March 5, 2017
HOUGHTON – A five-goal third period by Michigan Tech capped an 8-0 victory over Lake Superior State in Saturday's Western Collegiate Hockey Association Quarterfinals. The loss for the Lakers concludes the 2016-17 season while the Huskies now advance to a WCHA Semifinals series at home next weekend.
The Lakers (11-18-7, 8-13-7 WCHA) failed to register at least 20 shots on goal for the second straight night, registering just 16 total, despite six power-play opportunities in the game. The shutout loss marked just the second time the Lakers were held scoreless this season.
The Huskies (20-13-7, 15-7-6 WCHA) were backstopped by freshman Angus Redmond's fourth shutout of the season and propelled by a dominating offensive attack.
Senior Reid Sturos put the Huskies on the board first with an even-strength goal, 3:30 into the contest. Just over 15 minutes later, with 1:22 remaining in the first period, Joel L'Esperance tallied his first of two goals in the game with a power-play strike from Matt Roy and Mark Auk.
A shorthanded goal by Michael Neville midway through the second period gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead, assisted by Sturos and Shane Hanna. Neville's goal was the only addition to the score sheet in the second period as the teams headed to the intermission with MTU leading 3-0 and 20-9 in shots on goal.
Out of the break, Hanna added his second point of the night with a goal assisted by Neville and Roy. Both Neville and Roy added their second points of the game on the goal by Hanna.
Tech added a pair of goals inside of the final 10 minutes, separated by just 12 seconds as Auk scored on the power-play and Chris Leibinger joined the forecheck on the ensuing play and hammered home a feed from Gavin Gould.
Already leading 7-0, the Huskies capped the game with L'Esperance's second goal of the night with just 12 seconds remaining.
Junior goaltender Gordon Defiel, playing in his 99th and final game as a Laker, made 30 saves in the contest, including making 13 saves in the final period. Defiel's career at LSSU concludes with 2,962 saves to rank third all-time in school history and a .915 career save percentage.
Senior captain Gus Correale also concluded his career with the Lakers on Saturday, finishing with six goals and 12 points in 36 games this season. In 143 career games during his four seasons at LSSU, Correale totaled 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points.
The road seep in the best-of-three quarterfinals series marks the third season in a row the Lakers were defeated in the opening round of the WCHA Playoffs.