ADRIAN, Mich.--The 2018-19 edition of the Adrian College men's hockey team will open its 12th season of NCAA Division III competition this weekend in Utica, N.Y., where the Bulldogs will take on Utica College this weekend at 3,850-seat Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in a match-up of nationally-ranked squads. According to the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO.com) preseason poll, Adrian is No. 3 with 252 points and one first-place vote while the host Pioneers are rated seventh with 143 points. Here's a preview of the contests, which are scheduled for Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (5 p.m.):
TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Adrian returns 16 skaters and two goalies from last season's squad that finished 24-6 overall and 17-1 for first place in the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association South Division.
- The Bulldogs won their fourth-consecutive NCHA Peters Cup regular-season championship and advanced to the conference tournament final for the 10th time in 11 seasons of their existence.
- Adrian also made its sixth NCAA tournament appearance in a row and eighth in school history.
- The Bulldogs are led by three-year AHCA/CCM All-America senior captain Cory Dunn (3+27=30 scoring totals in 2017-18) on defense. He is joined by All-NCHA senior performers left wing Trevor Boyd (17+11=28), goalie Kevin Entmaa (16-4 W-L, 1.88 GAA, .932 Save%), right wing/center Bryan Yim (8+11=19) and center Connor Armour (1+5=6).
- Adrian and Utica have met only one previous time, with the Bulldogs coming away with a 2-1 home victory on Jan. 6, 2018.
- Twelve newcomers dot the 30-man roster, including a pair of NCAA Division I transfers who are juniors. Coming closer to home are right wing Bryce Van Horn (Port Huron, Mich./Colorado College, NCHC) and right defenseman Niko Coffman (Chelsea, Mich. /Bowling Green State University, WCHA).
- Dunn needs three points to become just the third AC blueliner to surpass 100 career points (18+79=97). He would become the 15th player in school history to complete the feat.
- Armour was limited to nine games because of injury last season. He was the 2016 USCHO Division III Men's Rookie of the Year, and has career scoring totals of 14+48=62 in 58 games.
- The Bulldogs were picked to finish in second place in the NCHA race, receiving two first-place votes among 112 points behind defending national champion and top-ranked St. Norbert (119 points, 10 1st-place votes)
- Head coach Adam Krug '12 enters his fifth season at the helm, leading the Bulldogs to a 92-21-6 (.798) overall mark, four NCAA appearances, four NCHA Peters Cup regular-season titles, two Harris Cup championships and a 67-7-2 conference mark for an .888 winning percentage. He is 2-2in season openers and 3-1 in road openers. In its history, Adrian is 5-1-1 when opening the season on the road. (The Bulldogs have started at home four times.)
- The Pioneers, who were also recently selected to repeat as the United Collegiate Hockey Conference champions in the preseason coaches' poll, tied a school record with 21 wins last season, and won the UCHC regular-season with a 12-4-0 record.
- Posted the nation's second best scoring offense and power play last year on their way to the inaugural UCHC tournament title, which was also their first postseason title in school history.
- Utica will be led by a crop of returners that includes UCHC Rookie of the Year Conor Landrigan (14+13=27, 26 GP in 2017-18) and senior captain Gregg Burmaster (10+16=26, 26).
- Goalie Gianluca Baggetta played all 60 minutes for the second straight night in an exhibition against Endicott Sunday and posted 24 saves in the win. Baggetta allowed just one goal in two games against the Gulls this weekend and he totaled 64 saves.
- UC outscored Endicott 13-1 over the course of two exhibition games. Endicott was an NCAA quarterfinalist in 2016-17 and has averaged 22 wins over the course of the last two years.
- Landrigan led the way for the Pioneers this weekend with three goals and three assists in two exhibition games. Burmaster added two goals and two assists in Saturday's 8-0 win.
- Head coach Gary Heenan (Hamilton College '97) is 245-160-43 (.595) in 17 seasons during his career--all at Utica.
- The Pioneers hosted the 2017 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship, where Adrian lost a 5-4 overtime thriller to eventual national champion Norwich in the National Semifinals.
LAST TIME OUT
- Adrian saw its 2017-18 season come to a close after losing a hard-fought 5-2 decision to No. 3-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the NCAA Quarterfinals at Arrington Ice Arena; the Pointers are currently No. 2 in the USCHO preseason poll with 258 points.
- The Bulldogs moved to 21-16-2 all-time versus nationally-ranked opponents during the Krug era.
LAST TIME OUT...vs UTICA
- Entmaa made 33 stops on 34 shots he faced, while Yim tied the game 1-1 and Braden Hellems, Dunn had assists in the game.
- National Rankings were Adrian--#8 USCHO.com and #7 D3hockey.com polls; Utica--#10 USCHO and #10 D3hockey.
- Adrian outshot the Pioneers 41 to 34 and won 37 of 72 face-offs. The Bulldogs' power-play unit went 1-for-3. Utica also scored a power-play goal.
Adrian will return home to Arrington for NCHA opening weekend against Lawrence (Friday at 7:05 p.m.) and Marian-Wis. (Saturday at 3:05 p.m.). For tickets, click on the link.
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