MEQUON, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) - When a team is able to score in the opening minute of a game, it usually lends itself to a good night. Friday was no different, as the Sabres jumped out early on Concordia Wisconsin and never looked back, winning 3-0.
Senior Tyler Klein opened the scoring just 37 seconds into Friday's contest, giving the Sabres a lead they would refuse to relinquish. After a long and effective forecheck, sophomore Ben Morgan and junior Matt Williams worked to feed Klein in the slot.
"At this point in the year its do or die for us so we wanted to bring a playoff mentality tonight," senior Ashton Reinboldt said. "Top to bottom of the lineup, including our goalie, it was a gut check performance. Everyone knew their jobs, we got the win and it took everyone."
Knowing the importance of scoring first, Head Coach AJ Aitken had a good feeling once his team was able to get out in front.
"It was huge for us mentally to score right off the first shift and it settled out guys down," Aitken said. "It proved that we can come out here and be successful."
Making his first career collegiate start, freshman Jacob Ryd took a back-handed saucer pass that had eyes through the defenseman from junior Aaron Leonard and Ryd back-handed it past Domingo Torrenueva to double Marian's lead halfway through the opening frame.
"All week we worked on our d-zone coverage and made it a key to this game and it showed," Leonard said. "They send a lot of guys [forward] but as long as we protect our end, it pays off."
A surprisingly quiet second period on the stat sheet opened itself to an interesting third period with Concordia trying to find a way to solve senior Josh Baker between the pipes. From the first save to number 36, Baker was rock solid for the blue and white, earning his third shutout of the season.
"We knew coming in that we were one point behind them in the standings," Aitken said. "We prepared very well and executed tonight."
Holding on to the two-goal lead, Marian put a close on Concordia's night when Klein scored his second of the night at 16:22 of the third period. It was Klein's first multi-goal game since his hat-trick against UW-Superior on Nov. 22.
"We need to feed off this game and take it into the first period tomorrow," Aitken said. "We need our guys to smell blood right now."
Marian returns to the Blue Line on Saturday for their last regular season home game. Prior to puckdrop, the class of 2014 will be honored for their career spent as a Sabre.
The puck will drop at 8 p.m. tomorrow night at the Blue Line.