ADRIAN, Mich. - The men's hockey team showed a valiant effort against a quality opponent on Sunday afternoon (Mar. 4) in the MCHA Harris Cup Final. The game needed more than 60 minutes to decide things and in the end the four-year reign as Harris Cup champions ended for the Bulldogs with a 4-3 overtime loss to league rival Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Adrian and MSOE were supposed to be in the final after having the best records in the MCHA during the regular season. Both teams are in the South Division and the Bulldogs finished with two more points in the standings to earn their fifth straight overall regular season title. Adrian and MSOE had a riveting four-game series during the season with the Raiders going 2-1-1. MSOE had played extra time yesterday with a 3-2 overtime win over Marian in the semifinals while Adrian beat Lawrence 2-1.
The top ten battle got off to a fast start for the Raiders as they scored two goals in the first 4:24 of the game. Kyle Smith stole the puck along the boards in front of Adrian's bench and raced into the offensive zone. He scored an unassisted goal when his wrist shot beat Adrian goaltender Scott Shackell to his left at the 2:40 mark.
MSOE made it 2-0 just moments later on a 3-on-2 as Kevin Medina went top shelf off a pass from Devin Schmitt at 4:24 for his fourth goal of the season. Adrian did not panic on home ice and cut the lead to 2-1 at 7:52 as freshman Ryan Lowe tipped-in a shot from Chris Stansik to the right of MSOE goaltender Connor Toomey for his second goal of the season. Lukas Ciotti also had an assist on Lowe's goal.
Adrian tied the game in the second period scoring the only goal in the middle stanza. Jordan Watts notched his 13th goal of the year on the power play as he deflected a pass from Zach Graham on the right wing as he charged the net. Stansik got his second assist of the game on the tying goal at 1:38.
The tension began to build heavily in the third period as neither team could break the tie until the 10:46 mark when Jordan Keizer re-directed the puck into the top corner for his 22nd goal of the year with assists from Logan Bauman and Josh Keizer. The Bulldogs came right back at 13:25 as freshman Shelby Gray took a hard slapshot from straight on goal at the blue line for his 13th goal of the season from Stansik.
The Harris Cup Final game went into overtime for the first time since 2008 during Adrian's first season when the Bulldogs won 1-0 over Finlandia at Kern Center in Milwaukee. The Raiders got the big break in overtime when Bradley Tierney carried the puck past an Adrian defender and on a 2-on-1 shuffled it to Jordan Keizer. Keizer slipped the puck past Shackell at 5:09 to send the Raiders into the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Shackell made 31 saves for the Bulldogs while Toomey made 35 saves including four in overtime. Adrian went 1-of-5 on the power play while MSOE was 0-of-7. Stansik ends a great career at Adrian with 135 points including 102 assists for the defenseman from Livonia, Michigan. He leaves as the all-time leading scorer for a defensemen in MCHA history.