Men's Hockey One Win Away from Fifth Straight MCHA Title

Chris Stansik
Chris Stansik

HANCOCK, Mich. - The men's hockey team got a 40-minute scare on Friday, Feb. 17 as they hold the key to their own fifth straight MCHA regular season championship. The Bulldogs (18-5-1, 16-2-1) trailed 4-3 heading into the final period needing a win to keep pace over MSOE in the conference standings. Adrian scored four goals in the third en route to a 7-5 win over the Lions on their home ice.

Finlandia got off to a 2-0 lead just 6:39 into the game and Adrian was on their heels. The leadership of Zach Graham rose to the occasion with a goal at 8:09 on the power play to cut the lead to 2-1. It was his 13th goal of the season with assists from Jordan Watts and Justin Basso. The Lions upped their lead to 3-1 at 10:56 as Warren Webster found the back of the net and prompted Adrian goaltender Scott Shackell to have a seat on the bench. James Hamby entered and calmed down the position finishing with 11 saves over the last 50:11.

The Bulldogs cut the lead to 3-2 after one period as Andrew Dovey scored his sixth goal of the season from Duston Hebebrand and Josh Ranalli. Adrian outshot Finlandia, 13-8, in the first period.

Webster's second goal of the game at 6:09 of the second period increased the lead again to two goals at 4-2. Watts cut the lead in half at 9:54 on the power play 4-on-3 for his 12th goal of the season from Chris Stansik and Shelby Gray. Gray then tied the game at 4-4 at 0:21 into the third period for his 10th goal of the campaign. The 5-on-3 chance gave Adrian their third power play goal of the contest.

Just 35 seconds after tying the game, Adrian took a 5-4 lead as Josh Cousineau scored his 11th goal of the season unassisted. Graham's second goal of the game proved to be the game-winner at 2:20 of the third from Ryan Gieseler and Basso. Justin Scott got Finlandia within a goal at 6-5 with 5:26 left in the game on the power play. The Bulldogs sealed the important win as Zach Wilson scored into an empty net with 28 seconds to go for his fifth goal of the season.

Adrian finished with 39 shots on goal compared to 18 for the Lions. The Bulldogs were 3-of-5 on the power play while Finlandia went 2-of-4. Adrian remained two points ahead of MSOE with just tomorrow's regular season finale looming. The Raiders beat Northland 3-0 on Friday and now Adrian wins tomorrow in the second game against Finlandia and they the top-seed in the upcoming Harris Cup playoff and their fifth straight regular season conference title.

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