Josh DeSmit’s second-period goal proved to be the difference as Lawrence University edged Northland College 2-1 in the opening game of a Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal playoff series Friday night at the Appleton Family Ice Center.
Lawrence (13-12-1) needs a win or a tie on Saturday afternoon to wrap up the series. The series winner advances to the Harris Cup Four semifinals on March 5 at Adrian College.
Lawrence grabbed the lead just 1:01 into the game when Jon Bellotti took a pass from Jameson Raymond and beat goaltender Daniel McIntosh for a 1-0 advantage.
Northland (9-15-2) tied the game on the power play at the 6:44 mark of the first. After Brad Scurfield was whistled for slashing, Colin Moberly scored on the ensuing man-advantage to make it 1-1.
DeSmit gave Lawrence the lead at the 11:10 mark of the second. Brady Vandenberk was called for interference at 10:45 to give Lawrence a power play, and DeSmit scored just 25 seconds later off a pass from Raymond.
Lawrence went 1-for-5 on the power play and Northland was 1-for-4.
Both Lawrence and Northland were forced to kill off a penalty in the final period, and the Lumberjacks pulled McIntosh for the final 1:02 but couldn’t get the equalizer.
Evan Johnson made 23 saves for the Vikings to pick up the victory. McIntosh made 39 saves and took the loss.