With little time to prepare, the Lake Superior State. Lakers men’s hockey team returned to action on Friday night against Adrian College.
Originally scheduled to play a home-and-home series against Ferris State this weekend, the games were cancelled due to a positive COVID-19 test in the Ferris State program on Wednesday.
Against Adrian on Friday, the Lakers jumped out to an early lead and skated to a 5-3 win over the Bulldogs to open the weekend series.
Lake State’s line of Miroslav Mucha, Hampus Eriksson, and Yuki Miura garnered praise from Whitten following the game
“They were the line that set the tone and they played the right way,” Whitten said post-game in an interview with YesFM. “We had some guys that didn’t want to play the right way consistently. We had that early lead and I think guys thought it was going to be a little easier than we knew it was going to be.
Whitten went on to further credit the line saying the trio “really led the way properly.”
“They got pucks deep. They were heavy (and played) a fairly simple game and they were rewarded,” Whitten added. “That line was our best line by far and some other guys have to play with more consistent, harder habits.”
The Lakers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early thanks to goals by Miura and defenceman Will Riedell in the opening minutes of the game.
Riedell opened the scoring 1:04 into the contest as he beat Adrian goaltender Nic Tallarico high short side from the left faceoff circle before Miura extended the lead at 5:04 as he deflected a point shot by Jacob Bengtsson.
Andrew Bellant got Adrian on the board at 9:18 of the opening period as he beat Lakers goaltender Mareks Mitens with a backhand from the left circle high glove side.
The Lakers restored the two-goal lead 1:09 into the second period when Jack Jeffers beat Tallarico from the left side of the slot on a shot that was deflected by a Bulldogs defenceman before beating the Adrian netminder.
Ryan Butler cut the Lakers lead back to one goal as he beat Mitens moments after a defensive-zone turnover by the Lakers at 12:41 of the second period.
Ashton Calder of Lake State and Sam Ruffin of Adrian traded goals late in the period to send the game into the final period with the Lakers up 4-3.
Brandon Puricelli capped off the scoring for Lake State 64 seconds into the third period to seal the Lakers win.
Tallarico, a former member of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Hearst Lumberjacks, was busy in goal for Adrian, stopping 34 shots.
Mitens stopped 21 shots at the other end for Lake State.
After a day off on Saturday, the two schools will meet again Sunday afternoon at Arrington Ice Arena in Adrian, Mich.