MANKATO, Minn. — Fourth-seeded Lake Superior State hockey dropped the opening game of a best-of-three Western Collegiate Hockey Association Semifinals series 2-1 at top-seeded Minnesota State on Friday night at Verizon Center.
Senior center Diego Cuglietta got Lake Superior State (23-12-2) on the scoreboard first with his NCAA-leading 25th goal of the season — assisted by junior forward Max Humitz and senior defenseman Steven Ruggiero, at 1:37 of the first period. On the rush, Cuglietta snapped a wrist shot that beat Minnesota State's netminder Dryden McKay (22-6-2) glove side. However, the Mavericks responded with two goals, within just over one minute of each other, later in the first period. Charlie Gerard scored the tying goal at the 6:18 mark and Walker Duehr scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 7:20.
The Lakers, who only had three shots on goal in the first period, had nine shots on goal in both the second and third periods, but they were unable to score again. Senior center Gage Torrel came close to tying the game when he sent a shot off the post in the second period. With time running out in the third period, the Lakers' pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but their comeback attempt came up short with the final score 2-1 in favor of the Mavericks.
The Lakers were outshot 31-21 in the game.
Senior netminder Nick Kossoff (17-7-2) made 29 saves on the night, including a save on a penalty shot attempt by Gerard. McKay made 20 saves for the Mavericks.
With his goal, Cuglietta reached 50 career goals and 100 career points (50-50--100). He is the first Laker to reach 100 career points since Domenic Monardo (49-52--101), who was a member of the Lakers from 2009-13.
The Lakers will look to extend the best-of-three WCHA Semifinals series when they face the Mavericks in game two at 8:07 p.m. EDT on Saturday at Verizon Center.
Watch head coach Damon Whitten's postgame interview below.