ADRIAN, Mich. – Junior forward Shelby Gray had been hampered by injury having missed eight games since Jan. 10, but broke out in the first game of the NCHA Harris Cup quarterfinals with two goals in a 3-0 win over Milwaukee School of Engineering. Gray last scored on Jan. 10 when he broke his jaw against St. Olaf and had played mainly on the power play since returning to the lineup on Feb. 7.
"It felt great to contribute instead of rooting for the guys from the bench," said Gray. "It was a long month off and it was nice to come through against an aggressive team and help the team win tonight."
Gray's first goal of the game gave Adrian a 1-0 lead at the 3:20 mark of the second period. The power play goal came on Adrian's first attempt and it was Gray's eighth of the season and fifth on the power play. He unleashed a blast from the point that went top shelf with assists from Josh Ranalli and Ryan Lowe. Adrian had a very good second with 15 shots compared to eight for the Raiders, but still led just 1-0 through 40 minutes.
The Bulldogs got their cushion at 1:19 of the third to take a 2-0 lead. Josh Cousineau's seventh of the season came on a backdoor one-timer to the left of the net with assists from Ranalli and Justin Basso. Adrian sealed it at 7:31 of the third as Gray scored on a rebound off a shot from Jeremy Olinyk in front of the net. Kevin Balas had the second assist on the goal which was Gray's first multi-goal game of the season.
MSOE finished 0-for-5 on the power play and managed just three shots. Adrian could not score on their final three power plays and also had three total shots. Nick Kohn made 32 saves for the Raiders falling to 2-12 in net this season. James Hamby posted his third shutout of the season and fifth of his career making 21 saves.
"We knew that they were going to come in playing hard because it is the playoffs and we wanted to match that intensity on defense," said Hamby. "We had a well-executed plan tonight blocking shots and then our forwards getting out and using our speed. I had been struggling a little bit recently, but my focus was right where it should have been all game."
The Bulldogs beat the Raiders for the fourth time in five games during the Harris Cup playoffs and the first time in the quarterfinals. Adrian has now outscored MSOE, 12-2, in three wins this season and improved to 26-3-2 in the series. It was the fourth shutout against MSOE in the series for Adrian and the first one since Feb. 6, 2009. The two teams will play again on Saturday at 4 p.m. If Adrian wins or ties, they will advance to the NCHA semifinals next Saturday, Mar. 1. If MSOE wins, a 20-minute mini-game will take place to determine who advances. If both teams are tied after 20 minutes in the mini-game, a sudden-death period(s) will occur until someone scores.