ADRIAN, Mich. – The Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Harris Cup playoffs got underway on Friday night for the Adrian College men's hockey team. The Bulldogs (20-3-3) hosted Concordia (Wis.) in game one of a quarterfinal series and blanked the Falcons, 3-0, behind one goal in each period. Adrian is the top seed in the playoffs and wasted little time showing why. Freshman Mathew Thompson took a feed from Kyle Brothers and raced down ice for a breakaway goal. Thompson waited for goaltender Jake Hebda to make a slight move and slid the puck under his pads near the right post. Thompson's 17th goal of the season at 1:15 set the tone for Adrian.
The second period saw the Falcons keep pace and generate offense with 26 shots on goal through two periods. Senior Scott Shackell made his sixth career start in Harris Cup play and earned the shutout. He stopped all 31 shots as Adrian's defense limited the Falcons to five shots on goal in the third. Shackell recorded his three shutout of the season and ninth of his career.
Sophomore Jeremy Olinyk put Adrian ahead 2-0 at 8:39 of the second with his 11th goal of the campaign. Senior Ryan Lowe got the chance started by knocking down a clearing attempt by Concordia and fed the puck to Olinyk who used a backhand lifting the puck just inside the crossbar. It was the first goal for Olinyk in the Harris Cup playoffs in his third game. The game was still not out of reach entering the third, but Adrian put together their best period outshooting the Falcons, 17-5, in the final 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs had three power play opportunities in the third and had 10 shots on goal. The Falcons killed off a 5-on-3 for 1:28 early in the period which seemed to give them a boost. That momentum went away quickly as senior Kevin Balas finished a nice play at 3:21 to build a 3-0 lead. Senior Duston Hebebrand fired a beautiful pass from right wing to the top of the crease and Balas banged it home for his seventh of the season and 29th of his career. Hebda made 33 saves for Concordia (8-18) who were shutout for the third straight game. The two teams will play again on Saturday at 3 p.m. from Arrington Ice Arena. Adrian needs just a tie to advance to the Harris Cup semifinals. Concordia would need to win in order to force a 20-minute, mini-game immediately following the contest.