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Tuesday June 25, 2024
Wildcats Top Lake State To Win Cappo Cup Series

This story was written by NMU Sports Information. (NMU Photo)

MARQUETTE, Mich. - 
The Northern Michigan University hockey team defeated Lake Superior State University in game four of the Cappo Cup series by a score of 3-1, and the trophy returned to Marquette. NMU went 3-1 in the season series, outsourcing the opponent 14-9 in the four games. The Wildcats improve to 13-15-0 overall and 9-11-0 in CCHA, and the Lakers fall to 6-22-2 overall and 5-16-1 in CCHA play.

Andre GhantousJoey Larson, and Artem Shlaine all recorded goals for the 'Cats, and David KeeferKristof Papp, and Simon Kjellberg recorded assists. Beni Halasz made 13 saves on 14 shots, posting a .929 save%.

The 'Cats outshot the Lakers 23 to 14, went 1 for 4 on the power play and 3 for 3 on the penalty kill, won 31 of 54 faceoffs, and blocked 19 shots to LSSU's 15. 

The 'Cats jumped out the gate to an early opportunity as David Keefer weaved his way through the defense and pulled goalie Seth Eisele out of position as he made the save, and Andre Ghantous slid the puck through the crease in front of a yawning cage. 

The 'Cats were stout defensively, holding the Lakers to zero shots on goal through the first seven minutes of play. Goalie Beni Halasz had to be sharp though, as his first save of the game came from a defensive turnover to a Lake State player wide-open in the high slot.

At the end of a long shift, Joey Larson blocked a shot, chased the puck down the right-wing boards, beat his defender in a foot race, and dropped the puck to a trailing Simon Kjellberg. Kjellberg had an open look from the top of the circle and beat the goalie over the blocker, but the puck rang iron and stayed out. 

Connor Eddy and Vincent De May found themselves a two-on-one opportunity and after a few slick passes De May was able to create space for himself on the far side. Eddy slid him the puck, giving De May a wide-open net, but it bounced over his stick as he went to pull the trigger. 

Mere seconds later, Andre Ghantous streaked up the left wing boards and beat his defender behind the net. He made a slick wrap-around play and beat the goalie through the five-hole, giving the 'Cats a 1-0 lead with minutes to go in the first. This was Andre's fifth goal of the year and Keefer's fifth assist of the year.

The Lakers took a shot in the dying seconds of the first, it hit some bodies in front and found its way past the goalie Beni Halasz. NMU outshot LSSU nine to four and won 12 of 19 faceoffs. 

The second frame started with not many chances, as there was one shot on goal for both teams through the first five minutes. Joey Larson corralled the puck on the side of the net and tried a stuff play, but couldn't lift it over the outstretched pad. 

NMU got their first power play of the game halfway through the second period, but ultimately failed to generate a shot on target and was unsuccessful. Moments later, Artem Shlaine received a cross-ice pass from Zach Michaelis and had a good chance from 10 feet out, but the puck rode off his blade and into the netting. 

Rylan Van Unen received a perfect tape-to-tape seam pass from twin brother Michael to spring him on a breakaway. The goalie made the save and the puck redirected inches out the other end past the farside post. 

There was a scrum in the dying seconds of the period and NMU successfully challenged for a facemask against LSSU, giving the 'Cats a five-minute power play that extended into the start of the third period. The 'Cats outshot the Lakers 8-3 in the second frame. 

The 'Cats made no mistake to open the period, and Joey Larson fired the puck past Eisele to give the 'Cats the lead back. That was Joey Larson's eighth goal of the year, and third in as many games. The Lakers would commit another penalty, giving the 'Cats a full two-minute five-on-three advantage, but couldn't capitalize and LSSU would return to full strength. 

The Lakers upped the forecheck pressure and hemmed the 'Cats in their own zone, generating a lot of buzz and traffic around the net. A shot from the point got deflected and went through the legs of Beni Halasz and trickled out the other side of the crease. 

The 'Cats would take a penalty and Lake State generated a plethora of chances, but with some key blocks backed by Beni Halasz making a couple of 10-bell saves, the 'Cats killed the penalty and returned to full strength with under four minutes to go. 

The Lakers would go on to pull their goalie to gain an extra attacker, and immediately Beni Halasz had to make a sprawling left-to-right save to keep the puck out of the net. With 30 seconds left, Artem Shlaine corralled the puck and fired it the length of the ice to seal the deal for the Wildcats and secure the Cappo Cup. 
  • Joey Larson scored his eighth goal of the season and third goal in as many games. He has four points in his last three games. 
  • Both Andre Ghantous and Artem Shlaine posted a goal, giving them both a goal and an assist on the weekend.
  • Joey LarsonKristof Papp, and Artem Shlaine are all on a three-game point streak after tonight. 
  • Six different Wildcats recorded points on the evening, and the 'Cats improved to 9-5-0 when scoring first.
Goal Summary
1st Period
15:16 - Andre Ghantous (NMU, 1-0) - Assisted by David Keefer.
19:45 - Jordan Venegoni (LSSU, 1-1) - Assisted by Jake Willets and Dawson Tritt.

2nd Period
None

3rd Period
1:35 - Joey Larson (NMU PP, 2-1) - Assisted by Kristof Papp and Simon Kjellberg
19:34 - Artem Shlaine (NMU ENG, 3-1) - Unassisted.

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