It was a close game for 58 minutes, but in the end, the Lake Superior State Lakers hockey team suffered its first loss of the college hockey season on Saturday night.
The Bemidji State Beavers scored three times in the third period to beat the Lakers 4-1 Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault, Mich.
Senior forward Brendan Harris broke a 1-1 tie just past the midway point of the final period and added an empty net goal in the final minute of regulation time to pace the Beavers to the win.
Harris scored the eventual game-winning goal in the third when he beat Lakers senior goaltender Mareks Mitens from the left faceoff circle high glove side at 10:22 of the frame.
Harris and Aaron Miller then sealed the Bemidji State win in the final minute of action with empty net goals.
Bemidji State sophomore Kyle Looft opened the scoring with 1:48 to go in the opening period when his shot from the high slot handcuffed Mittens and came to rest in the crease behind the Lakers goaltender. It was eventually poked in during a scramble in the crease.
Junior forward Miroslav Mucha had the lone goal for the Lakers, beating Bemidji State senior goaltender Zach Driscoll with a shot from the right side of the slot stick side just over five minutes into the second period.
“We had passengers tonight,” Lakers coach Damon Whitten said in a post-game radio interview with YesFM.
Happy with the play of a small group of players, including seniors Hampus Eriksson, Lukas Kaelble and junior Ashton Calder, Whitten added that it wasn’t a big enough group that came through.
“You can’t have passengers at this level,” Whitten added. “Everything is so close and so competitive. We had some guys that didn’t play well enough tonight and you need more when you’re playing a good hockey team.”
Mittens, who was solid throughout, finished the night with 29 saves for the Lakers, which included 12 in the third period.
At the other end, Driscoll made 30 saves for Bemidji State.
The Lakers and Beavers will wrap up weekend action on Sunday in a 3:07 p.m. contest at Taffy Abel Arena.