SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — There’s a sense of finality as the Lake Superior State Lakers and No. 3 Miami RedHawks opened up a two-game series at Taffy Abel Arena on Friday night.
The weekend set marks the final Central Collegiate Hockey Association road trip for the RedHawks, who are at home to Ohio State next weekend to end the season. The Lakers meanwhile, opened their last home series, as they travel to Northern Michigan next weekend.
The RedHawks opened the series with a 5-4 win on Friday night, ending a short two-game winning streak the Lakers had entering the game.
“We started off slow, and they really took it to us in the first,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “We played well in the second period, and the third period kind of went back and fourth. We got a couple of bounces, but we got into some penalty trouble too. We were just opportunistic tonight.”
Said Lakers coach Jim Roque, “We played good for two periods. In the second period, (Miami) really took it to us and scored a couple of goals. To play Miami at home and score four goals, you have to win.”
After going up 1-0 on a goal by Jimmy Mullin early in the opening frame, the Lakers scored a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Dan Radke got the Lakers on the board at 5:07 to tie the game, and Zach Sternberg gave the Lakers the lead when his point shot found its way through Miami goaltender Jay Williams midway through the opening period.
The second period saw Miami score a pair of goals to take a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes. Shortly after Lakers starter Kevin Murdock made a pad stop on Cody Murphy, Riley Barber redirected a back-door feed from Blake Coleman to tie the game at two. Marc Hagel gave the RedHawks the lead at 12:03 when his shot beat Murdock five-hole.
In the opening 10 minutes of the third, the teams traded goals, as Domenic Monardo scored for the Lakers to tie the game, only to see Matthew Caito convert a point shot just over five minutes later to give Miami a 4-3 lead. Monardo got the Lakers back on even terms again when he deflected a Colin Campbell point shot during a Lakers five-on-three man advantage to tie the game at four with 10 minutes to play.
Hagel scored his second goal of the night at 13:34 of the third period to give the RedHawks a 5-4 lead, which they would hold onto as they picked up the win.