Special Teams Lift Nationally-Ranked Men's Hockey to 3-1 NCHA Victory at Aurora

Junior defenseman Joey Colatarci (#77) scored the game-winning goal of Adrian's 3-1 NCHA road win at Aurora Saturday. (Action photo by Patrick Stewart)
Junior defenseman Joey Colatarci (#77) scored the game-winning goal of Adrian's 3-1 NCHA road win at Aurora Saturday. (Action photo by Patrick Stewart)

AURORA, Ill.—Senior Trevor Boyd and junior Joey Colatarci scored power play goals to back up a 14-save performance from sophomore goalie Nikita Babintsev to power the nationally-ranked Adrian men's hockey team to a 3-1 victory Saturday over host Aurora in Northern Collegiate Hockey Association action.

THE BASICS
= Final Score: Adrian College 3, Aurora University 1

= Location: Fox Valley Ice Arena; Geneva, Ill.

= Records: Adrian Bulldogs 11-5-1 overall (6-3-1 NCHA South Division); Aurora Spartans 8-9 overall (5-5 NCHA South Division)

= National Rankings: Adrian--#7 United States College Hockey Online (180 points) and #6 D3hockey.com (201) polls

TOP 'DAWGS
= Boyd finished with a pair of goals, including a shorthander in the third period.

= Babintsev earns his second career victory in this, his 2018-19 season debut.

= Senior Connor Armour led Adrian in the face-off circle by winning 11 of 19 draws and he had one assist.

THE OPPOSITION
= Roberts Baranovskis scored Aurora's lone tally.

= Jack DeMatteo earned an assist on the Baranovskis goal.

= Josh Boyko made 28 saves.

= Connor Chilton was 7-for-11 on face-offs and Liam Stirtzinger went 9-for-15. 

HOW IT HAPPENED
= Colatarci broke a 1-1 deadlock with just 11 seconds left in the second period when his shot from the point went through traffic and into the back of the net. Classmate Dino Balsamo and freshman Rex Moe were credited with assists on the Bulldogs' second power play goal of the day.

= Adrian added an insurance goal at the 12:43 mark of the third period while killing off a penalty. Senior Cameron Cooper backhanded a pass off the boards out of his defensive zone, as Boyd collected the puck near center ice and then got loose for a mini-breakaway. He beat the AU netminder to his right from the right circle to make it 3-1.

= Baranovskis staked Aurora to a 1-0 lead with 6 minutes and 11 second remaining in the first period.

= Boyd knotted the score 1-1 64 seconds into the second with the Bulldogs on the power play. He redirected a shot from the point by senior defenseman Braden Hellems and the scoring play started with Armour at the right face-off circle.

= The Bulldogs held a commanding shots on goal advantage, 31-15.

= Adrian went 2-for-5 on the power play and killed off all five Aurora man-advantages.

= Holding onto a 2-1 lead in the third period, Adrian had two huge penalty-kills after freshman Jared Domin was first whistled off for a five-minute major cross-checking penalty and then a two-minute minor for the same infraction on his next shift. Babintsev made two saves, the Adrian defense blocked three shots and AU hit the post during the combined seven minutes on the two power plays to keep the Spartans from tying the game late.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
= The Spartans have lost four in a row.

= Adrian now leads the all-time series 7-0, including 4-0 at Aurora.

= Boyd, who is Adrian's active career goal-scorer with 62, passes (Mathew Thompson, 61 from 2014-17) for fifth place on the school's all-time list.

= With the two-goal victory, Adrian snaps a four-game road winless streak (0-3-1) dating to a 7-5 win at Trine on Nov. 17. That's the longest such streak in the program's history in true road games.

= The Bulldogs improve their power play to 26.5 percent on 26 goals in 98 opportunities, which is first in the NCHA. That's ranks eighth in NCAA Division III.

UP NEXT
= Adrian returns home next weekend to host NCHA foes MSOE (Friday at 7:05 p.m.) and Concordia-Wisconsin (Saturday at 4:05 p.m.) in the friendly confines of Arrington Ice Arena.

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