Lakers played like men

January 10, 2016

Damon Whitten does not make it a habit to go overboard when praising his young Lake Superior State Lakers but the second-year head coach was gushing with pride following a 1-0 overtime win over the visiting Bowling Green Falcons on Saturday night.

“I’m just really proud,” Whitten of the Lakers. “I thought we played like men, I thought we played hard, and I thought we certainly deserved to win that game.”

“For us to go earn it in overtime, I’m just so proud of the effort across the board,” continued Whitten. “We talked about not having any passengers and we didn’t have any passengers. They showed up and played like men. That’s a big win for us.”

In front of close to 1,700 fans at Taffy Abel Arena, three freshmen combined for the game winner just over a minute into OT to give the Lakers the stunning victory over second-place Bowling Green.

Forward Diego Cuglietta tallied his third goal of the season with assists from fellow freshmen Matt McArdle and Anthony Nellis and sophomore goalie Gordon Defiel made 25 saves for the shutout.

The win improves the Lakers record to 5-5-4 and 14 points, good for seventh place in the tight, 10-team Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

To be sure, the Lakers are only two points back of fifth-place Ferris State and Northern Michigan with two games in hand on both the Bulldogs and Wildcats and are just three points behind fourth-place Bemidji State with four games in hand on the Beavers.

Overall, the Lakers have a record of 8-12-4 on the season. The eight wins ties their win total from 2014-2015 with 14 games still to play in the 2015-2016 regular-season.

With the setback, Bowling Green remains in second place in the WCHA with 22 points from a 9-3-4 record.

The Lakers are home again next Saturday and Sunday when they play host to the eighth-place Alaska Anchorage Seawolves.

PHOTO: Lakers freshman Diego Cuglietta scored the game winner on Saturday night.

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