Having swept the visiting Bemidji State University Beavers on the weekend — the first such perfection under first-year head coach Damon Whitten — the Lake Superior State University Lakers have moved into Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff contention.
Backed by the goaltending of unheralded freshman Gordon Defiel, the 10th-seeded Lakers upended Bemidji State 1-0 and 4-2 to move to within two points of the eighth-and-final playoff spot in the 10-team WCHA.
Indeed, with a record of 5-13-0, the Lakers are only six points removed from fifth-place in the hotly-contested WCHA.
As Whitten begins to wash away the stains of futility left by the previous coaching staff, Defiel has been a saviour between the pipes — with the most saves of any Division 1 goalie in the United States of America this season.
Against Bemidji, Defiel made 44 saves in the 1-0 shutout and added 32 more in the 4-2 triumph.
Meanwhile, freshman forward Luke Sandler continued to make the most of his ice time with a pair of goals in the 4-2 win.
Sandler has played in only 11 games this season and now has three goals.
PHOTO: Laker forward Luke Sandler, in scoring position against Bemidji State on the weekend. (Photo by John Shibley.)