Marian men's hockey advances to fourth-straight NCHA Harris Cup semfinal

Marian battles for the puck.

FOND DU LAC - Marian University men's hockey (14-9-4, 11-5-2 NCHA) defeated Northland 5-1 to force a mini-game where the Sabres defeated the LumberJacks 1-0 to earn a spot in the NCHA Harris Cup semifinals for a fourth consecutive year.

The Sabres opened the scoring when senior Jake Howie lit the lamp for the seventh time this season, assists to freshman Parker Colley and junior Shawn Brennan.  Northland answered with an equalizer just 3:44 later, but the Sabres made sure the tie didn't last. 

Senior James Mathias buried a rebound 40 seconds after the Northland goal, assist to fellow senior Lane Valimont, for his second goal of the season.  Freshman Blaine Caton then cushioned the Marian lead tipping in a power play goal at the 16:19 for his fifth goal of the year, assists to Valimont and Howie.

Marian continued to pressure in the offensive zone with junior Clay Cross scoring his seventh of the year, assists to junior Conner Blanck and Caton.  The same trio then closed out the scoring at the 18:32 mark of the second period as Caton scored his second goal of the game, assists to Cross and Blanck.

A scoreless third period then set the stage for a winner-take-all mini-game.  Using their momentum from the previous 60 minutes, Marian found the back of the net just 1:24 into the mini-game with freshman Yuri Chernichko scoring off a rebound.  Mathias and fellow freshman Salvatore Scalise each earned an assist on the play. 

From there the Sabre defense took over as junior Hunter Vorva stopped all nine shots he faced to keep Northland off the board.  Vorva was just as strong in game two of the series stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

Marian finished with a 37-20 advantage in shots for the game to go with an 11-9 edge in shots for the mini-game.

Marian is set to travel to St. Norbert Saturday, February 23 for the NCHA Harris Cup semifinals, game time will be announced at a later date.