Michigan Tech came into this season with expectations higher than they had been in a long time, after last year's surprising run to home ice in the WCHA playoffs, and a WCHA playoff series win, while expectations for Lake Superior, at least from outside the program, were not good, as the league's coaches picked them to finish last in the league.
But three unanswered goals in the third period allowed Lake Superior to defeat Michigan Tech 4-2 at home on Thursday night. Lake Superior led by their top line of Kellen Lain, Domenic Menardo and Stephen Perfetto, who each had two points on the night. Michigan Tech outshot the Lakers 33-22, but Lake Superior goalie Kevin Kapalka made 31 saves to earn the victory.
Game two of this series will take place on Saturday in Houghton.
Michigan appeared ready to cruise to an easy season-opening win over RIT when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead 18:37 into the first period. But the Tigers responded with their first goal of the game just 29 seconds later, and fought back to tie the game at 4 with 4:40 left to play in the third, before knocking off the 3rd ranked Wolverines with a goal just 14 seconds into overtime.
The story of the night looked like it was going to be Jacob Trouba, who registered a power play assist and a beautiful wraparound power play goal in the first period of a very impressive first game for the highly-touted freshman. But by the end of the game, most of the attention was focused on another Michigan freshman for different reasons. The first game of the post-Shawn Hunwick era at Michigan showed that there is some cause for concern in net for the Wolverines. Freshman Jared Rutledge allowed 5 goals on just 26 shots, and many of the goals, including the overtime winner, were described as soft goals. After the game, Michigan head coach Red Berenson said he would consider starting his other freshman goalie, Steven Racine, in tomorrow's season's finale.