SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The Lake Superior State hockey team fell by a final score of 4-3 in overtime after tying the game in dramatic fashion against the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Sunday, Feb. 7 at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) game.
For the second straight game, the Wildcats scored the first goal of the game as Andre Ghantous capitalized on a power play to give Northern Michigan a 1-0 lead at 1:53 of the period. Ghantous' goal, which was assisted by Hank Sorenson and Alex Frye, beat Laker goaltender Ethan Langenegger in his first career start in goal.
The Lakers tied the game at one at 10:19 of the first period when junior defenseman Jacob Nordqvist scored his first goal of the season. After forwards Chase Gamelin and Benito Posa were battling for the puck in front of Northern Michigan goaltender Rico DiMatteo, Gamelin would circle through the offensive zone before connecting a pass to Nordqvist, who skated in from the blue line to take the shot. Nordqvist's blast from the top of the circle went straight into the top corner of the Wildcat net to make it a 1-1 game.
After a scoreless second period, the Wildcats took back the lead exactly one minute into the third period. Northern's AJ Vanderbeck would score his seventh goal of the season to put the Wildcats ahead 2-1. Vanderbeck added his second goal of the game at 13:27 of the third period to put the Wildcats ahead by two goals.
Down by two goals with just over a minute left in the game, the Lakers took advantage of the extra skater with Langenegger pulled to bring the game within a goal as Will Riedell scored. Riedell's goal came off a long Laker possession in the NMU zone as the Lakers strong passing set up Riedell at the blue line to take the shot that beat DiMatteo. Riedell's goal was assisted by Hampus Eriksson and Miroslav Mucha with 1:01 left to play.
With just over 12 seconds remaining in regulation, the Lakers tied the game when Pete Veillette scored his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at three. After keeping the puck in the offensive zone, Mucha and Riedell would last touch the puck leading up to Veillette firing a sharp angle shot on goal. Veillette's shot hit off the post and redirected in off of a NMU player's skate to beat DiMatteo.
In the five minute overtime, the Wildcats scored on a goal that was waived off due to a hand pass and after a lengthy review, the goal was waived off. Northern Michigan's Vanderbeck would respond with a goal that stood at 3:54 of the extra frame to secure the win.
Langenegger finished the game with 22 saves while DiMatteo stopped 24 shots from the Lakers.
Despite the overtime loss, the Lakers still won the series season against the Wildcats as LSSU won the first three games. The Cappo Cup, the annual trophy presented to the winner of the Lake Superior State/Northern Michigan season series, was presented to the Lakers following the game by LSSU Director of Athletics Dr. David Paitson. The trophy will remain in Sault Ste. Marie for another year as the Lakers have won the Cappo Cup for the second straight year.
Next weekend, the Lakers will go back on the road to match up against the Bowling Green Falcons in a pair of WCHA games. The opening game of the series is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12 at 7:07 p.m. and the series will conclude on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7:07 p.m. Both games will be played at the Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio.