Sam Ruffin Nets Pair as Bulldogs Shocked by Pioneers in Overtime Again

Sam Ruffin looks for a teammate in front of the goal. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)
Sam Ruffin looks for a teammate in front of the goal. (Action photo by Mike Dickie)

ADRIAN, Mich.--Adrian sophomore transfer Sam Ruffin potted a pair of goals, but Utica's Regen Cavanagh scored his second overtime game-winner in as many days to lift the Pioneers to a come-from-behind 4-3 non-conference men's hockey victory over the host Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon. 

THE BASICS
= Final Score: Utica College 4, Adrian College 3 (overtime)

= Location: Weston Rink at Arrington Ice Arena; Adrian, Mich.

= Updated Records: Utica Pioneers, 9-2-2; Adrian Bulldogs, 8-4-1 

= National Rankings: Adrian is No. 7 (166 points) by U.S. College Hockey Online for NCAA Division III; Utica is No. 11 (81) by USCHO.com

TOP 'DAWGS
Ruffin finished with five shots on goal and was 12-for-22 on face-offs.

= Sophomore Brandon Marinelli and freshman Zachary Heintz both chipped in two assists.

= Senior Dino Balsamo was solid in the face-off circle by winning 17 of 25 draws, leading all student-athletes in both categories.

= Freshman Alessio Luciani also helped Adrian control the face-off circle better than yesterday's contest, winning 10 of his 16 chances.  

THE OPPOSITION
= Cavanagh ended up with three points on two goals and an assist.

= Dante Zapata led Utica on face-offs with nine wins in 16 draws, and he also had an assist.

= Goalie Gianluca Baggetta stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced. 

HOW IT HAPPENED
= The day started well enough for the Bulldogs who outshot the Pioneers 17-4 to take a 2-0 lead after the first period. Senior defenseman Joey Colatarci scored his fourth goal of the season on a shot from the point after receiving a pass by sophomore Rex Moe from the right face-off circle. The power play goal came at 11 minutes and 34 seconds into the game. Then just 47 seconds later, Ruffin extended the lead by two goals with his fifth of the season on a feed from Heintz.

= Ruffin struck again just 15 seconds in the second period as Adrian led 3-0. Heintz again served up the primary assist.

= Utica scored three unanswered goals 9:10 apart to tie it up 3-3 by the end of the second period. Tyler Dill (8:32) and Buster Larsson (17:42) sandwiched power play goals around Cavanagh's first of two goals in the game coming at 13:38.

= The teams skated to a scoreless third period in which Utica held a slim 6-4 shots on goal margin.

= But Cavanagh got the game-winner 67 seconds--his third goal in the series--when he got behind a couple of AC defenseman and took a right-wing boards pass from Kjellkvist between the face-off circles to deke past the goalie and sent a backhanded shot across the goal line.

= Utica was 2-for-7 on power plays while Adrian was 1-for-3.

= Adrian had 33 shots to 20 for Utica on the day.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= Adrian still leads the all-time series over Utica, 3-2.

= The Bulldogs are 0-2-1 in overtime games this season. Adrian has played back-to-back overtime games for the first time since Jan. 10 and 16, 2015, and the last time the Bulldogs had consecutive OT home games was during the 2013-14 campaign.

= Sophomore transfer Andrew Bellant picked up an assist and now leads Adrian in that category with 14; he also tops the squad with 20 points.

= Marinelli posted two assists in each game this weekend--the first time he's had back-to-back multiple-point games in his career.

UP NEXT
= Adrian will host MSOE for a two-game Northern Collegiate Hockey Association series against the Raiders on Friday (7:05 p.m.) and Saturday (3:05 p.m.).

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