With playoff positioning still on the line, Saturday night was an important night for most Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams, including the Lake Superior State Lakers and Ferris State Bulldogs.
Needing points to clinch a playoff spot, Lake Superior State picked up two thanks to a shootout goal by Max Humitz against the Ferris State Bulldogs at Taffy Abel Arena on Saturday night.
After the two teams skated to a 1-1 tie through 65 minutes and then not getting a goal in the three-on-three overtime, Humitz beat Ferris State goaltender Darren Smith to get the Lakers the extra point.
Both coaches noted the playoff-type atmosphere in the contest.
“I wasn’t surprised that the games were tight,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “We’ve played them four times and they’ve all been very close games.”
“We’ve been in that mode for a while,” Lakers coach Damon Whitten said. “We went into Friday night at home in the last weekend of the regular season with a chance for home ice in the playoffs still. We were close. We’ve been in tight battles for a while here. That’s a blessing in some ways.”
Smith and his counterpart, Lake State’s Gordon Defiel, were solid in the game. Smith finished the night with 27 saves, while Defiel made 43.
“Darren Smith played really well for us,” Daniels said. “Both goalies were outstanding.”
Daniels noted the Bulldogs being unable to give Smith some offensive support in his starts this season.
“He’s had a very good year, but then you look at his record and you ask what’s going on,” Daniels said. “We don’t seem to give him the goal support.”
Whitten spoke of Defiel playing to the form expected of him.
“That’s the Gordy we need and that we saw all of last year,” Whitten said. “He put a really strong game together.”
Daniels said he felt the Bulldogs weren’t as sharp offensively on Saturday as they were in Friday night’s 6-4 victory over the Lakers.
“We weren’t quite clicking and weren’t handling pucks as well,” Daniels said. “For road games, we played two solid ones. I was happy with the effort.”
Bowling Green 2, Alabama Huntsville 0
Bowling Green goaltender Chris Neil made 38 saves, including 16 in the third period, as the Falcons blanked the Chargers, 2-0. Tyler Spezia and Sean Walker scored for Bowling Green. The win allowed Bowling Green to clinch home ice in the opening round of the playoffs.
Northern Michigan 5, at Michigan Tech 3
Gerard Hanson, Dominik Shine, and Darien Craighead had a goal and an assist each as Northern Michigan beat Michigan Tech, 5-3. Wildcats goaltender Atte Tolvanen made 38 saves. Philip Beaulieu assisted on three Northern Michigan goals.
Minnesota State 2, at Bemidji State 1
A pair of goals in the second period were the difference for Minnesota State in a narrow 2-1 win over the Beavers. Zach Stepan’s goal at 16:37 of the second period was the game-winner. Zeb Knutson had the other Mavericks’ goal. Gerry Fitzgerald had the lone goal for the Beavers.