For much of the 2012-13 season, the Detroit Lakes boys' hockey team has faced plenty of adversity, which has translated into more than a few losses.
But Tuesday night inside Kent Freeman Arena, Laker junior defenseman Michael Herrmann made sure it would be visiting Wadena-Deer Creek who would feel the sting of adversity.
Herrmann's goal with 54.9 seconds remaining in regulation broke a 3-3 tie with the Wolverines, who had just completed a two-goal comeback and looked to have snatched most of the momentum.
The Lakers rode out the remaining time for a 4-3 win and are now in firm control of the Mid-State Conference with a 4-0 conference record and 5-7 overall.
"We've been working with our defensemen to pulling the puck off the boards and be aggressive with it," said DL head coach Chris Denardo.
"Michael got the pull and (senior forward) Austin Rusness had a nice screen on the goalie."
The Lakers looked to have controlled much of the game, limiting W-DC to outside shots, while DL was putting quality ones on Wolverine goalie Cory McManigle.
The Lakers had 33 shots on net, compared to W-DC's 25.
"This time, we kept the foot on the pedal," Denardo said.
"I'm proud of the boys for staying the course. Tonight, they stood in there and took (W-DC's) best shot."
The Lakers jumped to a 2-0 first period lead on late goals by sophomore forwards Ryan DeConcini and Joe Solberg.
DeConcini's goal came at the 4:12 mark on a sweet behind the net pass by Rusness, who hit the sophomore forward in the slot for a one-timer past McManigle.
Just 1:08 later, Solberg picked up a rebound shot in the crease, after Brady Crawford was able to dig the puck out of McManigle's reach. Ben Nelson also gained an assist on the play.
But the Wolverines didn't leave the first scoreless, as forward Mitchell Swanson scored with just 18 seconds left in the period to make the score 2-1.
"We past up a lot of good scoring opportunities in those first two periods," Denardo said.
DL scored the lone goal in the second, with junior forward Taylor Johnson picking up a rebound 1:55 into play for the 3-1 advantage.
W-DC stormed back with two quick scores in the final period, as Swanson added his second goal of the night 26 seconds in, with the assist by Bridger Pettit.
Christian Berg tied the game at 3-3 on assists by Swanson and Pettit.
"The guys didn't get frustrated and we knew coming in W-DC had a couple of strong scoring lines," Denardo said.
With just over three minutes left in regulation, the Lakers went on a power play, but it was killed off by the Wolverines with DL taking just two shots on net.
But with the power play just dying off, Herrmann dug the puck out of the boards and made an accurate shot on net for the eventual winning goal.
Sophomore goalie MacKenzie Steele had 22 saves in the contest, including a big breakaway stuff in the second period, to secure DL's 3-1 lead.
"That was a big save and Mack has now had three solid games in a row," Denardo said.
The Lakers will need to keep the momentum going Saturday when they travel to rival Fergus Falls (6-4-3) for a 7:15 p.m. start.
Wadena-Deer Creek at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, Jan. 8.
Wolverines 1 0 2 - 3
Lakers 2 1 1 - 4
1st Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Deconcini Goal (Rusness) 12:48; DTRTLK - Solberg Goal (Crawford, Nelson) 13:56; WADENA - Swanson Goal (Pettit) 16:42. Penalties: Bremseth, DTRTLK (Tripping, Minor, 2 min) 7:31. Goalie Changes: None.
2nd Period -- Scoring: DTRTLK - Johnson Goal 1:55. Penalties: Swanson, WADENA (Slashing, Minor, 2 min) 7:45. Goalie Changes: None.
3rd Period -- Scoring: WADENA - Swanson Goal (Pettit) 0:26; WADENA - Berg Goal (Swanson, Pettit) 3:04; DTRTLK - Herrmann Goal 16:05. Penalties: Pettit, WADENA (Roughing, Minor, 2 min) 13:47; Pettit, WADENA (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Minor, 2 min) 13:47; Herrmann, DTRTLK (Roughing, Minor, 2 min) 13:47; Berg, WADENA (Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Misconduct, 10 min) 16:50; Rusness, DTRTLK (Roughing, Minor, 2 min) 16:50; Berg, WADENA (Roughing, Minor, 2 min) 16:50. Goalie Changes: Empty Net, WADENA 16:25.
Shots on goal: DL 9 12 12 - 33...WDC 11 7 7 - 25.
Saves: DL (MacKenzie Steele) 22...WDC (Cory McManigle) 29.