ADRIAN, Mich. – The Bulldogs met the Falcons of Concordia (Wis.) Friday night in the first round of the NCHA Slaats Cup Playoffs. The Bulldogs and Falcons met last Saturday, February 22 and the two teams drew a 2-2 tie. Friday night saw more of this even play as the teams needed a sudden death over time to decide who would advance to the semi-finals. CUW pulled their goalie to tie the game 5-5 with 1:04 remaining. The Bulldogs took over in the extra period as Hannah McGowan scored just 6:33 into the period to win the game and send Adrian home victorious, 6-5.
The first period saw the Falcons score just 2:05 into the game to take an early 1-0 lead. The Falcons carried the lead throughout the period until Danielle Smith scored her ninth goal of the year unassisted to tie the game, 1-1 with 1:04 left in the period on a delayed penalty that gave the Bulldogs an extra attacker.
The second period saw CUW take the lead once again as the Falcons scored on a power play at the 6:17 mark. Adrian then responded as they would score three goals before the CUW could respond to take a 4-2 lead. The first came from Kelsey Kusch as she scored her 21st of the year from Alix Vallee and Danielle Smith at the 8:33 mark to tie the game, 2-2. Lauren Turner then gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead at the 9:26 mark as she scored her fourth of the season from Kaylyn Schroka. Sarah Shureb then brought the Adrian lead to 4-2 with 4:46 left in the period as she scored her eighth of the year from Sydney Smith and Danielle Smith. This capped the second period as the Bulldogs headed into the third period with a two-goal lead.
The third period started with the Falcons narrowing the Bulldog lead to one as CUW scored a power play goal just 1:46 into the period. Adrian then brought its lead back to two goals as Kusch scored her second of the game and 22nd of the season from Hannah McGowan and Danielle Smith at the 8:32 mark. CUW refused to quit as the Falcons once again cut the Adrian lead to one as CUW scored its second power play goal of the night with 6:09 left in regulation. The two teams fought hard for the remainder of the period as Adrian looked to take its victory after 60 minutes and the Falcons tried desperately to even the score. CUW pulled their goalie with 1:17 left in the game and scored just 13 seconds later with an extra skater to tie the game, 5-5 and force overtime.
Overtime saw the teams trade shots over the first five minutes of play until two penalties at the 5:18 mark left the teams skating four-on-four. This four-on-four lasted until the 6:33 mark when a line change led to an opportunity for Hannah McGowan to put one just under the crossbar unassisted and send the Bulldogs to Lake Forest and the NCHA Slaats Cup semifinals.
Jade Walsh made the start in the net for the Bulldogs as she made seven saves and allowed two goals in just over 26 minutes of action. Brooke Gibson replaced Walsh and saw 40:16 of ice time as she made 16 saves and improved her 2013-14 record to 7-2.
The Bulldogs will head to Lake Forest, Ill. Friday, March 7 for the NCHA Slaats Cup semifinals with the finals set for March 8.