Foresters Suffer Slow Start, Season-Ending Loss at Marian

Photo by Matt Weidner
Photo by Matt Weidner

Senior defenseman Travis Hill scored the visitors' first goal and assisted on the second in the Lake Forest College men's hockey team's 5-2 loss at Marian University in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Harris Cup Playoffs.

Hill's fifth goal of the season came on the power play at the 8:06 mark of the second period. He crossed the puck from right to left along the blue line to sophomore defenseman Ryan Kruss, who sent it diagonally to sophomore forward Drew Cleereman in the right circle. Cleereman passed it backwards to Hill, who blasted it past the Sabre goaltender to cut the home team's lead to 3-1.

The Foresters' second goal came on a two-on-one with senior forward Justin Pelock deciding to take it himself instead of passing to his left to sophomore forward Vito Aluia, who drew enough attention from the Marian defenseman and goalie for Pelock's shot to hit the back of the net with 1:58 remaining in the second. It was the third score of the season for Pelock and Hill, who fed him in the neutral zone to set up the odd-man rush, was credited with an assist.

After being outshot 13-9 in the opening period, Lake Forest had a 13-7 advantage in that category in the second. The visitors ran out of gas in the final 20 minutes, however, and put just five shots on goal to the Sabres' 10 in the period. The home team finally regained its two-goal advantage with 1:54 on the clock and added an empty net score with 14 seconds left.

Lake Forest was playing from behind throughout the game after surrendering scores on Marian's first two shots on goal of the night. 

The Foresters' season ends with an overall record of 16-10 while Marian takes a 15-9-2 record into Saturday's NCHA Harris Cup semifinal game at Adrian College.

Wednesday's contest was the final career game for Hill, Pelock, and fellow Lake Forest seniors Billy Cooper, Jack Lewis, Jimmy Cusan, Mark Esshaki, and Anthony Annunziato. They helped lead the team to a 56-44-6 record over the last four years and to three seasons with at least 15 victories, a feat no other class in program history accomplished.

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