SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Lake Superior took advantage of a costly Alaska-Fairbanks game misconduct penalty to win its first home game of the season 6-2. At 4:32 in the first quarter, UAF leading scorer Kelly Czuy was given a game misconduct for checking from behind, and the Nanooks never recovered.
Bo Cheesman tallied the first goal of the game and his first of the season after banging in a rebound by forward Dominic Osman at 17:05 in the first.
The Lakers continued their offensive onslaught in the beginning of the second period when Trent Campbell put a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Nanook goaltender Wylie Rogers. After Jeff Rainville added a third goal at the 4:40 mark in the second, the Nanooks pulled Rogers in favor of senior Keith Bartusch.
The Lakers responded with a Nathan Ward goal 12 seconds later. UAF finally got on the board with a power-play goal by Jason Grinevitch at 8:57 in the second, taking advantage of a tired Laker penalty kill that missed their line change.
Rainville tallied his second goal of the game on a breakaway shot at 9:52 in the third. UAF answered with their second power play goal of the game forty-nine seconds later on a one-timer by Jared Sylvestre.
UAF (4-3-0 overall, 3-2-0 CCHA) suffered after they lost Czuy.
“It’s tough, because he’s such an important part of our team,” said UAF head coach Tavis MacMillan. “Did I think his penalty was deserving of a major penalty? Absolutely not.
“Kelly’s got to understand that there are certain situations that he puts himself in, and until he figures that out, he’s going to suffer and he’s going to hurt our team.”
For Lake Superior (2-5-0, 2-3-0 CCHA), Cheesman, Campbell and Rainville all tallied their first goals of the season on Friday night.
“We need those guys scoring,” said Laker coach Frank Anzalone. “It really good that Jeff [Rainville] and Bo [Cheesman] scored, not that they’ll score every night, and I don’t expect it. We have to do it by committee. We have to have everybody chipping in.”
The Lakers also got a strong outing from senior goaltender Matt Violin, who made his first start of the season.
“He made some good saves. He didn’t face a lot of grade ‘A’ [shots], but he faced a lot of crazy stuff around the net,” said Anzalone. “He showed some experience in there.”
The Lakers face off against the Nanooks for the second game of the series Saturday night at 7:35. The Nanooks will attempt to avoid being swept for the first time since January when they lost two games at Western Michigan, while the Lakers will be trying to record their first sweep since October 2002 when they took two from Mercyhurst.