It was bound to happen. When the opportunity for that elusive first victory was in their grasp, the boys refused to let it go.
The Chargers beat Lake Superior State 2-1. Kyle Lysaght’s goal, his third of the season with 9:07 to go, was the game winner.
The Lakers fired away, as most opponents have, but the Chargers’ calling card these past few seasons — strong goaltending — kept them in the game. John Griggs stopped 35 of 36 shots, withstanding charges mostly in the first and third periods.
The Lakers began their barrage in the first period, and Griggs showed early he was on, stopping slapshots, wrist shots, and the occasional one-on-one.
The Chargers would get the bulk of their chances in the first toward the end of the period. Justin Cseter’s wrister in the slot of saved by Laker goalie Kevin Murdock. Murdock would also rob Alex Allen in the final moments of the first.
UAH would tighten the shooting lanes the Lakers enjoyed in the first period, while increasing the pressure in the Lake State zone.
However, it was a defensive lapse that led to the Lakers taking the first lead. Kelin Ainsworth picked off Lasse Uusivirta in the UAH zone, drove in on Griggs and scored with 4:21 left in the second.
The Chargers answered late in the period. With both teams a man down, UAH created a 3-on-1 break. Justin Cseter from the left side fired the puck past Murdock to tie the game at 1 for his first goal of the season. Michael Webley got the assist, his second of the year.
Lake State regained their aggressiveness early in the third on a power play, but Griggs was up to the task. Lakers had six of the first seven shots of the period, with Griggs pouncing on loose pucks and gloving just about anything from long range.
And finally, as the Chargers were crashing the net, Lysaght buried the winner, assisted by Cseter and Ben Reinhardt. And for the next few minutes, UAH skated with pep.
With five to go, Lake Superior played as if they realized they were losing to a winless team. They cranked up the aggressiveness, continuing to pound the puck toward Griggs, who wouldn’t allow many rebounds. UAH would hold on as the Lakers pulled Murdock for the extra attacker.
And when the final horn sounded, jubilation on the ice and bench for the UAH Chargers. Never let it be said they take these moments for granted.
But when the puck drops tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. Central, the boys will want win No. 2 as much as the first. Charge on.