot the Bulldogs, 14-6, but could not find a way to beat Stein to cushion the lead. However, Mitens would stop all six shots he faced in the third period to lead the Lakers to the 2-1 victory.
The Lakers finished the game with a season-high 42 shots on goal. Ferris State totaled 17 shots in the game, and Mitens finished the game with 16 saves. In all but three of his 21 starts this season, Mitens has allowed two or fewer goals.
The 2021 WCHA Playoffs will begin next weekend and the Lakers, as a top four seed, will host the best-of-three first round series at the Taffy Abel Arena. Dates and times will be announced at a later date.