ADRIAN, Mich. – The undefeated No. 3 (USCHO.com) Adrian College men's hockey team improved to 7-0 by beating Saint Mary's University, 7-3, Saturday night at the Arrington Ice Arena in a non-conference game. Lukas Ciotti had three goals and Shaquille Merasty two to lead Adrian.
The Bulldogs scored four unanswered goals to break a tie game after the Cardinals rallied with two goals in the second period for a 3-3 score.
"We were off our game in the second period," said Bulldogs coach Ron Fogarty.
"They came at us in the second with a timely power-play goal and then they slid one by us when we had some confusion behind our net."
In all, 11 different players accounted for 20 points for the nation's most potent offense in D III NCAA hockey (tied for first with Oswego at 6.43 goals per game) and one of only three remaining unbeaten DIII teams nationally (Oswego and Norwich are the others).
Saint Mary's got on the board first, mid-way through the first period, but the Bulldogs responded with a pair of goals from Merasty and Ciotti to take a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
Ciotti got his second power-play goal of the game, four minutes into the second period to spot the Bulldogs a two-goal cushion at 3-1, but Saint Mary's (4-3) got a power-play goal with a two-man advantage with a shot from the left point.
The Cardinals were able to tie the game at 3 when Hamby got caught behind the net with his defense which allowed Saint Mary's to score into an unguarded net.
It took the Bulldogs less than two minutes to respond as Ciotti netted his third of the night to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead after two periods.
"(Duston)Hebebrand, (Kevin) Balas and Ciotti have been playing great for us through seven games," said Fogarty.
Adrian looked a step quicker and more poised than the pesky Cardinal team. The Bulldogs were able to control most of the play with precision passing and good positioning.
The Bulldogs outshot Saint Mary's 48-21, and dominated faceoffs by a similar margin.
The night's top point getters were Ciotti (3 goals) and Josh Cousineau (3 assists) with three. Merasty (2 goals), Ranalli (1 goal, 1 assist), Shelby Gray (2 assists), Ryan Gieseler (2 assists), and Kevin Balas (2 assists) all had multiple-point performances; while Chris Leone, Duston Hebebrand, Justin Basso, and Graham all pitched in with a point apiece.
Hamby, who was named Michigan Collegiate Hockey Association co-Defensive Player of the Week was credited with the win because he was the goaltender of record when the game-winning goal was scored. Hamby appeared solid in relief with some tough key saves that included a pad save on a penalty shot.
Although the Bulldogs lead the MCHA with individual leaders in rookie scoring, assists, goals, goals-against average, save percentage, and points; they also hold those same positions nationally at the one, two, three, four, five and six spots, respectively.
Merasty leads all freshmen nationally in points per game (1.71) and is third in the nation in goals per game (1.29). Cousineau ranks second nationally in assists per game (1.57), while Hamby's goals-against average (0.98) is fourth and save percentage (.953) fifth amongst all D III netminders. Ranalli's 1.86 points per game ranks sixth nationally.
Next up for the team is a pair of home games against MCHA South division opponent Concordia, next weekend. The team will play Friday and Saturday with the first game on the last day of November (30th) at 7 p.m., and the second game on the first day of December at 3 p.m.