ADRIAN, Mich. — The Adrian Bulldogs (10-4, 8-1 MCHA) survived a late surge by the Lawrence University Vikings (5-6-3, 4-2-3 MCHA) as they clawed out a 3-2 victory Friday night.
In a game that saw Adrian jump out to a 3-0 lead halfway through the second, a resilient Viking team and an undisciplined third period by the Bulldogs almost lead to Lawrence defeating the Bulldogs for the first time in history.
“We played a very strong 60 minutes tonight,” said Vikings coach Mike Szkodzinski. “In the end, Adrian just buried one more than we did.”
Lawrence came out strong in the first period getting opportunities right off the bat, but Adrian goaltender Scott Shackell stood tall holding the Vikings scoreless in the first period.
The Bulldogs got the only goal of the first period at the 9:11 mark of the period when Jordan Principalli found Kevin Balas on the back door to give Adrian a 1-0 lead.
The rest of the period did not result in anymore goals being scored, but it did provide physical back-and-forth hockey.
“We have traditionally played a physical style of play,” said Szkodzinski. “We just tried to play our style of play tonight.”
In the second period, the physicality continued from both side and the penalties began to rack up for both teams as 12 penalties were handed out between both teams. The Bulldogs once again took advantage of the opportunities they were given as the period was still young.
Principalli squeaked a shot from the top of the circles through the legs of Peter Emery just over a minute into the second period to give Adrian a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs and Vikings continued to trade opportunities on the power play throughout the period, but it was the Bulldogs’ power play that was able to cash in. Shelby Gray blasted one past Emery at the 10:29 mark of the period to push the lead to 3-0 Adrian.
At the end of two periods, Adrian led 3-0, despite being outshot 21-17.
In the third period, it was penalties that almost doomed Adrian as a pair of power-play goals just under two minutes apart by the Vikings cut the lead to 3-2.
“Anytime you take a lot of penalties, it’s going to hurt you,” said Adrian coach Ron Fogarty.
A major penalty for elbowing to Dustin Heberbrand started off an almost four-minute stretch of a 5-on-3 power play for the Vikings as Grant Telfer and Zach Wilson took penalties before Heberbrand’s penalty was up.
The Vikings got their first goal of the game with just under 20 seconds left on the first 5-on-3 when a blast from the point by Erik Soderlund found its way just over the right shoulder of Shackell. The Vikings would strike again to cut the Adrian lead to one goal just under two minutes later. The second Viking goal came just as Hebebrand’s penalty expired, but before he could get into the play as Matt Hughes beat a sprawling Shackell.
The Vikings pushed hard and came close to tying the game several times, but Shackell and the Bulldogs shut the door.
“In the third period, we were in survival mode,” stated Fogarty.
For the Bulldogs the play of Shackell was a big part of the win, as Shackell made 35 saves on 37 shots.
“”Shackell had a great game tonight,” said Fogarty. “He made some big saves for us on breakaways and weird angle shots out of the corner. Tomorrow afternoon is big. If guys are looking ahead to the next few weekends [Marian, Milwaukee School of Engineering], they won’t be in the lineup. Plain and simple, we need to win tomorrow.”
Tomorrow afternoon, Adrian and Lawrence will finish the weekend series as the puck drops at 3 p.m.