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Lake Superior State hockey team opens season with win, tie vs. Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech’s Parker Saretsky skates around the Lake Superior State net during their game on Saturday at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech)

SAULT STE. MARIE — A pair of veteran goaltenders shut down their fellow skaters when Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State played to a scoreless tie to open the college hockey season in the WCHA on Saturday night at LSSU’s Taffy Abel Arena.

The host Lakers did win a shootout 2-1 in this nonconference game, which included a five-minute overtime. It marked the first game between two league teams this season, even though it doesn’t count in the league standings.

In the wrapup to their series also played in Sault Ste. Marie, LSSU prevailed 4-1 on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams will be playing Northern Michigan University in more nonconference games this week. The Lakers travel to Marquette for a 7:07 p.m. Wednesday game, while the Huskies come to the Berry Events Center at 7:07 p.m. Friday for the opener of a home-and-home series. Saturday’s game in Houghton will be at 6:07 p.m.

The MTU-NMU games are scheduled to be televised by Fox-U.P.

Michigan Tech's Eric Gotz winds up to take a shot at the Lake Superior State net during their game on Sunday at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech)

On Saturday, Mareks Mitens stopped 28 shots for LSSU, while Mark Sinclair turned away 21 shots for Michigan Tech. It was Sinclair’s first start for MTU, though it was his fourth career collegiate shutout, his most recent being in another scoreless tie when he was with Alabama-Huntsville but also in a game against the Lakers.

“Maybe it’s being closer to home in Ontario,” Sinclair said about his performance. “I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always liked playing in that arena. It’s the first game and I wanted to have a good game right off the bat. I thought at times I got a little sloppy and could’ve controlled a few rebounds better, but overall I think it went pretty well.”

The Huskies controlled play for most of the second half of the game.

“I was happy with the way the guys played,” Tech coach Joe Shawhan said. “I thought we got better as the game went on and played our best in the third period.”

In the shootout, Logan Pietila scored on Tech’s second chance, while Yuki Miura and Ashton Calder scored for the Lakers.

Tech’s last scoreless tie was on Nov. 10, 2006, against Minnesota-Duluth. The last time Tech had a tie in the season opener was October 6, 2000, with a 3-3 deadlock with Northern Michigan University.

On Sunday, Eric Gotz scored for MTU to tie the game in the second period before an three-goal onslaught by LSSU determined the outcome.

Hampus Eriksson scored with a little over 7 1/2 minutes left in the opening period for the Lakers before Gotz tied it 1-1 with a power play goal with around 5 1/2 minutes left in the second.

Then LSSU scored three times in the final 7:03 to wrap it up. With that amount of time left, Lake State’s Jack Jeffers scored the game winner, while Calder put in an insurance goal with 2:14 to go and Pete Veillette notched an empty-netter with nine seconds remaining.

Sinclair again made 21 saves, but this time let in three goals, while for the Lakers, Mitens stopped 13 in the first two periods and Seth Eisele made seven more saves in the third to get the goaltending win.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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