SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The Lake Superior State University hockey team opened the 2020-21 season with a 0-0 tie against the Michigan Tech Huskies on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie. The Lakers won the best-of-three shootout, with Yuki Miura and Ashton Calder scoring for the home team. Senior goaltender Mareks Mitens recorded his sixth career shutout as a Laker.
Because of scheduling adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the Lakers games this season will be played against WCHA opponents. The first seven games of the season, with the exception of the Dec. 2 game against Northern Michigan, will be considered non-conference for NCAA record purposes.
The two Upper Peninsula rivals took to the ice for the first time since February and the first few periods of game action saw the two teams begin to adjust back to the tempo of WCHA hockey. The Lakers outshot the Huskies, 7-5 in the opening period and Michigan Tech responded with a 10-7 shot advantage in the second period. Through the first forty minutes of play, there were no penalties called on either side of the puck.
In the third period, both teams had a number of quality chances to break the scoreless tie including a point blank shot by junior forward Miroslav Mucha that was saved by Huskies netminder Mark Sinclair and a shorthanded break from Tech's Logan Pietila that went high over Lakers goaltender Mareks Mitens. Regulation play would end in a scoreless tie and the teams would go straight to the three-on-three overtime period.
In the overtime frame, the Lakers best scoring opportunity came from senior forward Yuki Miura. Miura drove to the net, cutting in alone on Sinclair and the puck rolled just wide of the net. The five minute overtime session ended scoreless, forcing the game to a shootout.
Miura was the first shooter for Lakers and he capitalized on a skilled move in on Sinclair to put the home team ahead. The first MTU player was stopped by Mitens, and the Huskies goalie followed up with a save on the Lakers second shooter, junior defenseman Jacob Nordqvist. After the Huskies tied the shootout at one, the Lakers alternate captain, Ashton Calder, stuffed the puck in past Sinclair's left skate to regain the advantage. Mitens secured the shootout win with a stop of Tech's Trenton Bliss.
The game ended with the Huskies leading in shots, 28-21 and each goaltender recorded a shutout for their respective team. Mitens finished with 28 saves in his sixth career shutout as a Laker.
The Lakers and Huskies will close out the non-conference series tomorrow Sunday, Nov. 22 at 3:07 p.m. at the Taffy Abel Arena.