ADRIAN, Mich. — On a day that honored the four seniors on the Adrian College roster, it was a pair of sophomores who came up big for Adrian, as they downed Finlandia 2-0. The Bulldogs (21-1-3, 17-0-3 MCHA) finished off the third season in the program’s six-year history without suffering a loss in conference play. For Finlandia (7-18, 7-12 MCHA) the loss marked the end of the season for an up-and-coming team.
“We needed the win today; this was playoff hockey for us,” said Finlandia’s John McCabe after the game.
It looked early on like the Lions just might be able to pick up the needed points, but Adrian’s James Hamby stood tall in net, stopping everything thrown his way.
“We made a few adjustments from last night, and I thought we played a heck of a game, but tonight we just couldn’t put [the puck] in the ocean,” McCabe commented.
“Hamby has been great lately, and we really haven’t given him any offensive support in his last three games,” Adrian coach Ron Fogarty said. “He really kept us in the game at times in the first.”
As the second period got underway, it appeared the Bulldogs offense would get on the board, but Finlandia’s Troy Chandler shut the door.
“He’s given us a chance in every game this season; he has been our backbone all year, and has played great game in and game out,” McCabe said of Chandler.
Adrian controlled the play in the third, peppering the Finlandia net with shots. The nation’s highest-scoring offense would not be denied, as Lukas Ciotti picked up a loose rebound in front of the net after an Andrew Dovey shot and sent a laser into the top corner for the game-winning goal with 34.9 seconds remaining.
The Lions took a timeout, but Zach Graham put the final nail in the coffin with his empty-net goal with four seconds left on the board.
“It was a tight game, and we knew we needed shots,” said Ciotti. “We wanted to get quick shots off the draw when he (Chandler) wasn’t expecting them. Luckily, Dovey was able to pull the puck out of Hebebrand’s skates and get a quick shot. I went to the front, found the rebound, and made no mistake putting it past the goaltender.”