Lawrence men’s hockey lost in heartbreaking fashion against the Marian Sabres at home on Saturday evening. The game, dubbed “The Battle of Highway 44,” finished 4-4 after regulation with Lawrence coming back from two down to draw level late in the third period.
Lawrence managed to hang with Marian for the majority of the early stages, with the score sitting at 3-2 with Marian on top entering the third period. Junior Cory Checco scored on assists from first-year Robby Pustulka and sophomore Dante Terramani in the first to claw back a one- goal deficit before senior Zach Lodes did the same in the second, this time assisted by sophomore Will Crull and senior Ivan Galaguzov.
But Marian scored late in the second and early in the third, leaving the score at 4-2 with just 10 minutes to play; the game looked to be over before the final buzzer, with Marian dominating possession of the puck. However, the momentum of the game shifted when junior Hugh Anderson scored an absolute beauty for the Vikings off of an assist from Lodes. Anderson shot a wrister from what must have been 15 meters into the roof of the net past the hapless Marian goaltender.
Still, time was ticking away late in the third with Marian still leading by a goal. Checco burst down the ice on one final counterattack by the Vikings, breaking inside from the right wing to meet a neat pass from Lodes in stride to smash home the tying goal with under eight seconds remaining on the clock. Surely at this point, Lawrence would seize the moment and go on to avenge their loss to the Sabres the previous day, right?
Unfortunately, this was not the case. Overtime saw the intensity of the game fall off a cliff, as both sides grew fatigued. Tired defense by the Lawrence squad (completely understandable) saw first-year goaltender Owen Carlson take up the mantle and stand on his head to make a number of crucial lunging saves to keep the Vikings in it. Lawrence had a few decent chances to win the game themselves, but tired legs seemed to leave most counterattacks they were able to muster a little flat. After an additional five minutes of action, the score remained locked at four apiece, leaving penalties as the only dish on the menu.
The shootout got off to the best possible start, with Carlson saving Marian’s opening attempt by Jack Sampson, followed by a shootout goal by Checco, who was still hot after his massive goal. But the wheels fell off at the worst possible time for the Vikings, as junior Kyle Gierman and Lodes couldn’t quite convert their penalties, while Marian’s Jaymes Knee and Jordan Simoneau both slotted past Carlson to steal a win for the Sabres at the last possible moment.