Marian University men’s hockey (15-6-1, 11-6-0 NCHA) opened the Battle of Highway 41 with a 3-1 home win over Lawrence, the program’s 400th win.
The Vikings struck first at the midway point of the first period but the lead didn’t last long as Marian struck just 1:10 later. Sophomore Yuri Chernichko was the goal scorer, his fourth of the season, and he was assisted by seniors Davis Ross and Brock Weston.
Marian then took the lead for good with a short-handed goal at the 2:54 mark of the second period when sophomore Gianni Vitali created a breakaway and buried the puck with a backhand. The goal was his 15th of the season and nation-leading fifth short-handed score.
The Sabres put the game away in the third period outshooting Lawrence 15-4 for the period. Sophomore Ty Enns would find the back of the net on a power play at the 10:15 mark of the period with assists to sophomore Parker Colley and Vitali.
Marian finished the game with a 44-26 advantage in shots and outshot Lawrence in all three periods. Freshman Blake Kleiner led all the skaters with a game-high six shots on goal. Senior Hunter Vorva (12-4-1) had a strong performance making 25 saves with 14 of his stops coming in the second period.
The Sabre special teams had another good night with the penalty kill holding Lawrence scoreless on four power-play chances and the Sabre power play converting one of their two man-advantages.
Marian closes out the series at Lawrence tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 8, for a 7 p.m. puck drop.