Despite a pair of late goals by senior forward Andy Taranto, the Alaska hockey team fell short as Lake Superior State won 4-2 to earn a CCHA weekend split on Saturday night at the Carlson Center.
The Lakers (4-4-0, 2-2-0-0 CCHA) scored the game’s first three tallies and had some insurance with just over a minute to play with an empty-net goal while the Nanooks (4-3-1, 2-2-0-0 CCHA) scored twice in the latter part of the third stanza.
LSSU goaltender Kevin Murdock turned away a game-best 48 shots on 50 attempts to improve to 2-2-0 in net this season. Dan Radke accrued two goals while Domenic Monardo and Kevin Czuczman each had one goal and one assist. Eric Drapluck also had a multi-point night with a pair of helpers.
For the Nanooks, Taranto had two scores less than four minutes apart while senior forwards Adam Henderson and Jarret Granberg and junior defender Michael Quinn each tallied one assists. Sophomore Sean Cahill earned the loss between the pipes to drop to 2-1-1 after making 21 saves for the Blue and Gold.
Alaska had plenty of opportunities on the offensive end as it outshot Lake Superior 50-25 but the Lakers blocked 36 shots to Alaska’s eight.
LSSU took a 1-0 lead 7:26 into the contest when Monardo received the puck from up while on a power play and fired a shot that beat Cahill glove side. The lead doubled 7:12 into the second when Nick McParland took a shot that was initially saved by Cahill but Radke got the rebound and took a wrist shot for the score.
In the third, Lake Superior upped the advantage to three when a Nanook shot rebounded high and the Lakers went on a 3-on-1 break the other way. Bryce Schmitt dished it off to Czuczman who had spacing on the right side and his shot found the back of the net to give the visitors the 3-0 lead 3:09 into the final period.
Alaska finally got on the board 14:39 in when Quinn passed it to Granberg in the low left post and after his shot was turned away, Taranto got the rebound and tipped it to make it 3-1. The Nanooks got to within one with 1:32 to play when Henderson won the face off and Taranto’s blast beat Murdock to ignite the crowd and get the ‘Nooks to within 3-2.
The hosts went empty net after getting it in the attack zone, but LSSU forced the puck out and Radke easily skated the puck into the open net to give LSSU a two-goal lead and secure the win.
The Nanooks head to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State next Friday and Saturday and the puck drops at Value City Arena at 3:05 p.m. (AKST). The game can be heard live on KCBF 820 AM.