Senior forward Bron Loiselle collected a goal and an assist in the Foresters' 4-2 victory over visiting Aurora University in the first game of their North Collegiate Hockey Association Harris Cup Playoff quarterfinal series Friday night.
Lake Forest wasted no time getting on the scoreboard and was off to a 2-0 lead just 2:05 into the game. Senior forward Cody Guidorzi got the scoring started off a feed from sophomore forward Joey Sardina right in front of the net. Guidorzi put it home at the 82-second mark for his seventh score of the season. Just 43 seconds later sophomore defenseman Mark DerManulian followed up a rebound chance generated by freshman forward Cullen Kane and beat the goaltender glove side, making it a 2-0 lead for the home team.
Aurora, however, cut the margin in half at the 14:43 mark on an even strength goal.
The Foresters went to the book at 16:54 in the opening period, setting up their seventh short-handed goal of the season. Loiselle's fifth score of the year restored the two-goal lead at the 17:53 mark and closed out the scoring for the period. Lake Forest outshot Aurora 14-9 in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Spartans were able to make it a one goal game once again, striking on the power play at 5:53 in the middle frame. It was the only score of the period, which ended with an 11-8 advantage in shots on goal for the Foresters. They led 26-17 in that category through 40 minutes of play.
Lake Forest had two chances on the power play in the final 20 minutes but were unable to score and finished the night 0-for-4 on the man advantage. The Foresters sealed the deal with an empty net goal with just 8.7 seconds left in the game on freshman forward Josh Giacomin's eighth scored of the season. Assists went to Loiselle and DerManulian.
Aurora had a 14-7 edge in shots on goal in the final period but each of their attempts was turned away by senior goaltender George Argiropoulos, who finished the night with 29 saves. He improved to 8-3-4 with a .934 save percentage on the year.
The Foresters are now 12-8-6 and the Spartans 11-14-1 on the season. The same two teams will square off tomorrow night in Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse in game number two of the quarterfinal series. A win or a tie for Lake Forest would punch the Foresters' ticket into the semifinals while a loss would force a 20-minute minigame to decide who advances.
by Cam McGuire