Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lakers Sweep Northern, Claim Fifth Place in CCHA

NMU's Greger Hanson (left) and LSSU's Zach Trotman (5) chase a loose puck into the corner during the third period of Saturday nights game at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Heading into the third period of the LSSU Lakers game against the NMU Wildcats Saturday night at Taffy Abel Arena it looked like it was going to be a carbon copy of the previous nights win by the home team Lakers. That was prior to the Wildcats turning up the heat and fighting back to within one with less than eight minutes to play.

LSSU senior forward Zac MacVoy put the Lakers on the scoreboard first beating NMU starting goaltender Reid Ellingson less than ten seconds into the first power play of the night. Concluding the first periods scoring junior forward Will Acton made it two nothing in favor of the home team on the second Laker power play opportunity.

LSSU's Chad Nehring (16) watches as NMU goaltender Brian Stewart (right) reaches for a rolling puck Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Reversing their roles from Friday night, NMU’s Ellingson, who got the starting nod in goal from Wildcats coach Walt Kyle, was replaced by senior Brian Stewart just over half way through the first period. Coach Kyle acknowledged that goaltending has been a concern for the Wildcats ”It’s been an issue for us” he said in post game interviews.

Lakers junior Rick Schofield picked up his eighteenth point of the year when he scored the only goal of the second period by either team.

NMU's Jared Brown (15) gets ready to backhand the puck past LSSU goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson (35) for one of his two third period goals Saturday night at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

NMU junior Jared Brown put the Wildcats on the board scoring three and a half minutes into the third period. He racked up his second of the night less than three minutes later when he beat Lakers goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson on a short handed breakaway narrowing the Lakers lead to one goal. A minute and a half later LSSU senior John Scrymgeour returned the favor by scoring shorthanded against NMU net minder Stewart.

LSSU's John Scrymgeour celebrates after scoring a shorthanded goal against NMU Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

Wildcats Senior T.J. Miller brought the score back to within one with 7:43 left to play but empty net goals by the Lakers Zac MacVoy and Chad Nehring put the game out of reach and into the win column for LSSU.

The last games before the holiday break, the weekend sweep of the Wildcats extends the Lakers current winning streak to four, their longest of the season and puts them into sole possession of fifth place in the CCHA standings. “I think it was a really big weekend” said Lakers head coach Jim Roque. “It’ll be crazy over there at the end of the year.” referring to the two games the Lakers will play at NMU in February.

LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson (right) slides to block a breakaway shot by NMU's Andrew Cherniwchan (23) Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Lakers next game will be against Robert Morris on January 2nd and 3rd before facing off against number fourteen Michigan State on January 8th and 9th.

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