Michigan sweeps Lake Superior State, wins second game, 4-3

Saturday, October 19, 2019 - 9:43pm

Mel Pearson spent the week leading into the series against Lake Superior State stressing that his team needed to get out to an early lead.

The Lakers are a big, structured team and they are more than happy to sit back and defend if they get the lead early on. Michigan faced a similar style against Clarkson in the season-opening series, and the Golden Knights struck first both nights. Both nights, it allowed them to shut down the Wolverines’ chances the rest of the way and Clarkson came away with a tie and a win.

Friday night against Lake Superior, sophomore forward Nolan Moyle lit the lamp for Michigan just over five minutes into the game. And on Saturday, sophomore forward Jimmy Lambert did the same. This time, it took four minutes for the Wolverines to find twine, and they didn’t look back from there.

Michigan added two more goals in the opening period and one in the second to sweep Lake Superior State, 4-3.

“Great start, three-nothing off the get-go,” said Michigan coach Mel Pearson. “Much, much better start (than last night).”

Halfway through the first period, after Lambert opened the scoring, junior forward Jack Becker scored his second goal of the weekend when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it into the net behind goaltender Mareks Mitens.

And it didn’t take Becker long after that to get his second goal of the night and third on the season.

On the power play, a pass across the crease from freshman forward Johnny Beecher found Becker waiting on the other side of the net. After whiffing on his first attempt, Becker tapped the puck into the open net, and Mitens didn’t have a chance to make the save.

“The puck came across the crease really fast,” Becker said. “Beecher made a nice pass to me. I kind of just corralled the puck and then hit it out of the air. Trying to stick with it and it went in the net, so it felt good.”

After a back-and-forth start to the second period, the Lakers found twine on their first goal of the series when forward Hampus Eriksson poked a loose puck in the slot past sophomore goaltender Strauss Mann. And under a minute later, forward Louis Boudon made it a one-goal lead for Michigan as he cleaned up a rebound off a shot from defenseman Lukas Kaelble.

“I just don’t like when you get off to a great start like that and then you have that sag,” Pearson said. “You’re going to have moments in the game, but you have to make sure if one line has a tough shift, then the next line’s ready to go and get the momentum back.”

With all the momentum going toward the offensive zone for Lake Superior State, it seemed like the game would be tied before long. But a few shifts later, sophomore defenseman Jack Summers changed that.

At the 8:14 mark of the second period, shortly after Boudon’s goal, Summers beat Mitens high on his glove side to extend the Wolverines’ lead back to two.

“That was a huge goal,” Pearson said. “All the momentum was going the other way, and then Sums comes in and that’s a big, big goal. Good for him. He’s played well.”

To close the second stanza, freshman forward Eric Ciccolini was whistled for tripping, and the Lakers started the third period on the power play. Michigan got the kill, but three seconds after the power play ended, Kaelble fired a shot over Mann’s shoulder to bring the lead back to one. 

“I saw that third one, it was a heck of a shot and the guy made a good play,” Pearson said. “He’s a really good player.”

Chances came and went for both teams in the remainder of the period, but the score remained unchanged.

With just under two minutes left to play, Lake Superior State pulled Mitens for an extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game. A scramble in front of the net in the final seconds nearly gave the Lakers what they were looking for, but Michigan held off the attack.

In the end, the early lead Pearson preached all week made all the difference.