Mike Barrett, LSSULakers.com
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — A four point effort from senior forward Anthony Nellis propelled the Lake Superior State hockey team past 12th-ranked Michigan 5-2 in the first game of the Great Lake State Weekend (GLSW) series on Friday night.
Lake Superior (5-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) put together their most complete game of the young season by beating the Wolverines (3-3-0, 0-0-0 Big Ten) in their first visit to the Taffy Abel Arena since the dissolution of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) following the 2012-13 season.
The Wolverines got on the board first with a goal from Josh Norris. The Lakers shook it off, however, and tied the game when Nellis buried a puck that had been shot by junior forward Brendan McKay and rebounded off Michigan goaltender Hayden Lavigne.
A delayed penalty to Michigan's Nicholas Boka (which, coincidentally, contributed to the first goal), gave the Lakers a man advantage right after scoring. Nellis and junior forward Max Humitz set up fellow forward Brayden Gelsinger, who potted his 3rd goal of the season, sending the Lakers back to the dressing room up a goal after one period.
Lake Superior wasted no time adding to their lead when freshman Jacob Nordqvist earned his first collegiate goal just 39 seconds into the middle frame. Just over two minutes later, Humitz made the score 4-1 Lakers with a power play tally. Both goals were assisted by Lukas Kälble and (yet again) Nellis.
The Wolverines cut the Laker lead to 2 when Jake Slaker found the back of the net. Despite strong offensive zone pressure late in the period, Michigan could not beat senior netminder Nick Kossoff before the buzzer sounded.
Fairly even play was the story in the third period, as both teams have 9 shots on goal. Lake Superior appeared to go up 5-2 when Gelsinger rang the puck off the crossbar. A review confirmed the puck did not cross the line.
With just under 7 minutes to play, Lake Superior put the game out of reach. A shot from the blue line by junior defenseman Steven Ruggiero gave the Lakers a three goal lead. Ruggiero picked up the first goal of his collegiate career.
Both teams finished with 30 shots on goal. Kossoff picked up the victory by making 28 saves. Lavigne took the loss after coming up with 25 stops.
The series concludes tomorrow night when the teams face off again. Puck drop is at 7:07 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the Norris Center Ticket Office or at lssulakers.com/tickets.