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Laker icemen stay perfect in the Mid-State

Senior winger Alex Phelps moves the puck up the ice during a recent home game. The Lakers are out to a solid 7-2-2 start.

Round one goes to the Lakers.

After the first round of games in Mid-State Conference play, the Detroit Lakes boys' hockey team is 4-0 and in first place. 

The Lakers (7-2-2) extended their undefeated conference streak to four with a 5-1 win in Wadena-Deer Creek Thursday.

"That is one of our goals is to win the conference," said DL head coach Chris Denardo. "We have our sights set on (on the conference teams) the second time around, because we know they'll be tougher."

The Lakers also pulled a monkey off their backs after struggling in the second period the past few weeks.

Thursday, DL put together great second and third periods after getting into some penalty trouble in the first period. 

Alex Phelps put the Lakers on the board by scoring in the first period, followed by a goal from Nate Baker. 

Junior forward Tanner Lane assisted on both scores. 

The Wolverines added a late power-play goal to pull within 2-1 heading into the first intermission.

In the second period, the Lakers finally came out and put together a good middle period, putting up 19 shots and scoring two more goals. 

It was also the first game of the season where all three lines scored for the Lakers, as DL outshot W-DC 19-5 in the second period and 16-3 in the third.

"It was a strong game for us," Denardo said. "(W-DC) has a strong goalie (Tyler Muehler) and he made 10-12 saves where it left you shaking your head, because no average goalie would have made those."

Andy Schupp put DL up 3-1 with a nice feed from Chad Maristuen, while Nate Ginnaty put away his first of the year on the power play with a nice tip shot. 

In the third period, the Lakers continued their controlling play, and Lane notched the fifth goal to put the game out of reach. 

"Tanner was a little frustrated after their goalie stopped a few of his shots, but he stuck with the game plan and kept moving the puck around and finally got one in there," Denardo said.

The goal was Lane's 21st of the season, along with his 17 assists.

Friesen stopped 16 shots in the victory, which is his fifth win of the season. 

"Wadena only had 12 shots on goal and that makes it hard to stay focused, so Andrew had another solid game," the DL coach commented.

The Lakers put up 42 shots on Muehler, with the W-DC goalie coming up with 37 saves. 

DL is sitting in the top four of the Section 6-1A standings, which is wide open thus far.

Denardo is happy with where his team is sitting and playing.

"We could easily be 10-0 and the guys are starting to put teams away and sticking to the game plan," Denardo said. "But they can't be satisfied, they need to stay hungry."

The Lakers traveled to Willmar Friday for a Section 6-1A contest and will hit the road to face Walker/Hackensack-Akeley Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.