SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The Lake Superior State University hockey team closed out the first series of the program's 55th season with a 4-1 win over the Michigan Tech Huskies on Sunday, Nov. 22 at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Hampus Eriksson, Jack Jeffers, Ashton Calder and Pete Veillette scored the Laker goals in the team's first win of the season. Laker goaltenders Mareks Mitens and Seth Eisele combined for the win.
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 Lakers scored the first goal of the series, and the team's first goal of the season, when senior forward Hampus Eriksson scored at 12:20 of the first period. The play started when Yuki Miura sent the puck along the boards to connect the puck with Eriksson. Eriksson then connected a pass to Miroslav Mucha, who had a strong weekend for the Lakers. Mucha carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired a sharp angle shot towards Huskies netminder Mark Sinclair. Eriksson was able to locate the loose puck in the crease to bury the goal for a 1-0 LSSU lead.
Michigan Tech would tie the game at one at 14:33 of the second period with a power play goal from Eric Gotz. Trenton Bliss and Brenden Datema would earn the assists on the Huskies goal.
In the final period of play, the Lakers offense began to create higher quality scoring chances as the Lakers recorded the first six shots of the frame. Lake Superior State broke the tie at the 12:57 mark when junior forward Jack Jeffers, a transfer from Alabama-Huntsville, scored what would prove to be the game winning goal.
The play started in the Lakers defensive zone with Will Riedell gaining possession of the puck along the boards and finding sophomore forward Brandon Puricelli. Puricelli and Jeffers skated through the neutral zone with a give-and-go play before Jeffers would drive to the net and send the puck past his former teammate at UAH, Sinclair.
The Lakers expanded the lead to 3-1 when Ashton Calder scored a highlight reel goal. Calder skated in alone on Sinclair and brought the puck between his legs. The junior forward fired off a shot with the stick between his legs and the puck hit off the post before crossing the goal line. Pete Veillette tallied an assist on the play.
With nine seconds remaining in the period, Veillette netted an empty net goal to put the Lakers ahead 4-1. Calder and Louis Boudon assisted on the goal.
The Lakers finished the game outshooting the Huskies by a total of 25-21.
Mareks Mitens played the first two periods for the Lakers stopping 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the game. Sophomore goaltender Seth Eisele started the third period for the Lakers and would stop all of the seven shots he faced to earn his first collegiate win in his first appearance in goal as a Laker.
Sinclair stopped 21 shots in the game.
The Lakers will return to the ice for a single non-conference game against the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The game is scheduled for a 7:07 p.m. start at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.