ADRIAN, Mich. - In one of the more anticipated matchups on the national schedule on Friday night, Adrian College and the College of St. Scholastica battled it out to a 1-1 tie at Arrington Ice Arena in the first meeting between the schools. No. 1 Adrian trailed for most of the contest and used a third-period goal to keep their unbeaten streak alive this season (13-0-3, 7-0-2 NCHA). No. 15 St. Scholastica (9-3-4, 6-0-3 NCHA) came into tonight's game and used timely goaltending and defense to earn the respect of the home crowd.
The Saints played very well in the first period as Adrian could not generate very many scoring chances. Brandon Nowakowski benefitted from a turnover on defense by the Bulldogs as he stayed in the zone behind the defense and got a pass from Alex Valenti. Nowakowski's ninth goal of the season was a one-on-one against Adrian netminder Scott Shackell and he put the backhand shot into the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead at the 10:55 mark.
CSS outshot the Bulldogs, 14-9, in the first period but Adrian seemed to pick up their energy and intensity in the second period. Although the Bulldogs could not score in the second, they had far better scoring chances and a 11-9 edge in shots during the middle stanza.
Adrian got their first power play chance just eight seconds into the third period as the Bulldogs won the faceoff and Josh Cousineau was tripped heading to the net in front of the Saints' defense. Derek Hills went to the box but the Bulldogs could not convert with just one shot on goal during the two minutes. The Bulldogs killed off two minor penalties in the second period in a very evenly played game on both sides.
Tyler Bruggeman and Shackell were trading big saves all night and finally Adrian got one past Bruggeman at 6:01 of the third as Kevin Balas scored his fourth of the season from Jeremy Olinyk and Austin Hervey. Olinyk raced up the far boards and put a pass right on the tape of a cutting Balas to the front of the net. Balas used a quick one-timer to beat Bruggeman above the glove.
The Bulldogs outshot the Saints, 3-2, in overtime and both teams finished with 35 shots on net. Shackell and Bruggeman each stopped 34 shots on the night as two of the nation's top goaltenders stepped up in a big game for both teams. Adrian has 16 points in the NCHA and is tied with St. Norbert (8-1) after the Green Knights defeated Concordia (Wis.) on Friday. St. Scholastica is just one point behind the front-runners. The same two teams will compete on Saturday at 3 p.m.