LAKE FOREST, Ill. (SabreAthletics.com) – Three unanswered goals were the difference in a Marian University men's hockey team, 3-2, victory over host Lake Forest College, the first win for the Sabres under new Head Coach A.J. Aitken and it came in the MCHA opener inside Alumni Memorial Rink, this evening, Nov. 2.
The Foresters cracked the scoreboard first at the 11:22 mark in the opening period, but Andy Kuechler was able to even the score just before the first intermission. Following a scoreless second period, Matt Berger and Tyler Klein each found the net for the first time this season to open the third period and it was enough for the Sabres to hold on for the 3-2 win.
Marian improved to 1-1-1 on the season, 1-0-0 in MCHA action with the win, while Lake Forest fell to 0-2-2 (0-1-0 MCHA) with the loss.
Andrew Stein scored the game's first tally for the Foresters on assists by Pat Charron and Alec DeAngelo. Just as it seemed though the Sabres would be headed to the locker room with a one goal deficit in the first intermission, Andy Kuechler erased that with a game-tying score, his second of the year, on an assist from Brett Campbell with just 23 seconds remaining in the period.
It was a quiet second period despite three power play opportunities for Marian, all of which were killed by the host Foresters. Neither team found the net and it wasn't for a lack of opportunities. Both squads combined for 22 shots with the Sabres winning that battle with a 15-7 advantage.
They would break through twice in the third period as Berger scored on an Aaron Leonard assist within the first five minutes of the frame. Klein then added an insurance tally at the 8:51 mark on assists by Kuechler and Kevin Darcy.
A much-needed insurance tally as it would turn out following Charron's goal with 3:41 remaining in the game to cut the deficit to one at 3-2, which is how it would end despite a furious comeback try as the Foresters pulled the goalie for the extra attacker in the final 55 seconds.
Marian goaltender, Randy Willis, made 37 saves, 19 in the final period alone, in earning his first victory of the year.
Marian and Lake Forest will wrap up the home-and-home series tomorrow night in Fond du Lac when both teams drop the puck at 7 inside the Blue Line Family Ice Center.