The Lake Forest College men's hockey team finished the regular season with a 14-10-1 overall record and an 11-7-0 mark in Northern Collegiate Hockey Association play, good for fourth in the league standings. The Foresters will host fifth-place Marian University (11-12-2, 10-7-1 NCHA) Friday and Saturday night at 7:00 in the quarterfinals of the NCHA Harris Cup Tournament.
Lake Forest swept Marian in a home-and-home series in January, winning 4-3 in overtime in Lake Forest and 5-2 the following afternoon in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Forester junior forward Luke Swardenski had a goal and an assist in the series opener and junior forward Bobby Barrett and senior forward Mike Violette combined for four goals and three assists in game two. All five Marian goals on the weekend were scored by different players
Barrett is tied for first in the nation with 18 goals this season and his 29 points are the most by a Forester in eight years. Freshman forward Jack Lewis is next on the team with 10 goals and Violette has eight. Violette leads the squad with 18 assists and junior defensemen Ben Certo and Charlie Stein have 14 and 12, respectively.
Marian is led in scoring by senior forward Tyler Klein, who has 31 points on 13 goals and 18 assists. Both totals rank among the top seven in the league. Senior defenseman Tanner Burton is next on the team in assists with 15 and junior forward Matt Williams has 20 points on 10 goals and as many assists.
Lake Forest sophomore goaltender Leo Podolsky is 12-2-1 on the season with a .914 save percentage and 2.39 goals against average. Marian's goalie, senior Josh Baker, owns the second-highest save percentage in the NCHA at .932 and is 9-10-0 with a 2.27 goals against average.
The Foresters are tied for third in the conference in scoring offense, averaging nearly three-and-a-half goals per contest. Marian is sixth at 3.04. The Sabres, however, have allowed just 2.6 goals per game, which ranks fourth in the league, while Lake Forest is sixth at 2.92.
The teams have combined for a 13-3-0 record since their regular season meetings. Those games were the second and third victories in a nine-game winning streak for Lake Forest that was snapped at Adrian College last weekend. Marian won its next seven games before falling at the College of St. Scholastica last Saturday.
If the league's other three quarterfinal series are won by the higher seeds, the winner of this series will travel to De Pere, Wisconsin, for a semifinal game against regular season champion St. Norbert College next Saturday. The winner of that contest will advance to the NCHA Harris Cup Championship Game on March 8.
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