SUPERIOR, Wis. – No. 13/15 Marian University men’s hockey (7-4-2, 5-2-0 NCHA) opened the second half of the season defeating No. 10/11 St. Scholastica 4-3 to open the UW-Superior Showdown.
The opening period saw neither team light the lamp with the Saints taking an early 15-6 advantage in shots. The Sabres were able to take the first lead of the game at the 11:16 mark into the second period when junior Clay Cross found the back of the net for the fourth time this season. Fellow junior Conner Blanck earned an assist on the play along with freshman Taylor Derynck for his first-career point.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as the Saints were able to tie the game at 1-1 just 1:50 later. A major penalty from the Saints gave the Sabres an extended power play, which the Sabres were able to take advantage of to retake the lead. Senior Lane Valimont would give the Sabres a 2-1 lead with his first goal of the year with just under two minutes left in the period, assist to Blanck.
The Sabres then extended on their lead just 2:52 into the third period when freshman Blaine Caton lit the lamp for the first time in his career. Blanck earned his third assist of the game on the goal with junior Shawn Brennan also earning an assist.
The Saints battled back to score the next two goals and knot the game at 3-3 with 5:01 left to play. A St. Scholastica turnover gave sophomore Anthony Orubor an opportunity and he made the most of it giving the Sabres the lead for good just 36 seconds after the Saints tied the game.
The Marian penalty kill then went to work at the end of the game holding the Saints scoreless on three man-advantage opportunities in the final 7:55 of the game.
Junior Hunter Vorva (6-3-2) had a strong opening performance to the second half making 37 saves as Marian was out-shot in the game by a 40-28 margin. Blanck led the way in shots for Marian with five, while senior James Mathias and freshman Salvatore Scalise each had four shots on goal.
Marian advances to the championship game of the UW-Superior Showdown taking on the winner of No. 10/12 Trinity and UW-Superior at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Sunday, December 30.