LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Adrian College men's hockey team entered the 2014-15 season with a new coach behind the bench, but the Bulldogs continue to win championships. Adrian defeated Lake Forest 6-2 on Friday night and captured their first Peters Cup as NCHA regular season champions. The Bulldogs won a league crown for the seventh time in eight seasons with six of those coming in the former MCHA. Adrian concludes the regular season tomorrow with another game against the Foresters, but have now wrapped up the number one seed and home ice in the Harris Cup playoffs. The playoffs begin next Friday at Arrington Ice Arena.
"The team really bought into a new way of doing things and showed how being flexible and coachable leads to a championship," said head coach Adam Krug. "The program has such a winning mentality and our seniors wanted to go out with more hardware. We have one goal down and want to continue our pursuit towards another goal beginning next weekend. The ability to host the Harris Cup is a reward for our players and fans and we know they will be ready to make some noise."
The first period saw Adrian come out flat and trail 1-0 after being outshot 18-8. The Foresters scored at 11:56 of the opening period as Billy Kent notched his seventh with Shawn Nelson on the assist. Whatever was said in the locker room in the first intermission seemed to work in the second for the Bulldogs. Mathew Thompson tied the game at 2:54 scoring his 15th with Josh Ranalli assisting. Daniel Lisi scored the go-ahead goal 22 seconds later for his third with assists going to Austin Hervey and Ryan Gieseler. Lake Forest scored the equalizer at 9:31 as Jason McAloon netted his eighth.
It took just 47 seconds for Adrian to secure the game-winner as Ranalli buried his 15th unassisted for a 3-2 lead. For Ranalli it was his 61st career goal and eighth career game-winner. The three-point night for Ranalli gives him nine points in 11 games against LFC. Thompson's second of the game at 12:40 of the second from Kyle Brothers and Micki Mihailovich made it 4-2 after 40 minutes. The third period was played at a stalemate until Adrian increased the lead at 13:03. Ryan Lowe scored his sixth with Jeremy Olinyk and Brett Pinkerton gaining helpers. Brothers reached the 20-goal plateau at 15:41 from Ranalli and Thompson.
James Hamby got his first start since Jan. 9 at Bethel and improved to 3-2 in net. Hamby stopped a career-high 41 shots including 17 in the first period. He improved to 4-0 in his career against Lake Forest. Leo Podolsky made 25 saves for the Foresters who gave up a season-high in goals. Adrian finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play but killed off all four penalties.