Mike Barrett, LSSULakers.com
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Taking on the Nipissing Lakers in exhibition play, the Lake Superior State men's hockey team kept its opponent off the scoreboard as long as possible without the end result being a shutout, as the home Lakers won 3-1.
Lake Superior (2-0-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) opened the scoring early, as junior forward Brayden Gelsinger knocked one in behind Nipissing goaltender Dominic Graham just 26 seconds into the game. Gelsinger, who had 8 goals and 10 assists last season, was aided by fellow junior forward Max Humitz and senior forward Diego Cuglietta — both of whom had two goals in the Lakers' previous series against Merrimack.
The second period saw the home team pick up two more goals with tallies by sophomore forward Yuki Miura and freshman forward Pierre-Luc Veillette. Miura, a native of Tokyo, is one of the first Japanese-born hockey players to lace up in the NCAA. Veillette, whose goal was on the power play, was named Rookie of the Week last week by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association for his two assists on the weekend.
With the contest being an exhibition, head coach Damon Whitten took advantage of being able to dress more players, and had most of his roster on the bench, ready to play. Sophomore goaltender Roman Bengert, who saw no game action last season due to NCAA regulations, started the third period in lieu of senior Nick Kossoff, who stopped all ten shots he faced in the first 40 minutes.
Nipissing ended the shutout bid with just 1.2 seconds left on the board as Brock Morrison found the back of the net for a power play goal. For the visiting Lakers, however, it was too little too late, as Lake Superior came away with the 3-1 win in the first of two games.
In taking the loss, Graham tallied up 24 saves on 27 shots. Bengert, in his lone period of action, stopped 9 of 10.
Both teams saw plenty of special teams play, especially in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Lake Superior was 1 for 7 while the Lakers from North Bay, Ontario were 1 for 8.
The two teams are back in action Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or online at lssulakers.com/tickets.