ADRIAN, Mich. — After a disappointing weekend for the Adrian Bulldogs last weekend, they looked to take their frustration out on the Lake Forest Foresters Friday night at home.
Balanced scoring and strong play by freshman goalie Scott Shackell led the Bulldogs to a 7-0 victory over Lake Forest.
The No. 4 Bulldogs (5-1, 4-1 MCHA) improved to 9-0 all-time against the Forresters (1-4, 1-4 MCHA). Three goals within 1:19 in the first period got the scoring started and took the wind out of the Lake Forest sails. Lake Forest had some opportunities early on, hitting a post just over a minute into the period, but was unable to take advantage of the opportunities they had.
“Our biggest issues were defensively,” said first-year Foresters coach Ryan McKelvie. “We were soft in front of our own net. We played tentative.”
Kyle Gallinger got the scoring started at the 7:24 mark of the first period when he took a drop pass from Ryan Lowe and beat Marc Stuart for his first of the season.
Josh Ranalli would get his first of the night just a minute later to put the score at 2-0. Ranalli took advantage of a loose rebound in front of the net as he put it up and over the glove of Stuart.
The flurry of Bulldog goals continued as Duston Hebebrand found a wide open Justin Basso in front of the net just 19 seconds later.
Chris Stansik would be the last Bulldog to cash in during the first period with a power-play tally with just 15 seconds left in the period. Josh Cousineau picked up a loose puck behind the net and found a wide open Stansik right in front of the net to put Adrian up 4-0 at the end of the first period.
“We knew in the first period we needed to get shots on net and we had to throw the puck on net from everywhere,” said Adrian coach Ron Fogarty. “The balanced scoring allowed us to roll through, giving us more scoring opportunities when playing 5-on-5.”
Playing 5-on-5 was a key for the Bulldogs as they wanted to make sure they stayed out of the box after amassing 76 penalty minutes last Friday.
In the second period, the Bulldogs continued to exploit a soft defensive zone coverage of the Foresters. Jordan Watts was able to take a pass from Ryan Lowe and pick his spot from the hash marks to put the Bulldogs up 5-0.
Later on in the period, Zach Graham also took advantage of the openness off the Forrester slot as he walked right through and tucked the puck around the outstretched leg of Stuart.
“We were just out-worked in our own zone,” stated a frustrated McKelvie. “The coverage in front of our net was soft. Our wings and weak side defense weren’t covering for the centers and ‘D,’ leaving an open gap there.”
As the Bulldogs continued to roll through, they kept exploiting this hole in the defense, but Stuart made some big saves in keeping the score at 6-0 as the second period wound down.
Ranalli’s second goal of the game ended up being the final nail in the coffin as it put Adrian up 7-0 at the 7:13 mark of the third period when he picked the pocket of the Forester defender behind the net and once again walked into the slot where he sent a laser into the top right corner for his fourth goal of the year.
The Bulldogs kept peppering Stuart the rest of the period, but were unable to get an eighth goal.
Shackell picked up the first shutout of his young collegiate career, stopping all 20 shots put on net.
“He’s still learning a lot from our goalie coach,” said Fogarty. “He’s learning to utilize his size (6-foot-4).”
Shackell was solid all night making some point-blank saves at times to keep Lake Forest off the scoreboard.
The two teams play again tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. to wrap up the weekend series.