FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – Aaron Leonard's game-tying third period goal sent the home faithful into a frenzy and first-year Head Coach A.J. Aitken away with his first thrilling decision of the 2012-13 season after the Marian University men's hockey team came from behind to force a 3-3 draw with the visiting UW-Stout Blue Devils inside the Blue Line Family Ice Center this evening, Oct. 20.
Leonard's goal came on a great build-up amidst a UW-Stout five-minute major penalty late in the third period. The sophomore put it home after Brian Berger and Mitch Kriz worked the puck into the zone. Andy Kuechler and Berger accounted for the other two Marian goals, while Josh Baker made 31 saves between the pipes.
Marian and UW-Stout move their records to 0-0-1 after the season opening tie.
A furious first period was highlighted by four goals and 12 penalties combined. UW-Stout's Carl Bombardier broke the scoreless tie with a score at the 11:14 mark in the period. Just over a minute later, Kuechler got the Marian crowd roaring with the tying score, set up by freshman Brett Campbell and senior Brendan Roberts.
Less than a minute later, Jordan Tredinnick gave the Blue Devils the lead back before Brian Berger found the equalizer only 19 seconds later on an assist by Robbie Bailey.
Compared to the first, the next two periods were relatively calm. Both teams found power play scores with UW-Stout taking a 3-2 lead at the 7:47 mark in the second period. Trailing and finding few opportunities, the Sabres caught a break when Russ Whited was whistled for a five-minute boarding major. Marian took advantage when Leonard found the net from assists by Berger and Mitch Kriz.
Both teams tallied two shots in the overtime session, but both goalies stood tall to the task in preserving the tie.
The Sabres will have the week off before traveling to UW-River Falls for a 7:05 p.m. start, Saturday, Oct. 27.