Lions fight, but fall, to Saints in 5-0 loss
HANCOCK — Looking for some fight back after a 12-4 loss to the St. Scholastica Saints, the Finlandia Lions men’s hockey team showed plenty of grit and determination Saturday night at the Houghton County Arena Saturday night.
They threw hits and did not back down from the challenge set forth by the Saints, but ultimately, it was not enough to overcome four power play goals for the visitors in a 5-0 loss.
Despite the score, Lions coach Joe Burcar felt his team did a lot of what it needed to in order to respond to the finish of Friday’s contest, a game that saw the Saints take two major penalties that led to injuries to key pieces of the Lions’ lineup.
“We’re gonna give them a fight and it turned into a lot of penalties, but we weren’t gonna back down from them after what they did to us last night,” Burcar said.
The Lions (1-5, 1-5 NCHA) finished the night 0 for 10 on the power play themselves while surrendering four goals on seven power plays to the Saints.
“It’s been an issue for us all year,” said Burcar. “There was a handful that we did well, but the emotions were just running way too high tonight. We had a lot of power play time that we didn’t capitalize on. That was the difference. They capitalized on their chances. We didn’t…that was a difference in the game.”
Sophomore Ben Kelsch was a very bright spot for the Lions throughout the night. Getting his second start of the season, the second-year goaltender 27 of 32 shots the Saints threw at him.
Burcar felt that Kelsch did everything he could to give the Lions a chance to win. “He definitely gave us a chance,” Burcar said. “He’s frustrated right now and he should be, but I think he wanted this as bad as everybody else.”
The Lions’ penalty killing struggled from the start of the contest. Down a man 5:24 into the contest, Finlandia gave up the first power play marker of the game 51 seconds into the advantage.
Saints twins Filimon and Arkhip Ledenkov connected on a one-timed shot by Arkhip to put the Saints ahead. The pair connected again in the second period for a very similar tally at 13:59, giving Arkhip two goals on the night.
Arkhip then potted his hat trick goal on another power play at 18:15, just 10 seconds into a two-man advantage.
“They have great chemistry,” Burcar said. “Obviously, we watched film this week, and we knew what was going on.”
Just 1:20 later, the Saints (4-5, 3-3 NCHA) scored on the one-man advantage when Carson Rose found the net.
The Lions appeared to get a power play goal of their own 12:20 into the third period when freshman winger Tyler Perkins knocked a rebound past Saints goaltender Nick Trenciansky, but the goal was called back after discussion between the referees. To add insult to injury, the Lions were also whistled for a penalty on the play.
The Saints scored their fifth and final goal 13:54 into the third when Nate Pionk found the back of the net.
The Lions fell behind 5-1 after one period, fought back to 5-3, but that was as close as they got, falling to the Saints 12-4 on the road Friday.
Sophomore winger Phil Schader scored the lone Lions’ goal in the first period. In the second, Perkins and freshman defenseman Blake Gutterman both scored. Schader added his second of the night 1:52 into the third.
SS 1 3 1 — 5
FU 0 0 0 — 0
First Period–Scoring–1, SS, Arkhip Ledenkov (Filimon Ledenkov, Daniel Sukhonos), 6:15, pp.
Second Period–Scoring–2, SS, A. Ledenkov (Sukhonos, F. Ledenkov), 13:59, pp. 3, SS, A. Ledenkov (Sukhonos), PP, 18:15.
4, SS, Carson Rose (Sam Fuss, Jordan Fralich), 19:35, pp.
Third Period–Scoring–5, SS, Nate Pionk (Nathan Adrian), 13:54.
Saves–SS, Trenciansky, 5-12-11–28. FU, Kelsch, 10-9-8–27
Power-play Opportunities–SS 4 of 7. FU 0 of 10
Penalties-minutes–SS 15-41. FU 15-33.