SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — The Lake Superior State Lakers ended a three-game skid on Saturday night with a 6-3 win over the Northern Michigan Wildcats in CCHA action.
The win came on the heels of a 2-1 loss on Friday night to the Wildcats.
The Lakers opened up a 3-0 lead through the first 20 minutes, chasing Northern Michigan goaltender Reid Ellingson from the game.
Kyle Haines opened the scoring with a shot from the high slot through a crowd in close at 8:10. Dan Radke doubled the lead at 16:20 when he picked up a loose puck at the Northern Michigan blue line, skated into the slot, and beat Ellingson low stick side through some traffic in close. Just 13 seconds later, Kyle Jean capped off the Lakers’ scoring when he converted a loose puck in a scramble in close on what would ultimately end Ellingson’s night.
Ellingson stopped nine of 12 shots before being pulled in favor of Coreau, who stopped 37 shots in Friday’s victory.
Coreau and Lakers goaltender Kevin Kapalka were busy in the second period, both being forced to come up with some important saves to keep the game at 3-0 heading into the third period.
Northern Michigan battled all the way back in the third period to tie the game at three. Matt Thurber got Northern Michigan on the board at 4:16 when he converted a pass from Austin Handley. Wade Epp cut the Lake State lead to one at 9:26 when his shot from the left circle found its way through a maze of players and past Kapalka. Kyle Follmer then proceeded to tie the game when his point shot snuck past Kapalka five-hole at 14:50.
Domenic Monardo then scored his first of two goals 44 seconds after Follmer’s tying goal to give the Lakers a 4-3 lead when he beat Coreau high glove-side up under the crossbar. Monardo then gave the Lakers a two-goal cushion at 16:30 while Jean sealed the win in the final minute, scoring into an empty net.
“We had a really good second period, in the third the first goal they got, we fell asleep,” said Lakers coach Jim Roque. “We had two defensemen in front of the net and (Thurber) got behind us and it gives them life. That’s what happens. (Northern) wasn’t going to quit. They played hard.”
Said Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle, “In the second period, we started to control the play a little more and get some shots. In the third period, we come back and make it 3-3 and are all over them and then we had a couple of breakdowns and Lake State made plays on them.”
Kapalka ended the night with a season-high 44 saves. Coreau stopped 18 shots after entering the game for Ellingson.
“Kapalka played pretty good tonight,” said Roque. “I know the third goal, he’d like to have it back, but he made some big saves when we needed him. He needed that (the high shot total). You don’t like to give up that many, but he needed it. It was good for him tonight to have to be leaned on.”
The Wildcats entered Saturday night with just one conference win on the road, compared to four wins on home ice. Following Friday’s loss, the Lakers had lost three straight conference games and four of five against CCHA opponents.
The Lakers record improves to 7-6-1-1 (11-7-2 overall) and moves them into fourth in the CCHA standings, while Northern Michigan falls to 5-6-3-2 (8-7-3 overall). They drop into a tie with Michigan State, who tied Michigan on Saturday night and picked up a shootout victory over the Wolverines.