ADRIAN, Mich. – The Adrian College men's hockey team entered their final regular-season weekend against a very hot Lake Forest College squad. The Bulldogs in second place took on the third place Foresters who had their 10-game unbeaten and nine-game winning streak halted by the final score of 4-2 at Arrington Ice Arena. The second-ranked Bulldogs returned to form against a quality opponent and after falling behind 1-0 ended up scoring four straight goals.
Jack Lewis scored his 10th goal of the season on a right wing shot to the near post at 10:12 of the opening period to give Lake Forest a 1-0 lead. It was the fifth straight game that an opponent scored the first goal against the Bulldogs. Anthony Annunziato and Ben Certo had assists on the Lewis goal which came on their third shot on goal.
It took just 3:36 for the Bulldogs to answer as Ryan Lowe scored his fifth of the season with assists by Micki Mihailovich and Duston Hebebrand. Lowe took a shot off the left post and the puck rebounded off the back of the goaltender's legs to tie the contest. Senior captain Zach Wilson gave Adrian a 2-1 lead just 47 seconds later for his fourth goal of the season. Wilson's goal was assisted by fellow senior Josh Cousineau and came off a scramble in front of the net.
After the Wilson goal both teams skated to a scoreless second period, but the Foresters did provide more scoring chances in the middle 20 minutes. LFC had just five shots in the first but 14 in the second. Adrian killed off three power play chances in the first two periods. Freshman Jeremy Olinyk provided a little breathing room for the Bulldogs at the 5:02 mark of the third. Olinyk's sixth goal of the season came after Kevin Balas charged the net and put a shot on net. Olinyk gathered the rebound and just put the puck over the goal line. Rob Heath also had an assist on the game-winning goal which was reviewed by the officials and allowed to stand.
The Foresters had a good opportunity to cut into the lead as they were given a power play at 10:11 after a tripping call against Ryan Gieseler. The Bulldogs won the faceoff in their own end and Lowe fired a perfect pass between the circles to a streaking Hebebrand. The junior from Waterloo, Ontario split two defenders to take the puck at mid-ice and then went one-on-one with the goaltender beating him stick side inside the left post for a 4-1 lead. The first short-handed goal of the season for Adrian came 10 seconds into the penalty kill and was Hebebrand's 17th goal of the season. He now has scored in four straight games for the Bulldogs.
Lake Forest had a 5-on-3 opportunity for 13 seconds after a timeout was called by the Foresters at 11:59. The Bulldogs essentially sealed the win by allowing just two shots on goal as LFC finished the game 0-for-5. The Foresters did round out the scoring at the 16:25 mark as Robert Wiener scored his first of the season from Annunziato and Lewis.
Adrian's James Hamby excelled particularly in the second period making several nice saves. He finished with 27 saves on the night and improved to 10-1-3 this season and 29-4-4 in his career. Leo Podolsky made 31 saves and lost for just the second time this season (12-2-1). The same two teams will skate in the regular season finale tomorrow at 3 p.m. as the 2013-14 senior class will be honored. Wilson and Cousineau have combined to play 172 games in their careers and Cousineau will suit up his 100th game on Saturday and has 112 points, which ranks 10th in school history. The Bulldogs are also needing help from Northland College if they want to capture another conference regular season title. Adrian won six consecutive MCHA regular season crowns and is in their first year of the NCHA. Adrian has 29 points (13-1-3) and trails St. Norbert (15-2, 30 points) by one point. The Green Knights and LumberJacks will face-off at 5:30 p.m. eastern meaning the Bulldogs will be able to conclude their game and sit back and hope for the best. It might be a long-shot however as No. 1 St. Norbert cruised to a 10-0 win over Northland tonight in De Pere, Wisconsin.