APPLETON, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – Three third period goals erased a 2-0 deficit and Brian Berger's overtime score proved to be the difference in a thrilling 4-3 victory over MCHA rival Lawrence University, capping off a series sweep for the Marian University men's hockey team, this evening, Nov. 16.
Lawrence was the better team after the first two periods, but Marian came out the victor after a furious third period comeback and overtime win tonight. Brendan Roberts led the offensive attack by netting two goals on the evening, but ultimately it was Brian Berger who needed just a little over a minute in overtime to give the Sabres the thrilling victory.
"There were a lot of emotions and it was a great learning experience for the team as we once again battled back in the third period to take lead," Head Coach A.J. Aitken said. "I'm proud of the effort the guys played in the third period."
Marian improves to 4-3-1 overall, 4-2-0 in the MCHA with the win, while Lawrence falls to 2-4-0 (2-4-0 MCHA) with the loss.
The Sabres found themselves down two goals after two periods of play.
"We did not play well in the first and second periods as LU dictated play and was winning all puck battles," Aitken said. "I told the team before third that if we get the next goal, LU would tighten up."
The Sabres would respond by taking advantage of a power play opportunity when the assistant captain, Roberts, scored an unassisted goal at the 5:19 mark to finally crack the scoring column for the visitors and ignite a near-improbable rally. Eight minutes later, Tyler Klein tied the game at 2-2e with just seven minutes remaining in regulation.
A mere three minutes later, with 3:25 left in the third period, Roberts scored his second goal of the evening, assisted by Aaron Leonard and Berger to give Marian its first lead of the night.
With just 28 seconds left in the match, the Vikings pulled goalie Peter Emery for the man advantage. Lawrence capitalized with 24 seconds left while Phil Buschbacher netted a goal to send the game into overtime.
The Sabres, however, only needed a minute, 19 seconds to come away with the victory as Berger found the back of net, assisted by Leonard and Mitch Kriz, and completed the two-game sweep over the Vikings.
"In OT, I told the guys we played too hard in the third to play for a tie," Aitken said. "Mitch Kriz threw the puck on net and it got deflected and found a way.
"I'm happy for the sweep; they are big points in the standings," Aitken added. "But we need to figure out how to better start games on the second night. Attention goes now to St. Norbert. Another big test."
The Sabres continue on the road as they visit the reigning national champion Green Knights of St. Norbert College for the MCHA/NCHA Showcase tournament, Friday, Nov. 23, at the Corner Stone Community Center. Puck is set to drop at 7 p.m.