SUPERIOR, Wis. – For a third consecutive year, Marian University men’s hockey (8-4-0, 4-4-0) is headed to the Superior Showdown championship game after defeating Bethel 5-2.
The Sabres started strong scoring a pair of goals in the opening period. Sophomore Salvatore Scalise opened the scoring with his second of the season, assist to senior Clay Cross at the 14:59 mark. The goal also came during a delayed penalty call with senior Brett Radford scoring 39 seconds later on the ensuing power play. The goal was his third of the season and he was assisted by freshman Blake Kleiner and sophomore Troy Ring.
Senior Davis Ross opened the scoring for the second period with a power-play goal just 1:36 into the period, his first of the season. Fellow seniors Lawson MacDonald and Nolan Ross each earned an assist on the play.
The Royals quickly found an equalizer just 1:06 later but sophomore Gianni Vitali extended the lead back out to three with his sixth goal of the year at the 8:21 mark. MacDonald earned his second assist of the night on the goal. Bethel would score at the 11:15 mark of the second period to put the score at 4-2 heading into the final period.
Bethel outshot Marian 10-7 in the final period but Vitali netted the only goal of the stanza with an empty-net tally at the 18:11 mark, assists to senior Chris Deprez and freshman Brady Pupp, to set the final at 5-2.
The Sabres were outshot in the victory by a 34-30 margin with Kleiner recording a team-best three shots. Senior Hunter Vorva (6-3-0) earned the victory totaling 32 saves with double-digit stops in each period.
Marian had a perfect night on special teams with the power play scoring on both of their opportunities, while the penalty kill didn’t see any action.
The Sabres complete a season sweep of the Royals after defeating Bethel 4-0 during the Thanksgiving break.
Marian will take on either Tufts or host UW-Superior for a 7 p.m. puck drop tomorrow, Sunday, December 29, in the championship game. Marian is 1-1 in the Superior Showdown championship with a win over UW-Superior two seasons ago and a defeat against then-ranked No. 10/12 Trinity last year.