SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Lake Superior State hockey team closed out the non-conference portion of the 2020-21 season with a 3-2 win over the Alabama Huntsville Chargers in the closing game of a series on Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. All three Laker goaltenders played in the game with freshman Ethan Langenegger earning his first career win while Miroslav Mucha scored the game winning goal, the first of his career to propel the Lakers to victory.
The game was dominated by special teams play from the very start, as the first penalty of the game was called just 1:31 into the opening period of action. The Lakers had the first man advantage in the game but were unable to capitalize on power play despite a number of chances and a lot of zone time.
Later in the first period, the Lakers were awarded a penalty shot after Yuki Miura was tripped on a breakaway. Miura, one of the Lakers most gifted offensive players, took the penalty shot for the Lakers but was denied by Chargers goaltender, Derek Krall to keep the game scoreless at 13:09.
Junior forward Ashton Calder, the Lakers leading scorer, netted his fourth goal of the season at 14:16 of the first period to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Calder carried the puck into the offensive zone before connecting a pass to Jacob Nordqvist. Nordqvist carried the puck down below the goal line and sent a cross ice pass to defenseman Lukas Kaelble, at the point. Kaelble fired a shot on goal that was stopped by Krall but the rebound darted out to Calder, who was at the doorstep. With Calder’s goal, the Lakers have now scored the opening goal in five straight games.
Before the close of the first period, the Lakers would extend their lead to 2-0 when Brandon Puricelli scored his second goal of the season in the final minute of the frame. Puricelli scored on a play very similar to the Lakers first goal of the game. After gaining possession of the offensive zone, the Lakers cycled the puck with Pete Veillette setting up Kaelble to take a shot on goal. Kaelble spun off the boards and fired a quick wrist shot that was stopped by Krall but the rebound found Puricelli in front of the crease. Puricelli beat Krall five hole to give the Lakers a two goal advantage after the first. With his second assist of the game, Kaelble extended his point streak to three games with five assists in that span.
At the start of the second period, sophomore goaltender Seth Eisele entered the game for the Lakers. Mareks Mitens, who played the first period, stopped all eight shots he faced.
The second period was filled with penalties as the two teams combined for nine minors. With so much time spent on special teams, the play struggled to find much of a rhythm. Despite all of the power play opportunities, the only goal scored in the frame was at even strength. Brian Scoville scored his first collegiate goal to cut the Lakers lead in half at 8:58.
To start the third period, the Lakers would have a third goaltender enter the game, freshman Ethan Langenegger in his second career appearance.
At 1:36 of the third period, Miroslav Mucha scored his second goal in as many games for the Lakers. The goal came as a direct result of a faceoff win from sophomore forward Dustin Manz, who finished the game with a strong game in the circle, winning 18 of the 24 draws he took. The clean faceoff win went directly back to Mucha, who fired a quick shot that beat Krall on his glove side. The goal would hold up as the game winner as well as Mucha’s first career game winning goal.
Less than two minutes later, the Chargers would once again bring the game within a goal as Frank Vitucci scored his first collegiate goal to make it a 3-2 game at 3:13 of the third period.
The game would end in a 3-2 final with Langenegger stopping three shots in the last twenty minutes to earn his first win of his collegiate career. The Laker goaltending trio combined for 17 saves in the game.