Lakers Score Three Unanswered in Third to Win 4-2
The Wildcats had the edge in shots and the faceoff circle, outshooting LSSU 32-26 and going 36 of 60 in the dot
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Northern Michigan University hockey team dropped game one of the Cappo Cup final by a score of 4-2 after Lake State scored three straight goals in the third period. The Wildcats fall to 12-15-0 overall and 8-11-0 against CCHA opponents, and the Lakers improve to 6-21-2 overall, and 5-15-1 against CCHA opponents. The Wildcats had a 2-1 lead halfway through the third period, but three unanswered LSSU goals fueled a Laker comeback. The Wildcats had the edge in shots and the faceoff circle, outshooting LSSU 32-26 and going 36 of 60 in the dot.
Joey Larson had a multi-point night (1G, 1A), giving him seven goals and 18 points on the year. Kristof Papp also scored, giving him nine on the season. Andre Ghantous, Michael Colella, and Artem Shlaine recorded assists. Goalie Beni Halasz stopped 22 of 26, a .846 save%. Both Harrison Roy and Dawson Tritt recorded two points (1G, 1A) on the evening, and Seth Eisele stopped 30 of 32 for a .938 save.
The Wildcats came out of the gate generating chances in the offensive zone, highlighted by a slick passing play from David Keefer and Andre Ghantous who found Michael Colella open in the slot, but failed to capitalize from in tight. A few minutes later, Artem Shlaine also had a look from in between the hash marks, but Eisele stood tall. The ‘Cats dominated in all stat categories early, outshooting LSSU 9-1 in shots and 5-0 in shots on target, and ahead 4-1 in the faceoff dot just over 1/4 into the first frame. The ‘Cats got an opportunity on a 5x3 man advantage and generated a lot of buzz and high-danger chances but failed to produce a goal.
The Lakers would return to full strength. Though the score remained tied after the first, the ‘Cats really drove play in the offensive zone and limited the Lakers to minimal opportunities. The ‘Cats generated a whopping 33 shots to the Laker’s six, connecting 14 on target to LSSU’s one. The ‘Cats remained dominant in the faceoff circle winning 12 of 17, with Artem Shlaine going 6/7 and David Keefer going 5/7. The middle frame started a little differently, as Lake State commanded a majority of the play. They outshot the ‘Cats 7-0 in the first five minutes, as well as scored the game’s first goal as a streaking forward snuck behind the ‘Cats defense and scored.
The Lakers almost scored again as Beni Halasz made the initial save, but the puck was trickling its way to the goal line behind him. Kristof Papp made a great play to get back defensively, but also swat the puck inches before it crossed the line and kept the game within one. The script did a complete 180 from the first as now the ‘Cats couldn’t get anything going, being outshot 15-0 in the first 11 minutes of the second period and LSSU generating a multitude of high-danger chances. Goalie Beni Halasz had to be sharp to keep his team within one, making a couple of 10-bell saves. The Wildcats responded well after the goal and were able to flip momentum back to their side and generated seven straight shots in a two-minute span, and outshot LSSU 11-4 in the last eight minutes of the period. The ‘Cats skated into the second recess down 0-1 while outshooting the opposition 20-17 through 40. They remained dominant in the faceoff circle winning 26 of 38 and only committing two penalties.
The ‘Cats got an early power play opportunity to start the third, Michael Colella made a great play to enter the zone and found Joey Larson speeding down the right wing who fired a shot under the bar and over the glove hand of Eisele to tie the game at one a piece. This was Larsons’ seventh goal of the year and his second goal in two games. Minutes later, Artem Shlaine made a great play to strip the puck from a defender behind the LSSU net and left it for Joey Larson who found Kristof Papp all alone in the slot and made no mistake to bury it, giving the ‘Cats their first lead of the evening. This was Papp’s ninth goal of the year and his second point in two games.
Two minutes later LSSU tied the game at two a piece on another breakaway opportunity. Play remained back and forth, but LSSU capitalized on an odd-man rush five minutes later and regained their lead. The Lakers would score again in the final minutes to extend their lead to 4-2. The final horn sounded and the game would end 4-2.
The Cats return to the ice for game two of the Cappo Cup finale Saturday at 6:07 p.m.
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