The intensity ratchets up as the two teams get physical in this closely contested game, one that didn’t feel like just a regular season game.
The second game of the two game series between the Lakers and Warriors did not disappoint. Both teams came out flying, throwing their bodies around, and trying to block every shot. That shot blocking aspect would be a key element for today’s winner. This game had outstanding goaltending with timely saves, flashy offensive plays, chippiness before and after the whistle, and the obligatory referee calls/lack of calls.
The first period had 4 penalties, 2 on each team. Lake St’s Collin Saccoman whistled for Hitting from Behind @ 7:10 (questionable call) and Anthony Nellis for elbowing @ 12:24 (also questionable) while Merrimack was called for Hitting from Behind by Cole McBride @ 10:14. Michael Babcock was called for Interference @ 17:12 to round out the period’s penalty action. The Lakers would outshot the Warriors 10-6 in the first. Both goalies were on top of their games after sitting out their season openers. Merrimack’s Craig Pantano robbed Diego Cuglietta with a great slide across his crease to kick out a sure goal. Laker goalie Mareks Mitens would be tested but he got going in the last two periods.
Just :37 into the 2nd, the Lakers would strike for the games only goal when Max Humitz (2) would bang home a rebound past Pantano. Braydon Gelsinger would be credited with the lone assist. In the middle period Mitens would face 11 Warrior shots and turn them all back. The Lakers had 3 penalties called against them this period. Tyler Anderson@ 6:58 for charging, Steven Ruggiero @ 11:23 (Cross-Checking) and @ 15:46 Pierre-Luc Veillette for hooking (questionable). Lake St would block a ton of shots through out this game, it felt like this period all they did was put themselves in front of the puck. Lake Superior would block a total of 18 shots to Merrimack’s 5. It was a shooting gallery at times, and the combination of blocks and Mitens play is what kept the Lakers in this one. The overall play was back and forth with each team carrying the tempo. MC was called for 2 penalties this period. Simon Lööf for Kneeing @ 4:12 and Jordan Seyfert, Slashing @ 15:01. After 2 periods the shots on goal were tied at 17 apiece.
In the 3rd period it was an all out onslaught by Merrimack. They would outshot the Lakers 14-8, but the play of Mitens and the blocked shots would stymie the Warriors. :58 seconds in Anthony Nellis was called for a trip which would put Merrimack on the power play. LSSU has a pretty solid penalty kill, and they held form. Chase Gresock would have probably the best chance of solving Mitens all game. Gresock was all alone in front of Mitens with the puck and was unable to lift it off the ice as Mitens was on his behind. It was that kind of game for the Warriors. With the net empty to close out the period it was to be the Lakers shot blocking that sealed the win for them.
Overall this was a fantastic back and forth series. Both schools have small enrollments, with Merrimack having roughly 3600 and Lake Superior having around 2400. Its always great when two of the nation’s smaller programs can meet and provide the fans with outstanding games. The 1587 in attendance today were certainly treated to a classic. The two teams are scheduled to play again next season in Sault Ste. Marie at Taffy Abel Arena. Judging by the bouts of animosity the last two days it should continue in a years time.