SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — New head coach Frank Anzalone and Lake Superior State started off on the right foot Friday, jumping out to a 3-0 first-period lead over Lakehead University at the Taffy Abel Arena. Lake State went on to win its exhibition contest 5-2.
Seniors Chris McNamara and Will Magnuson both netted goals for the Lakers in the first. Magnuson’s, his first-ever collegiate goal, came with 16 seconds remaining in the period.
Freshman Bo Cheesman also scored his first collegiate goal off a pass from junior defenseman Kevin Wilson, as goaltender Scott Murray also an assist.
“Our performance was okay. We came out with a little bit of thunder, and they seemed flat,” said Anzalone. “We banged in a few early, but in the second period they took the game from us pretty good. They bottled us up and hit us pretty hard physically and we didn’t respond to that well.”
Indeed, Lakehead came on strong in the second period, scoring two power-play goals. The first goal came at 4:21 from Christian Cote, then at 17:01 Chris Schaffer scored to pull the Thunderwolves within a goal.
“For not having played in 13 years, and having only known each other for a month, I didn’t feel we played too badly,” said Lakehead coach Pete Belliveau of his recently-resurrected program.
“In the first period, we played well for 15 minutes. Then during the last five minutes we allowed two goals. In the second we came out pretty hard and scored two goals to make it 3-2. In the third, we were a little slow, a little tired and they brought the game to us.”
Chris Peterson helped the Lakers increase their lead when he scored at 1:17 in the third. Kyle Anderson and Wilson added assists on his goal.
“In the third period we came out a lot brisker, and a lot stronger mentally. They only had two shots on our net,” said Anzalone. “We finished up pretty strong. Right now everything is going be a struggle, but we showed some character and we responded in the third.”
At 7:53 Peterson returned the favor, adding the only assist on Wilson’s goal, which brought the score to 5-2.
Both teams racked up many penalties; Lakehead drew 11, while the Lakers picked up seven. Five of the game’s seven goals were scored on the power play.
Starting goaltender Murray stopped 21 shots during two periods of play, while freshman goaltender Terry Denike saw action in the third period and stopped three Lakehead shots.
“Overall I thought it was a good feeling-out game. It gave the fans a chance to get used to us again. We saw some good things, but we didn’t see them consistently and we just need to become more consistent,” said Anzalone.
The Lakers will play the USA Under-18 team Saturday night at home to wrap up the exhibition portion of their season.