SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The No. 19 Lake Superior State Lakers recorded a 2-2 tie against the Bemidji State Beavers on Sunday, Jan. 3 in the closing game of a non-conference series at the Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The Lakers won the shootout in the seventh round on a goal from Miroslav Mucha. The Lakers came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period thanks to goals by Will Riedell and Ashton Calder recorded the two goals for LSSU while Mareks Mitens stopped 28 shots in the game.
For the second straight game, the Beavers scored the game’s first goal as Brendan Harris scored his third goal of the series to give Bemidji State a 1-0 lead at 8:48 of the first period. The goal, which was scored while the two teams were playing at four-on-four, was a result of the Beavers forcing a turnover in the offensive zone. Nick Cardelli connected a pass to Harris, who was open in the slot. Harris skated in on Laker goaltender Mareks Mitens and tucked the puck behind Mitens to take the game’s first lead.
At the 12:41 mark of the first period, Lakers sophomore defenseman Arvid Henrikson was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for checking from behind to give the Beavers a five-minute power play. The Lakers penalty killers, led by Mitens, had a strong game especially during the major penalty as the team was down two skaters for a portion of the five minutes.
Bemidji took a 2-0 lead at 11:59 of the second period on a goal scored by Cardelli. The Beavers cleared the puck out from their own zone with Tyler Kirkup and Lukas Sillinger each getting a piece of the puck before connecting with Cardelli. Cardelli gained the offensive zone all alone and skated in on Mitens with a shot that beat the LSSU netminder high on his glove side to extend the Beavers lead.
The Lakers would begin their comeback at 6:02 of the third period when Will Riedell got the Lakers on the board with his second goal of the season. The goal, which was scored one second after a Bemidji penalty expired, was a direct result of Laker possession while on the power play. Riedell held the puck inside the faceoff circle before sending a pass to senior forward Hampus Eriksson who was stationed behind the net. Eriksson connected a pass to Brandon Puricelli, and Puricelli would skate back around the net to set up Riedell for the wrist shot. Riedell’s shot rang off the net’s inner pipe but after a quick review by the officials the goal stood.
In the closing minutes of the third period, the Lakers offense was pressuring the Bemidji defense and had a number of quality chances in the second half of the period. With under two minutes remaining in regulation time, the Lakers pulled Mitens in favor of an extra skater. The Lakers would even the game at two at 18:23 of the period when Ashton Calder scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
With Riedell and Nordqvist manning the blue line, the two defenders exchanged a pair of passes to each other before Nordqvist sent a low shot towards Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll. As the shot made its way through traffic, Calder, who was providing a screen on the play, got a piece of the puck to send the redirection past Driscoll.
The Lakers and the Beavers would require an extra five minute overtime session to determine a winner but neither team was able to score in the period. The game officially ended as a 2-2 tie.
The two teams would take part in a best-of-three round shootout but the evenly matched game would require seven rounds before Mucha netted a goal to give the Lakers the shootout victory.
Mitens finished with 29 shots while Driscoll stopped 28 shots in the game.
The Lakers will return to the ice next weekend in the team’s final non-conference series of the season as they take on Northern Michigan in a pair of road games. The first game is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 8 at 7:07 p.m. at the Berry Events Center while the series closer is set for a 6:07 p.m. puck drop on Saturday, Jan. 9.