MINNEAPOLIS--As the Adrian College men's hockey team readies itself for an exhibition encounter against the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 squad this weekend to begin the 2017-18 campaign, the Bulldogs learned this week they nationally-ranked No. 3 in the USCHO.com preseason poll. Adrian received two first-place votes among 258 points--just one shy of No. 2 and fellow Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) opponent St. Norbert College (259, 1 1st-place). Defending NCAA Division III champion Norwich University occupies the top spot with 296 points and 17 first-place votes.
For tickets regarding the Team USA contest on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., please click on the link.
Adrian is the three-time defending NCHA Peters Cup champion for regular-season play and has captured two of the last three Harris Cups symbolic of winning the conference championship. The Bulldogs return 90.8 percent of their goal-production and 93.7 percent of the assists, as well as their top two goalies. Last year's squad ended up 20-7-2 overall (17-3 NCHA South Division) and advanced to its seventh NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship appearance, reaching the national semifinals for the second time in three years.
The NCHA preseason favorites return the top three point-scorers from the conference last season among an experienced group of 21 lettermen, including senior left wing Kyle Brothers (1st/8 goals+28 assists=36 points), junior left wing Trevor Boyd (19+17=36/first in goals) and junior defenseman Cory Dunn (9+27=36). Boyd and Dunn were All-NCHA members, as was junior forward Bryan Yim (14+15=29) and junior goalie Kevin Entmaa (15-7-2 W-L-T, 2.27 GAA). Boyd and Dunn both earned American Hockey Coaches Association All-America accolades, and sophomore forward Vincent Paquette (14+15=29) was named the 2017 NCHA Freshman of the Year.
That nucleus is joined by an equally talented recruiting class that is comprised of two transfers and three freshmen. Below is a snapshot of each newcomer:
#30 Nikita Babintsev - Freshman - Goalie - Moscow, Russia - Amarillo Bulls (North American Hockey League, NAHL)
Went 19-18-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in over 2440 minutes with the Bulls in 2016-17...recorded one shutout...compiled 1,353 saves in 43 appearances between the pipes...also played in the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies system.
#88 - Ryan Cusin - Sophomore - Right Wing - Westland, Mich. - UMass Boston (New England Hockey Conference, NCAA Division III)
2017 USCHO All-Rookie Team...NEHC Rookie of the Year and named third-team all-conference...paced the conference in points throughout the regular season and finished the year with an impressive line of 16 goals, 24 assists and 40 points in 25 games...plus-10 rating.
#94 - Nick Erb - Junior - Right Wing - London, Ontario - Concordia Univ. at Wisconsin (NCHA, NCAA Division III)
Member of the 2017 Academic All-NCHA team as a sophomore...6+9=15 scoring totals in 25 games last season...12+17=29 in 51 career games for the Falcons...scored 43 points, including 23 goals, in 53 games for the Aurora Tigers of the OJHL.
#74 Dean Hewines - Freshman - Left Defense - Troy, Mich. - Fairbanks Ice Dogs (North American Hockey League, NAHL)
Played on Raven Cup/Division championship team...participated in the NAHL Showcase...had 18 assists among 22 points in 56 appearances for the Ice Dogs last season...also skated in the Central Canada Hockey League in 2015-16.
57 Joshua Owings - Freshman - Defense - Saline, Mich. - Cowichan Valley Capitals (British Columbia Hockey League, BCHL)
Racked up 41 assists and 45 points in his two seasons on the Capitals' blue line...was a state champion in hockey.
The senior class has gone 68-15-6 (.798), won 87.9 of its conference games, captured five NCHA regular-season and Harris Cup crowns, and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament under fourth-year head coach Adam Krug '12
In other program news, there will be a Halloween costume contest for Saturday (7:30 p.m.) when the Bulldogs host Team USA. During the second intermission, the contest is open to all ages. Prizes will be awarded to the top three costumes including a $40 voucher to the Pro Shop, two tickets to an upcoming Adrian College hockey game and a wing combo dinner from WOW Café. As well, all kids who take part in the contest will be able to go inside the Bulldogs' locker room and meet their favorite players following the game. Contestants will be judged during the second intermission. Sign up at the ticket table located in the lobby of Arrington Ice Arena.
The season starts in earnest on Friday, Nov. 3 at NCHA foe Lawrence University, before the Bulldogs have their home opener against NCAA newcomer Trine University on Saturday, Nov. 18 (7:05 p.m.).
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