SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — It’s almost a shame that the Christmas break has arrived for the Lake Superior State Lakers.
On Saturday night, the Lakers completed their second weekend sweep in a row with a 6-3 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats. With the win, the Lakers have won four straight overall and have not lost a game in regulation time since a 4-0 loss at Nebraska-Omaha on Nov. 13. Since then, the Lakers have six wins, an overtime loss and a pair of shootout losses.
“I thought we played really hard all weekend,” said Lakers’ coach Jim Roque. “We did a great job on the penalty kill. (Assistant coach Tim Christian) actually did all the work on the PK this week.”
Zac MacVoy led the Lakers’ offensive attack with a pair of goals while Will Acton added a goal and an assist. Chad Nehring, John Scrymgeour and Rick Schofield also scored in the win.
Lakers’ goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson stopped 28 shots in the win.
“I thought Brian was huge in the first period; he made two beautiful saves,” said Roque. “He only had five shots (in the period) but he had two big saves to keep it 2-0.”
Northern Michigan found themselves behind 3-0 by the midway point of the second period, but battled in the third period to make the game close. Jared Brown scored a pair of goals to cut the Lakers’ lead to 3-2. After Scrymgeour made it 4-2, T.J. Miller cut the lead back down to one with just over seven minutes remaining. The Lakers scored a pair of empty-net goals in the final minute to seal the win.
“You have to give (the Lakers) credit,” said Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle. “They played really hard. Both nights, they took the game away from us in the first period. Tonight, we came back hard in the third period, but it was too little too late.”
Goaltending was an issue in both losses for Northern Michigan. On Saturday night, Reid Ellingson got the start, but lasted just over half of the first period before being pulled in favor of Friday night’s starter, Brian Stewart. Ellingson finished his night with eight saves while Stewart finished the night with 27 saves.
“(Goaltending) hasn’t been an issue in the last six or seven (games), but it was a little bit of an issue this weekend,” said Kyle.
Kyle went on to say that aside from Brown, he wasn’t overly pleased with his players.
“I was glad to see Jared Brown get a couple tonight,” said Kyle. “We rely on him to score and he’s had a tough start. We need him to start putting some pucks in the net and he did that tonight. Hopefully that’s a good sign for us, but after that, not really.”
With the sweep, the Lakers improve their record to 10-7-3 (7-6-1 in conference). Northern Michigan’s record falls to 6-8-4 overall (5-6-3 conference record).
The Lakers are now off until the January, when they open 2010 with a road series against Robert Morris University on Jan. 2-3. Northern Michigan has one game left before breaking for Christmas. They take on Michigan Tech at home on Dec. 18.