K. Johnston/Eagle FI
(publication delayed due to techinacal difficulties)
Coming home after a five game exhibition series in Canada the Lake Superior State Lakers ice hockey squad started the second half of their CCHA season at home against the Michigan State Spartans.
A defensive battle for the first two periods of the Friday night opener at Taffy Abel arena didn’t stay that way in the third when the MSU offense opened up on Lakers starting goal tender Kevin Kapalka. The Spartan’s Daultan Leveille was the first to score beating Kapalka 5:45 into the final period. MSU’s Dean Chelios picked up his 3rd goal of the year just before the periods thirteen minute mark with Spartan Brett Perlini netting his 13th and 14th of the year both within the next four minutes.
The Lakers racked up 24 shots against MSU starting goaltender Will Yanakeff and while they came close even bouncing a few off the crossbar LSSU was unable to score on the freshman goaltender who earned the 4 - 0 shutout win.
The home town fans got a lot to cheer about on Saturday night with a Rocky Balboa performance from goalie Kevin Kapalka and a Laker offense that finally managed to find the back of the MSU net.
Michigan State’s Brock Shelgren drew first blood against the Lakers at the six minute mark of the first period. Laker team captain Rick Schofield missed on a shorthanded chance early but didn’t let a second opportunity get away as he split the MSU defensemen during a power play kill and put the puck past Will Yanakeff to even the score with an unassisted goal, his 8th of the year. MSU’s Derek Grant gave the Spartans back the lead 41 seconds later when he beat LSSU netminder Kapalka to close out the games first period scoring.
LSSU Nick McParland tied the score at 2 just before the 11:30 mark of the second period and despite having a man advantage for the last four minutes of regulation play when Lakers Dan Radke was tagged with a 5 minute hitting from behind penalty the Spartans were unable to reclaim the lead sending the game to an overtime period.
With the balance of the Radke penalty carrying over to the beginning of the 5 minute overtime and an additional two minutes of man advantage when LSSU’s Nick McParland was called for high sticking Laker goalie Kevin Kapalka stepped to the plate stopping three MSU shots to send the game to a shoot out to decide the winner.
Spartan head coach sent out Dean Chelios as his first shooter to challenge Kapalka but he was unable to score. LSSU’s Rick Schofield shot first for the Lakers and beat MSU’s Yanakeff. MSU’s Greg Wolfe evened the shootout score on the Spartans next attempt followed by a miss by the Lakers Domenic Monardo. MSU’s third shooter Brett Perlini failed to get the puck past Kapalka but during the save Kapalka dislocated his shoulder. After numerous attempts to pop it back into place Kapalka left the ice giving up the net to his backup Niels-Erik Ravn.
After a missed attempt by Laker Will Acton, Ravn was preparing to face MSU’s Joey Shean but was denied the chance when, with the roaring its approval of the more than 3300 spectators, Kapalka returned to the ice. Kapalka stopped Shean’s shot but re-dislocated his shoulder in the process forcing him back to the bench.
With an empty net behind him LSSU’s Ben Power ended the game when he scored on Yanakeff giving the Lakers the extra conference play point.
After the game, unhappy about the seven minutes of penalties his team received in the last ten minutes of play, Laker head coach Jim Roque was awarded a 5 minute Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty and a 10 minute Game Misconduct for his part in a heated discussion with officials.