MARQUETTE, Mich. —- Lake Superior State coach Jim Roque didn’t like the word “disappointment” Saturday to describe the Lakers’ 5-1 loss to Northern Michigan at the Berry Events Center.
The word Roque turned to was “frustrated” after his team followed Friday’s 5-3 victory over the Wildcats in Marquette with a loss that not only cost the program the Father Cappo Cup, but it dropped the Lakers alone into ninth in the WCHA.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” Roque said. “I’m a little frustrated. We had some unbelievable chances. We had better chances than we did last night.
“It’s frustrating. For some reason, we can’t score on Saturday nights. Friday nights we score.
The Wildcats, who reclaimed eighth-place in the league, broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period to take a 3-1 lead in the game with two goals by senior forward Erik Higby that were separated by 66 seconds. Both of Higby’s goals, his eighth and ninth of the season, came on rebounds.
“The first one was on a broken play; it was a pass to the front and got kicked to me back door and I just kind of tapped it in,” Higby said about the first goal. “The other one, I thought the goalie had (the puck). I was coming around the net and it was just sitting there. I tapped that one in as well.
“It was a must-win and next week we have (Michigan) Tech, which is a huge rivalry as well. Hopefully we can do the same thing next weekend.”
NMU freshmen forwards John Siemer and Dominik Shine added the Cappo Cup clinching goals in the third period, with Siemer scoring his fifth goal and 10th point of the season 2:44 into the third on a delayed penalty.
Shine, who now has four goals and 11 points this year, scored at the 12:50 mark to make it a 5-1 hockey game.
“The third period, I think they had the puck in our zone twice and scored both times,” Roque said. “They were way better finishing off opportunities than we were.”
After playing what NMU coach Walt Kyle called one of the team’s worst defensive games on Friday, Kyle said the team had one of its better night defensively on Saturday if you take away the third period.
That was especially true in the second period, when NMU outshot the Lakers 10-4 in first six minutes after the intermission and 20-7 total in the period.
“I was really disappointed last night,” Kyle said. “I thought tonight we were much better. I’m really impressed with our senior leadership tonight. … We needed that. We need that every night.”
Northern (12-16-2 overall, 12-16-2 in WCHA) and LSSU (14-15-1, 10-12-0) traded power-play goals in the first period, with NMU senior Stephan Vigier tallying his 14th goal of the season 2:54 into the game.
Lake Superior State freshman Alex Globke, who leads the WCHA in scoring with 29 points, tied the game at one 40 seconds before intermission.
NMU redshirt freshman goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom finished with 31 saves for the Wildcats, while LSSU senior netminder Kevin Murdock made 28 saves.
“I thought (Dahlstrom) played outstanding in net and all the credit to him,” Roque said. “We need our goalie to win us a game like that one night like their guy won them a game tonight.”