DULUTH, Minn. – No. 14/15 Marian University men’s hockey (17-6-1, 11-6-0 NCHA) clinched home-ice for the opening round of the NCHA Harris Cup Playoffs defeating St. Scholastica 4-2 on the road.
The Sabres jumped all over the Saints taking a 3-0 lead after two periods despite being outshot by a 22-14 margin in the opening pair of periods. Junior Jake Howie was the lone goal scorer, unassisted, in the first period, eighth of the season, as the Sabres converted their first power play of the evening. Sophomore Chris Deprez then gave Marian a two-goal advantage at the 2:21 mark of the second period as he netted his second goal of the year without an assist. Senior Cole McCaig then lit the lamp with the eventual game-winner at the 17:40 mark of the second period with an assist from junior James Mathias for his second goal of the year.
St. Scholastica made things interesting in the third period with a goal at the 3:00 mark and a power play goal at the 3:57 mark to cut the Sabre lead down to one. St. Scholastica would outshoot the Sabres 14-6 for the period but sophomore Clay Cross was able to clinch the win with a short-handed goal just 49 seconds after the pair of Saint goals. The goal was just the second short-handed tally for Marina on the year and was number six on the season for Cross, assists to sophomore Connor Blanck and freshman Nick Ngwafusi.
The Saints closed the game with a 36-20 advantage in shots but sophomore Hunter Vorva stood on his head once again with 34 saves as he set a single-season Sabre men’s hockey record for wins with his 17th victory. The Sabres had 14 different skaters record a shot on goal led by Deprez who sent three shots on frame. In the faceoff circle, senior Derek Thorogood went 7-6 in the game.
Marian closes out the regular season at Northland tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 10, at 4 p.m.