Men's Hockey Doubled Up by Host Marian 6-3 in NCHA Opener

Dino Balsamo battles for a face-off. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Dino Balsamo battles for a face-off. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

FOND DU LUC, Wis.--Adrian jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, but host Marian (Wis.) scored four in the third to double up the Bulldogs, 6-3, in a Northern Collegiate Hockey Association men's cross-divisional season opener on Friday night.

THE BASICS
= Final Score: Marian University (Wisconsin) 6 Adrian College 3

= Location: Blue Line Family Ice Center; Appleton, Wis.

= Records: Marian Sabres 2-0 overall (1-0 NCHA North Division); Adrian Bulldogs, 1-1-1 overall (0-1 NCHA South Division) 

= National Rankings: Adrian--No. 8 United States College Hockey Online (171 points); Marian--"receiving votes" by USCHO.com with 12 points

TOP 'DAWGS
= Senior Dino Balsamo led all skaters with three points on two goals and an assist. He was 10-for-20 on face-offs.

= Sophomore Andrew Bellant registered two assists.

Alessio Luciani won nine of 18 face-offs.

THE OPPOSITION
= Blaine Caton scored twice and went 13-for-19 on face-offs.

= Reigning 2019 NCHA Player of the Year and All-America goalie Hunter Vorva stopped 30 of 33 shots he faced.

= Dylan Hutton tied for the game lead with three points--all assists.

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Adrian started 2-0 on first-period goals by Balsamo on the power play at the 3:08 mark and again at 18:40.

= In the second period, Troy Ring got Marian on the scoreboard at the 8:01 mark before Caton tied it 2-all with a power play marker at 14:19.

= The Sabres took their first lead at 3:44 of the third period again on the man-advantage, this time scored by Conner Blanck.

= Adrian tied it 3-3 less than four minutes later with a power play tally of its own off the stick of senior Vincent Paquette.

= Marian, however, reclaimed the lead for good 46 seconds later with a goal by Ty Enns.

= Late in the contest, Nathan Walker scored on the power play and Gianni Vitali added an empty-net goal with Marian shorthanded to add some insurance and account for the final margin.

= Adrian outshot Marian by a 33 to 26 count.

= The teams combined for five power play goals in 12 attempts, with the Bulldogs going 2-for-6 and the Sabres at 3-for-6. 

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Despite the loss, Adrian still holds a commanding lead in the all-time series over Marian at 25-4-2. The Sabres beat the Bulldogs back-to-back for the first time.

= Balsamo and Bellant share the AC lead with five points apiece. The former has a team-best three goals while the latter owns a team-high four assists.

UP NEXT
= Adrian and Marian close out their two-game series tomorrow with a 5 p.m. Eastern puckdrop.

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