SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — For the second night in a row, Rick Schofield played the hero for the Lake Superior State Lakers.
After scoring the game winner on Friday night against Nebraska-Omaha, Schofield was at it again on Saturday. The junior right wing scored at 3:42 of overtime to give the Lakers a 5-4 victory and the weekend sweep of the Mavericks.
“We were really opportunistic tonight,” said Lakers’ coach Jim Roque. “I thought Nebraska played great in both games. They probably deserved a better fate than losing two games. When you’re playing well, things seem to go your way. Our guys have a lot of confidence.”
The Lakers jumped out to an early lead in the game, scoring three times on their first four shots, chasing Nebraska starter John Faulkner from the game. The Lakers opened the scoring in the game with goals on their opening two shots. Jeremie Dupont came in and proceeded to stop 20 of 22 shots the rest of the way.
“We battled back after giving up goals on three of the first four shots of the game; it’s pretty rattling,” said Mavericks’ coach Dean Blais. “Give our guys credit for battling back and tying the game. Give (Lake Superior) credit. They got it together and they were forechecking well. They found a way to win.”
Will Acton, who set up a pair of goals in the victory on Friday night, scored twice and set up a goal in the victory. Zac MacVoy and Domenic Monardo also scored for the Lakers in the victory.
“We played hard. but I don’t think we played our best hockey,” said Roque. “But if you’re going to have a good year, things are going to have to go your way. Sometimes you look back at the end of the year and things seemed to work out. Other years you look back and you couldn’t get a break.”
In addition to the strong performance from Acton, the Lakers received another strong performance from goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson. The junior goaltender stopped 40 shots to preserve the Lakers’ victory.
Matt Ambroz, Brandon Richardson, JJ Koehler and Jeric Agosta scored for the Mavericks in the loss. Joey Martin set up a pair of goals as well.
“I’m glad we got the four goals, but I’m not happy about giving up the five,” joked Blais. “At least we scored some goals after only scoring the one last night. We just don’t have those high-powered forwards that have the natural talent and have the knack for scoring. We’ve got to work for everything we get. That’s why you’ve got to go out and recruit them. You have to go out and find them, wherever they are.”
Of note, after struggling in the faceoff circle in Friday’s win, the Lakers showed a marked improvement on Saturday. The Lakers won 30 of 61 faceoffs in Saturday’s win, including 28 between Schofield, MacVoy and Fred Cassiani.
With the victory, the Lakers move into sole possession of fourth place in the CCHA standings. Battling Alaska for fourth, the Lakers gained a point after Alaska needed a shootout to get past Michigan on Saturday night.
The Lakers take their 9-7-2-1 record into an important home series next weekend as they host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Game time at the Taffy Abel Arena is 7:05 for both games. The Mavericks (6-10-2-1) return home to the Qwest Center Omaha next weekend to take on the Northern Michigan Wildcats. Puck drop is 7:35 on Friday night and 7:05 on Saturday night.