SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — When the final buzzer sounded at the end of overtime, both teams vented their frustrations with a 10-player brawl after the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers (8-5-4, 6-1-1 CHA) came from behind to tie the Lake Superior Lakers (7-11-3, 6-6-2 CCHA), 3-3.
With one second left in the game, Charger center Jared Ross ran into Laker Alex Dunn, triggering a fight that led to the issuing of 30 penalties and 140 penalty minutes. All of the involved players were given two roughing minors and 10-minute misconducts. According to Charger head coach Doug Ross, all of the players will be eligible for Saturday night’s game.
Jared Ross, whose 5-9 stature hindered him from being a factor much of the night, came up big when the Chargers needed him. Just 3:29 into the third period, Ross deflected a slapshot from linemate Craig Bushey into the short side of the net to tie the game at 3.
“We started to get our feet moving in the third period,” said head coach Doug Ross, “And we were able to get the goal to hang right there with them.”
Ross’ goal was a carbon copy of the Chargers’ first goal of the game. Defenseman Mike Salekin whistled a shot in on net to winger Steve Canter, who deflected the puck over Laker keeper Matt Violin’s glove to put the Chargers up 1-0 halfway through the first period.
The Lakers responded toward the end of the first, when Colin Nicholson intercepted a pass in the neutral zone, walked in on net and put the puck past goaltender Craig Munroe to tally the Lakers’ third shorthanded goal of the year and tie the game at 1.
The Lakers continued to use their size to their advantage in the second, when Steve McJannet fed Bo Cheesman in the crease, who promptly put the puck in the unmanned net to make the score 2-1.
“In the first two periods their size bothered us a little bit,” said Doug Ross. “We had trouble handling them on the wall, and they were going to the net well.”
The Lakers made the game 3-1 when Jon Booras slid the puck under Munroe’s pads, even though many of the Charger players thought the puck didn’t cross the goal line. However, the Chargers came back the best way possible.
Just 21 seconds after Booras’ goal, Chris Martini lit the light to reduce the margin to 3-2 after being fed in the slot by Todd Bentley.
“We just tried to use our speed to our advantage,” said coach Ross. “We dropped an extra guy down low and tried to outnumber them.”
The two teams tangle again Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
• While this was the first meeting between the two squads, Doug Ross is no stranger to Sault Ste. Marie. As a freshman, he played for the Lakers in 1971-72 and won an NAIA championship.
• Matt Violin made his first start in over a month after being sidelined with a knee injury. He stopped 24 of 27 shots.
• With his goal, Jared Ross set a UAH record for most points by a center with 145. The goal, the 64th of his career, added to his record of most goals by a UAH center.
• The Lakers continue to struggle mightily on the power play, going an abysmal 0-26 in their last five games. It was also the third straight overtime game for the Lakers, who have amassed a 1-0-2 record in that span.