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Special teams come through as Lakers sweep Northern Michigan

The Lakers have six wins and three ties through 10 games this season
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After their power play struggled prior to the Christmas break, it came through in a big way for the Lake Superior State Lakers in a pair of games against the Northern Michigan Wildcats.

The Lakers skated to a pair of wins over Northern Michigan on the road, picking up a 4-1 victory on Friday night before capping off the weekend with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday.

On Friday night, a pair of power play goals in the first period lifted the Lakers to a weekend-opening win over the Wildcats.

The Lakers jumped out to an early lead in the contest thanks to goals on the man advantage by juniors Pete Veillette and Mitch Oliver in the opening five minutes of the game.

In the opening minute, Veillette found himself in the slot and was stopped on his initial shot before beating NMU junior goaltender Nolan Kent on the rebound 43 seconds in. The goal was the Lakers first power play goal this season.

Oliver then made it 2-0 at 4:26 when he beat Kent from the top of the right faceoff circle stick side.

Sophomore forward Louis Boudon made it 3-0 Lakers as he beat Kent on a one-timer on a feed from Veillette at 5:35 of the second period.

Senior forward Joseph Nardi got Northern Michigan on the board just under six minutes into the third period.

With the Wildcats on the power play, Nardi beat Lakers senior netminder Mareks Mitens glove side to cut the Lake State lead to 3-1.

Lakers senior Hampus Eriksson capped off the scoring with an empty net goal with 1:41 to go in regulation to seal the win for the Lakers.

Mitens made 27 saves for Lake State while Kent stopped 24 shots.

In Saturday’s contest, the power play came through again as Boudon scored on the power play 26 seconds into overtime to give the Lakers the weekend sweep.

Boudon’s fourth goal of the season came on a rebound after Kent made the initial save on a shot by Oliver from the top of the left circle. Boudon, to the left of the NMU goal, jumped on a loose puck to give the Lakers the win in a game in which they trailed by a pair of goals heading into the third period.

NMU opened the scoring 7:43 into the game as Ty Readman got in behind the Laker defence and took a feed from David Keefer before beating Mitens low glove side to make it 1-0.

Just under three minutes into the second period Alex Frye made it 2-0 Wildcats as he skated through the slot and redirected a pass from Joseph Nardi on the power play.

Lake State got on the board with a shorthanded marker 7:33 into the third period.

Veillette scored on a rebound after Lukas Kaelble tried to hit the junior forward with a pass only to have it deflect on goal off the skate of a Wildcats defender before ending up on Veillette’s stick.

Veillette then tied the game with 2:33 to go in regulation time when he scored on a rebound from the left faceoff circle to get the Lakers on even terms.

After being outshot by a 31-14 margin through two periods, Lake State outshot the Wildcats 16-3 in the third and 2-0 in the overtime period.

Mitens finished the night with 32 saves for the Lakers while Kent made 29 at the other end for NMU.

The sweep improves the Lakers overall record to 6-1-3 (win-loss-tie) as the team prepares to host Minnesota State next weekend for a pair of gamers at home.

The weekend series begins on Friday night at Taffy Abel Arena.

Brad Coccimiglio

About the Author: Brad Coccimiglio

A graduate of Loyalist College’s Sports Journalism program, Brad Coccimiglio’s work has appeared in The Hockey News as well as online at in addition to regular freelance work with SooToday before joining the team full time.
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