ADRIAN, Mich. — A pair of power-play goals, including one from Doug Clifford with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third period, and another strong performance from Scott Shackell in net, powered the Adrian Bulldogs past the Lawrence Vikings, 3-2, for the second straight game.
“Today we won the special teams battle, and in college hockey if you can do that, you will give yourself a great chance to win hockey games,” said Adrian coach Ron Fogarty.
Both teams knew coming into the game that special teams would play a role in Saturday’s contest, after a total of 24 penalties were handed out Friday night.
Lawrence got the scoring started after killing off a five-on-three when Derek Brickan beat Shackell to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead. Both teams traded chances throughout a physical first period, but Brickan’s goal was the only one when the first frame ended.
In the second period, Adrian’s Zach Graham netted a pair of goals, including one on a power play, just under three minutes apart to put Adrian up by a score of 2-1.
“Zach was the best player on the ice for us today,” Fogarty said.
Adrian held the lead for the majority of the second period, but a late five-on-three goal from the Vikings tied the game at two just before the second intermission.
The third period again saw back and forth action between the two teams and the score remained tied until the Bulldogs power play struck for the second time on the night. Doug Clifford scored at the 10:07 mark of the period on a wraparound goal to put the Bulldogs up 3-2. Lawrence got several chances throughout the period, but was unable to solve Shackell.
“In the end, the difference was their goaltender made some big saves down the stretch and ours didn’t” stated Lawrence coach Mike Szkodzinski. “We played 50 of the 60 minutes strong, and it was the 10 that we took off that hurt us.”
Shackell is quickly becoming a player the Bulldogs can rely on, as he ended up making 29 saves on 31 shots on the day for the Bulldogs, including some big saves on several occasions on the five-on-three.
“Shackell played really well for us today again,” said Fogarty.
At the end of the night, special teams were the key for the Bulldogs and an old school approach, along with some tweaking, proved to be the difference.
“We went with a different approach today on the power play; we just wanted to get pucks to the net, and throw some big bodies in front,” said Graham.