MARQUETTE, Mich. — Lake Superior State rallied from an early 2-0 deficit on Friday to beat Northern Michigan 5-3 in Game 1 of the two-game Father Cappo Cup series at the Berry Events Center.
Freshman forwards and linemates Ian Miller and Mitchell Nardi connected on the game-winning goal at 8:14 of the second period when Miller dished a pass from behind the net to Nardi, who was able to get between a Wildcats’ defender and goalie Mathias Dahlstrom for an easy goal.
Bryce Schmitt, with assists from Chris Ciotti and Zach Loesch, added an insurance goal for LSSU at 11:02 into the third period to drop the Wildcats to ninth and move the Lakers into a tie for seventh place with Bemidji State in the WCHA.
“Our guys stuck with it and we got our legs going finally,” LSSU coach Jim Roque said. “I thought we did a nice job offensively. We could have scored some more goals tonight. We missed some good chances.”
Northern took a 2-0 lead midway through the first period via goals by Reed Seckel and Mitch Jones.
LSSU’s Colin Campbell tipped in a shot by Eric Drapluk for a power-play goal at 11:26 of the third period and Gus Correale – the other linemate of Miller and Nardi who also assisted on the game-winner – tied the game at 2-2 before the first intermission.
It was a productive night for the Lakers’ freshmen class with Matt Johnson and Garret Clemment also assisting on a goal by Stephen Perfetto 2:05 into the second period.
“I’m not a big guy on having a freshman line, but we’ve put (Miller-Nardi-Correale) together the last month,” Roque said. “It’s been a good line for us, so hopefully they can keep it going.”
Northern Michigan outshot the Lakers 9-2 in the first 10 minutes on Friday and 17-11 in the first period.
NMU was outshot 12-4 initially in the second period, where it got a goal from senior captain Stephan Vigier 16 seconds after Perfetto’s goal before rebounding to only lose the period 13-10 on the shot chart.
Of the 13 shots on goal given up by NMU in the second period, nine were between the faceoff circles and seven came even with or below the faceoff dots. Two of those seven short-range shots got by Dahlstrom, who finished with 33 saves.
LSSU got off 20 total shots on goal between the faceoff circles on Friday with 16 coming even or below the faceoff dots. Four resulted in Lake Superior State goals.
“We were really poor defensively, no doubt about it,” NMU coach Walt Kyle said. “I thought our group of defenseman was brutal with the puck. The opportunities that [LSSU] got, a lot they got were because we were really inefficient with the puck.”
LSSU goaltender Kevin Murdock finished with 32 saves for the Lakers to get only his third win in nine decisions since fellow senior goaltender Kevin Kapalka went down with a groin injury in January.
“He made a huge save there at 4-3 off a faceoff,” Roque said. “Our guy got a stick broke there, Clemment, and [Murdock] made a huge save.
“He needed that though. He’s capable. He’s had a tough month, but he’s capable and was at times for us last year. We need him to play good.”