Marian ACHA off to perfect start

Marian celebrates a goal.

FOND DU LAC, Wis. - In defense of their NCHL title, the Marian University men's ACHA hockey team (4-0-0, 4-0-0 NCHL) is off to a perfect start after sweeping Depaul and Lewis.

The Sabres opened the season with a 3-1 and 9-2 victories over Depaul on the road before opening their home opening series against Lewis.  The MU offense was in midseason form in the sweep of Lewis scoring seven goals in each game.

Marian University got out of the gate quickly in game one as it only took 58 seconds for Marian's Miles Giorgione, with an assist by Dan Liberko, to score. Giorgione's goal would be followed by teammate Brandon Mills's goal, assisted by Paul Kinder Li, at 5:13. Closing out the scoring for the first period was Marian's Austin Flores, who found the back of the net at the 19:02 mark; assists were credited to Liberko and Carmon Teel. After 20 minutes of play Marian had built a 3-0 lead.

A tripping penalty on Lewis' Joseph Fiandaca 3:18 into the second period gave Marian an early power play. Marian would capitalize when Bryton Tomko put the puck past Lewis goaltender Colton Edling at the 4:28 mark. Assisting on the goal were Liberko and Flores. Under four and a half minutes later Marian would increase their lead to 5-0 when Mills netted his second goal of the game, assisted by Devin Chmura. With 11:02 having elapsed in the second period Lewis changed goaltenders, hoping to provide a needed spark. At 14:53 Lewis broke up Justin Davidson's shot at a shutout when Owen Ryan, from Nick Ligocki, put one home. The teams went into the second intermission with Marian holding a commanding 5-1 lead.

Liberko would notch his third point of the night at the 2:50 mark of third, scoring an unassisted goal. Lewis quickly matched Marian when Ryan scored his second goal of the night, assists went to Dylan Parshall and Christopher Estey, a minute and 44 seconds later. The majority of the third was played with Marian leading 6-2. However, with 1:07 remaining in the game Giorgione finished what he started, scoring goal number two off an assist by Jake Weldon. The game concluded with Marian leading 7-2.

In net for the loss was Colton Edling, in 31:02 minutes of play he stopped 29 of the 34 shots he faced. Sergey Markelov, in relief, finished with 18 saves off of 20 shots in 28:58 minutes of ice time. Marian's Justin Davidson recorded the victory with a 20 save effort on 22 shots faced.

Game two on Saturday once again saw Marian jump out to an early lead they would not relinquish. A power play goal by Devin Chmura, assisted by Daniel Roe and Kirill Proskurin, at the 4:56 mark got the scoring started. Paul Kinder Li, with assists by Jake Weldon and Roe, put Marian up 2-0 with 7:39 to go in the first. Marian stretched their lead to 3-0 fifty seconds later when Tanner Duffney, off a pass from Michael Bostwick, put one in the back of the net. Period one came to a close with Marian up 3-0 and holding a commanding 20-6 lead in shots on goal.

The first half of period two was a scoreless affair.  Marian's Bryton Tomko would break the scoreless spell at the 12:40 mark, credited with assists were Chmura and Brandon Mills. A second power play goal of the night for Marian increased their lead to 5-0 with 4:16 to go in the second period. Scoring for Marian was Colin Wilson, with assists by Austin Flores and Carmon Teel. After 40 minutes of play Marian lead Lewis 5-0.

Two goals would be scored in the third period, both by Proskurin, at 14:57 and 15:27. Each of his goals were assisted by Weldon and Wilson. Game two of the series came to a conclusion with Marian up 7-0.

In victory Marian's Fredrik Radbjer stopped all 19 shots he faced for the shutout. Meanwhile Lewis' Sergey Markelov was credited for the loss, turning away 35 of the 42 shots he faced in 57:30 minutes of play. Playing the last 2:30 minutes was Libor Gallik, who stopped both shots put on net by Marian.

Marian hits the road once again this weekend when they travel to Aurora October 20-21.  Game one of the series is set for a 9:05 p.m. start with the puck dropping in the finale at 4:30 p.m.