KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Western Michigan extended Lake Superior State’s losing streak to nine games, winning 4-2 on Friday behind junior defenseman Mike Jarmuth’s game-winning goal at 4:46 of the third period and freshman goaltender Scott Foster’s 20 saves.
Jarmuth put a wrister from the high slot past LSSU sophomore netminder Matt Violin to earn his first goal of the season. The eighth-round draft pick of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks finished with 27 saves in defeat.
The Broncos were without the services of sophomore goaltender Mike Mantua, junior defenseman Brian Pasko, sophomore forward Jeremy Cheyne, sophomore forward Pat Dwyer, and freshman forward Vince Bellissimo for the game, all healthy scratches. WMU coach Jim Culhane sat Belissimo, Pasko, Cheyne and Dwyer because of class attendance issues, while Mantua missed a workout.
“One of our team rules, one of our core values, is that you go to school,” said Culhane. “If you don’t go to school, you don’t play. I tell them that when I recruit them and I tell them that at our fall meeting … With that adversity going in, I felt the team handled it really well, and I’m proud of the fact that we didn’t allow it to become a distraction.”
Despite missing these major contributors from the lineup, the scoring line of sophomore Trevor Cook, senior Shawn Rose and senior Brent Rumble filled the void by tallying five points combined. The line hooked up at 14:31 of the first period when the LSSU defense allowed Rumble to take as much time as necessary before putting a slapshot from the top of the right circle to give WMU a 2-1 lead.
The Lakers evened the score again at 17:10 of the first period. Senior forward Aaron Davis took a long pass at the blue line from junior Chris Peterson, split the WMU defenders, and drew Foster out of the net before tucking the puck inside the far post.
But the CCHA’s worst offense, averaging only one goal per game in eight conference tries coming into the weekend, couldn’t put another goal on the board. Jarmuth’s game winner and Cook’s goal at 6:59 of the third period finished out a 4-2 WMU victory.
The Lakers power play continues to struggle, going 0-for-6 on the night, extending their drought with the man advantage to 0-for-37 over the last seven games.
“I think we got better as the game progressed,” Culhane said. “We came out not sure of what to expect not having seen this LSSU team in over a year and in the second period we got ourselves into trouble with the penalties, but we’re fortunate we didn’t give anything up there. … We kept our game real simple: chip the puck along the boards and cycle the puck.”
LSSU head coach Frank Anzalone declined comment following the contest.
The Lakers took an early lead when senior forward Jeremy Bachusz put home a rebound off a shot from freshman forward Mike Adamek. The Lakers outshot a flat Bronco squard, 10-7, in the first period.
WMU’s first goal of the evening is one Violin definitely would want back. The sophomore came out of the net to play a routine dump-in, only to have the puck take a bad bounce off a partition and head straight to a waiting Nic Boileau, who cashed in easily on an open net at 8:48 of the first period to even the score at 1-1.
The two teams meet again Saturday in Kalamazoo.