SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — It has been roughly three years since the Lake Superior State Lakers had a winning streak this long.
In nonconference action on Saturday night, the Lakers picked up a 3-1 over the Union College Dutchmen, extending their current winning streak to five games. The winning streak is the longest the Lakers have strung together since posting a six-game winning streak between Dec. 4, 2009 and Jan. 3, 2010.
Lake State coach Jim Roque said following Saturday’s win that the weekend series was about the Lakers getting some bounces that they were able to take advantage of.
“I’m not sure that we’re two games better than Union, we just made a couple more plays than they did,” said Roque. “We got a great short-handed goal by Buddy tonight. We got a huge power-play goal in the third period to make it 2-1.”
After a scoreless opening period, Union’s Daniel Ciampini opened the scoring just over eight minutes into the middle frame, only to see Andrew Dommett get the Lakers back on even terms four minutes later. Senior forward Domenic Monardo gave the Lakers the lead with a power-play goal in the opening minute of the third period, and Buddy Robinson sealed the win with a short-handed marker midway through the final period.
Lakers goaltender Kevin Murdoch stopped 28 shots in the win, just one night after the Lakers received a solid performance from goaltender Kevin Kapalka in the opener.
“Our goaltending covers up a lot of things,” said Roque. “Our goaltending was excellent. We blocked shots, but our goalies also made some big saves. They always have been a big part of Lake State. Going back to all of the good years we had, we got phenomenal goaltending. We have to have it to have success.”
Roque said he plans to continue rotating his two goaltenders — Murdoch and Kevin Kapalka — for the time being, with the hope that one will emerge as the full-time starter in the second half of the season.
Colin Stevens got the start got Union and stopped 26 shots in the loss.
“It was one of those road trips where sometimes you’re just not going to find the back of the net,” said Union coach Rick Bennett. “We didn’t have any ‘pack of wolves’ goals around their net that you have to battle for. (Lake State) did a great job. They had a power-play goal, a short-handed goal and had seven goals this weekend. We only had two. You’re not going to win a series like that.”
Both teams return to action next weekend in their respective league play. Lake State (12-10-0-0: 7-7-0 CCHA) faces Central Collegiate Hockey Association rival Western Michigan on the road. Union (9-6-4: 3-2-3 ECAC) returns to Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference action next weekend with road games against Princeton and Quinnipac.