BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The Lake Superior State Lakers (1-4; 1-2 CCHA) notched their first win of the year with an impressive offensive display as they downed the Bowling Green Falcons, (2-1, 0-1 CCHA) 5-1 at the BG Ice Arena on Friday night.
For the Lakers, it was their most lopsided win against the Falcons since the 1997-1998 season.
The Lakers put on an impressive performance, playing a solid 60 minutes of hockey against a shorthanded Bowling Green Squad decimated by suspensions.
Earlier this week, seven Falcons were suspended indefinitely by head coach Scott Paluch after a story broke on Tuesday involving an April 2003 incident and a compromising photo. The players are scratched from Saturday’s lineup as well.
Final suspensions are indefinite, pending a decision from the campus judicial board.
“We played pretty well,” said LSSU coach Frank Anzalone. “BG played really hard early, but they got a little tired. [BG coach] Scott [Paluch] didn’t have all his men. We just had a little more depth.”
The Lakers dominated the game for much of the night. Lake Superior’s pesky trap, coupled with BG’s inability to stay out of the penalty box, was the story of the opening period of play, outshooting their opponents, 9-4.
The Falcons, whistled for six penalties in the period, had trouble putting together any offense.
“We took some bad penalties early on,” said Paluch. “We didn’t have the legs and we put ourselves in that situation.”
The Lakers’ defense puzzled the Falcons, while getting what they needed offensively in their largest margin of victory against the Falcons since 1997.
“We have to know how to do things when we don’t have the puck,” said Anzalone. “We have to do something and be smart defensively. It’s also good to see them get a few goals.”
The Lakers capitalized on the BG penalties early. Sophomore winger Derek R. Smith sent a pass to Kory Scoran off a faceoff win. Scoran blistered the shot from the right point past Sigalet for a 1-0 Lake Superior lead at the 9:21 mark of the period. Jon Booras added an assist on the play.
The Falcons tied the game 6:46 into the second period. CCHA Rookie of the Week Jonathon Matsumoto notched his third goal of his freshman campaign, a rebound on the doorstep which he tucked past Laker goalie Jeff Jakaitis to knot the game at one. Taylor Christie picked up the assist on the play.
The Lakers took the game over during the next nine minutes. Mike Adamek scored his second goal of the year at 10:09 to give the Lakers a 2-1 edge. Alex Dun and Steve McJannet assisted on the goal.
Lake Superior increased their lead to 3-1 less than a minute later. Junior center Nathan Ward picked up his second goal of the year, beating Sigalet glove side from between the circles. Matt Restoule and Trent Campbell added the helpers.
Ward added his second goal of the night from in front of the net just over four minutes later, giving Lake Superior a 4-1 cushion at the 15:56 mark of the second period. The goal was assisted by Dan Eves and Bo Cheesman.
“Our defensive zone really lost that game,” said Paluch. [LSSU] did a better job in front of their net than we did.”
Bowling Green had a chance to claw back into the game late in the second. Laker left winger Trent Campbell was ejected from the game after a checking from behind penalty and a five-minute major. However, the Lake State penalty kill was outstanding, holding the Falcons without a shot on goal for the first four and a half minutes of the power play.
Jakaitis was strong in goal for the Lakers, stopping 27 of 28 shots.
“[Jakaitis] still had to be good,” said Anzalone. “He stopped their best chances. He hasn’t gotten a break all year. He was 0-4. We’ve seen a lot of good goalies.”
The Lakers added another goal at the 3:08 mark of the third. Jon Booras found himself with the puck behind the Falcon goal. He skated to the front of the net, weaved around a pair of defenders, and stuffed the puck past Sigalet for his second goal of the year.
BG senior backstop Jordan Sigalet stopped 28 of the 33 shots he faced on the night.
The Lakers finished the night 1 of 7 on the power play, while Bowling Green was shut out in seven chances with the man advantage.
Both teams will face off again Saturday in a matinee. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m..