NCHA Harris Cup Preview Features Nation's Top-Two Ranked Teams in NCAA Division III Men's Hockey

NCHA Harris Cup Preview Features Nation's Top-Two Ranked Teams in NCAA Division III Men's Hockey

ADRIAN, Mich.--The Adrian College men's hockey team will battle defending conference tournament champion St. Norbert College in the 2018 Northern Collegiate Hockey Association Harris Cup finals on Saturday (2:05 p.m.) at Arrington Ice Arena. The host Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in both national polls and in the NCAA Division III West Region, while also serving as the NCHA No. 1 overall seed. The Green Knights are second nationally in the nation, region and a No. 2 NCHA overall seed.

Adrian (24-4 overall, 17-1 NCHA South Division) is riding a 16-game winning streak in which the Bulldogs are outscoring opponents 76 to 22, with three shutouts. The winning streak is currently the longest in all NCAA divisions, third-longest in school history and longest in Division III since Feb. 7-Nov. 14, 2014 as St. Norbert had a similar string. The Bulldogs, a seven-time conference tournament champion (2008-11, 2013, '15-16), have claimed the regular season title for 10 of the past 11 seasons. 

Adrian swept Milwaukee School of Engineering in the quarterfinals (3-2 and 6-3 on Feb. 16-17) and blanked Lake Forest College in last weekend's semifinals (9-0) to reach its fourth-straight NCHA Harris Cup championship game.

Senior assistant captain Taylor McCloy is having a career year that includes team-leading totals of 23 goals and 36 total points. Junior defenseman Cory Dunn is the team's top playmaker with 27 assists (tied for the most by Division III blueliners) among 30 points. The Bulldogs have two other 30-point scorers in seniors Kyle Brothers (11+22=33) and team captain Mathew Thompson (15+17=32). Junior goalie Kevin Entmaa has compiled a 16-2 won-lost record with 1.74 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, extending his personal record for single-season wins.

Adrian has set a school record for consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 in the U.S. College Hockey Online ( poll at six, and has been in that position 12 times.

For St. Norbert College, the Green Knights move to 23-4-1 overall (15-3 NCHA-North) after beating Lawrence University in the quarterfinals by identical 3-1 scores and shutting out Marian in the semifinals by a 3-0 result. They are led offensively by senior Tanner Froese (11+17=28) and freshmen Keegan Milligan (11+13=24), Peter Bates (10+13=23). Junior goalie T.J. Black is the anchor of the defense with a 1.38 GAA and .940 save percentage--both second nationally. He also leads Division III with 23 victories.

Adrian and SNC split their regular season series, winning on home ice. The Bulldogs triumphed 3-2 in overtime on Jan. 26 after falling 4-3 in "Sudden Death" on Nov. 11. Both teams also figure prominently in NCAA statistical rankings: scoring offense (AC is fourth with 4.57 goals per game; SNC is 11th at 4.00 gpg), scoring defense (SNC is No. 1 at 1.39 gpg; AC is No. 2 at 1.68), scoring margin (AC is No. 1 at plus-2.89; SNC is No. 4 at 2.61), power-play efficiency (AC is eighth with a .248 percentage, 31/125; SNC is 19th at 21.7 percent, 33/152), and penalty killing (SNC is No. 1 at 91.5, 107/117; AC is No. 6 at 88.5, 115/130).

A limited number of reserved seats in the arena cost $10 each and will be sold online on ETIX only. Standing-room-only (SRO) will be for $5 on gameday, with no advanced sales online, and cash-only accepted. SRO sales start 12:30 p.m. on Saturday's gameday at the AIA ticket table, and fans may enter the rink one hour before puckdrop. Students are free with valid college ID. Get tickets online!

Adrian is looking to avenge last year's Harris Cup home loss to St. Norbert, snapping the Bulldogs' three-straight championships.

The winner in the tournament title game gains the NCHA's automatic berth in the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship, which begins on Saturday, March 10.

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