FRASER, Mich. — Making his first start in more than a year, Wayne State junior goalie Brett Leone earned his first collegiate victory as the Warriors (8-8-3, 5-1-2 CHA) rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Lake Superior State, 4-2, at the Great Lakes Sports City. The victory was WSU’s first over a Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe: the Warriors had been 0-12-2 versus CCHA opponents.
“It’s a terrific win for us,” WSU head coach Bill Wilkinson said. “I give a lot of the credit to Leone. After the first goal, he kept his head in it and hung in there. And what can you say about our top line (Jason Durbin, Dusty Kingston and Jack Redwood)? They were outstanding.”
LSSU junior Aaron Davis got the ball rolling at 5:13 of the first period on a Laker man-advantage. Barry Pochmara fed Davis in front and Davis beat Leone between the pads for his fourth goal of the season. Lake Superior (6-13-0, 3-11-0 CCHA) made it a two-goal lead with 14 seconds left in the period playing 4-on-4. Freshman Bo Cheesman stripped Wayne State’s Max Starchenko in the WSU end, went in alone on Leone and popped the puck top shelf. It was Cheesman’s second goal on the year.
Kingston provided the only scoring in the second period. Redwood passed the puck up to Kingston along the boards and his low drive found its way past LSSU freshman netminder Terry Denike. The tally was Kingston’s team-leading tenth of the year.
Redwood tied the game at 2-all nine minutes into the third period. Kingston took the initial shot, but Denike couldn’t control the rebound and Redwood tapped in the loose puck for his fifth of the campaign.
Then, at 12:45, Durbin put WSU in front with a shorthanded goal. Kingston and Durbin were on a 2-on-1 break and Kingston took the shot that Denike stopped. But Durbin followed up the play and banged home the stray puck for a 3-2 WSU lead.
“We didn’t play too outlandish tonight,” Wilkinson said. “We stayed away from the long passes up the middle and kept to our defensive game. And the Durbin line accounted for all the goals, so I think we’ll keep that line intact.”
Redwood iced the game with an empty-netter at 19:04, his sixth goal on the year.
“It’s a great feeling,” beamed Leone after the game. “Not only to get my first win, but for our team to finally beat a CCHA team. The guys were wonderful in front of me tonight and I think we deserved to win. A win like this can do everything for our confidence.”
Leone made just 12 saves for the win.
Wilkinson said the game was a good test for his club.
“You always like to face teams that make you play with intensity,” he said. “Lake State just won a tournament last weekend and I thought maybe tonight they’d cycle the puck more, but give them time. (LSSU head coach) Frank (Anzalone)’s building that team back up to how they were in the ’80s, and I think in a short time they’ll be back up near the top.”
LSSU hopes to get untracked Saturday night while WSU hopes to stretch its unbeaten streak to seven games and stay above .500. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m.