ADRIAN, Mich. - The outcome was a win, but the process getting to that win made fans uncomfortable on Friday night (Jan. 13) as the men's hockey team won 3-2 over Lawrence University despite having to hold on in the third period due to several trips to the penalty box.
The Bulldogs (10-4, 8-1 MCHA) returned home for the first time since late November and ended a two-game losing streak at Arrington Ice Arena with their 11th win in 11 tries all-time against the Vikings. It seemed to be another breeze for the Bulldogs who had a 3-0 lead after two periods. Freshman forward Kevin Balas converted on a nice pass from sophomore defenseman Jordan Principalli at the 9:11 mark of the first period to give AC a 1-0 lead. Senior defenseman Chris Stansik playing in his 99th career game got the first of his two assists on the goal and upped his career assist total to 89 in the game.
Principalli scored his first collegiate goal at the 1:01 mark of the second period with an assist from junior forward Zach Graham. Principalli took a slapper from the right circle area at even strength to give AC a 2-0 lead. Freshman forward Shelby Gray used his powerful slapshot to score at 10:29 on the power play for his seventh goal of the season with assists from Stansik and freshman forward Josh Ranalli. The team worked the puck on the 5-on-4 to the rookie sniper who found the net for the fourth time on the man advantage this season.
The game changed gears in the third period as Lawrence began to play a more physical game and bait the Bulldogs into taking penalties to get back into the contest. Adrian recorded 17 penalty minutes in the third and the Vikings went 2-for-3 on the power play. Prior to that the Vikings went 0-for-5 in the first two periods on the power play. Erik Soderlund cut the lead to 3-1 at the 10:08 mark on a 5-on-3 for his first goal of the season with assists by Jameson Raymond and Phil Bushbacher. Soderlund ripped a slapshot over the shoulder of Adrian goaltender Scott Shackell.
Lawrence leading goal scorer Matt Hughes notched his 10th of the season at 12:07 from the left circle on a one-timer on the 5-on-4 with an assist from William Thoren to cut the lead to 3-2. The Bulldogs remained out of the box for the rest of the contest and held on for the win despite being outshot 38-26 in the game including 17-9 in the third.
Shackell improved to 6-2 in net during his freshman campaign and had to make some stressful saves on a couple of breakaways throughout the contest. He finished with 36 saves just one short of his career-high.