Written By: Ryan Cuddy
It was another big and historic week for the Adrian College NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey team as they still sit atop the ranks of Division three from the latest posted rankings on January 31st.. This would be the sixth consecutive week that Adrian sat in that spot.
For the games themselves, the Bulldogs found themselves in a weekend set with another nationally ranked team in Aurora University who slots in 12th in the rankings. The Bulldogs took the nearly four and a half hour trip to Aurora, IL. The weekend set was the first meeting between the two teams this season, and the Aurora Spartans looked to do something they had never done in their first 14 meetings with the Bulldogs, and that was to come away with a victory. The two squads got the action going in a very evenly played and physical matchup. Only one goal came from the first 20 minutes and it was from the home Spartans as Adam Keyes beat Cam Gray in net for Adrian to make it a 1-0 game. The Bulldogs offense finally found their footing however in the second period. A strong attack throughout the period helped propel the Dawgs to two goals in the middle frame, with Alessio Lucciani and Sam Ruffin each finding the back of the net. With all to play for in the final period, the Bulldogs were not going to let this one slip away and closed the door with a strong final 20 minutes. Racking up a pair of goals in the third for Adrian was Rex Moe and Ryan Pitoscia. Aurora’s Simon Boyko helped make the scoring a little less lopsided with a late power play goal with just under two to play in the period. The late goal would only lead to a moral victory for the Spartans as the Bulldogs continued their stellar play this season.
The latter half of the weekend series between these two programs saw Aurora hoping for more of the same in the first period than they did the night before. Knowing a strong start was needed in order for a chance to pull off the upset, the Bulldogs knew the Spartans would be coming out firing. The Bulldogs started out much better in this game compared to the night prior, as they stormed out to a commanding 3-0 lead after the opening period of play. The second period was much of the same for the Bulldogs, Ayodele Adeniye netted his first goal in the Adrian black and goal a little over seven minutes into the start of the middle period. The offensive onslaught continued by Adrian as Ty Enns scored to finish out the second period. Down 6-0 heading into the third, the Spartans were able to get two goals back before Zach Goebris found the back of the net in the dying seconds to close out the victory 7-2 for Adrian.
The number one ranked team in Division three hockey continues to roll, but their toughest tasks lie ahead. The NCHA playoffs begin this weekend as the Bulldogs host the Lake Forest Foresters.The first game is scheduled for Friday February 18th at 7:00 pm. The series will then wrap up the next day on Saturday February 19th at 4:00 PM.