PITTSBURGH — Arizona State dominated play throughout the first two-plus periods, but came up short in the Three Rivers Classic consolation game, falling to the Lake Superior State Lakers, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.
Both teams were coming off lopsided shutouts in the opening night of the tournament, when No. 11 Providence held the Sun Devils to a 6-0 final before Robert Morris defeated the Lakers 5-0.
The Lakers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when senior forward J.T. Henke picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Sun Devils junior netminder Ryland Pashovitz at 1:10 of the first period. Arizona State responded two-and-a-half minutes later when Tyler Busch notched his seventh of the campaign. Brayden Gelsinger gave Lake Superior State the lead eight minutes later with a fantastic individual effort. Gelsinger picked up a rebound while absorbing a hit and deposited it the net for the game-winning goal.
The second saw the Sun Devils receive several opportunities on the power-play, only to come up empty on five tries through the first 40 minutes of play. Arizona State doubled up Lake Superior’s shots total through that period of time, but weren’t able to solve junior Nick Kossoff.
Ian Johnston extended the lead for the Lakers early in the third on a backhanded shot from just outside the crease. It was the first career goal for sophomore from Ottawa, Ontario. After back-to-back penalties to Kyle Chatham and Gelsinger, Arizona State received a 5-on-3 opportunity with seven minutes left, but were unable to capitalize.
“We played a really good game. We were sharp in every way but one; we just couldn’t put it in. That kid (Kossoff) played really well in net, hats off to him, he won the game for his team tonight and unfortunately we didn’t have the puck luck to get a win but our guys played really well.
“It’s going to come. The more we develop as a program, the more skill we’ll be able to bring in. We definitely have the heavy grit and the effort is there most nights from our guys, we just don’t have the finish yet. We had 18 ‘grade A’s to their six. I know our guys are upset because they felt like they deserved a better fate and they probably did but it’s certainly an effort we can build off of and if we continue to play that hard with that kind of pace, we’ll have some success.” — Arizona State head coach Greg Powers
“I liked that we bounced back. I thought that we played a lot more urgent in our game we had more desperation and toughness tonight. Obviously Nick Kossoff was the difference in that hockey game. It’s been a challenging season so far so it was important for us to get an important win tonight.” — Lake Superior State head coach Damon Whitten
“My thoughts going in was to just give us a chance to win and take it shot by shot so I thought I did that pretty well throughout the game but I give a lot of credit to our team. They blocked so many shots I wasn’t seeing and helped out a ton, it was just a good team win tonight.” — Lake Superior State goaltender Nick Kossoff
THE ROAD AHEAD
Arizona State heads off to Sin City to take part in the Las Vegas Invitational. The two-day tournament includes semifinal opponent Northern Michigan, Boston College and Michigan Tech. The Sun Devils return to Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe on Jan 12.
The Lakers return to Sault Ste. Marie for a four-game home stand against WCHA rivals Bemidji State (Jan. 5-6) and Ferris State (Jan. 12-13).