Arrington Ice Arena has been dormant since April and has had capacity restrictions for over a year. However, all of that changed on September 24, when the Adrian College ACHA Men’s Division 1 hockey team took the ice against the University of Cincinnati (ACHA Division 2).
More than just a hockey game was happening on the brisk and chilly night in the rink, being the first game of the new season fresh off a National Championship, it was also ‘Banner Night.’ For head coach Gary Astolos, who is entering his sixth season at the
helm, it was a final chance to reflect before starting the new year.
“I am super excited to welcome back the [seniors] from last year’s squad and celebrate all of their accomplishments, but after that ceremony when 20 minutes are up on the board, and the puck is dropped, it is all business. There is a new goal on the wall, and last year no longer matters.”
The 20-minute ceremony started with a 10-minute video that reflected on the past season followed, by the 2020-2021 National Championship Banner being revealed as it sat affixed next to the 2018-2019 banner. As the team, dressed in their flashy new gold jerseys and buckets, took the ice, so did some of their teammates from last year (pictured) for the ceremonial puck drop. Some of the alumni even tuned in for the broadcast on Adrian College Television so that they could partake in the ceremony.
With WOW Cafe finally full of rowdy fans seated directly over the benches, it was time for hockey season to begin in Adrian.
The two-game series between Adrian and Cincinnati was all Bulldogs from the opening faceoff. The final score from game one between the two teams was 8-1 Bulldogs, and game two was again a stomping by Adrian finishing the series sweep with a shutout, 7-0.
For this two-game series, Astalos was clear that it was an opportunity for everyone to see the ice.
“All of our freshmen are going to see the ice this weekend. As a coaching staff, we still do not know what our lineup is going to be going into each weekend. It is a good problem to have but means that we have to pay attention to who steps up when given a chance.”
Over the weekend, the stand-out player for AC was Manny Silverio. He netted five goals over the two-game stretch. Henrick Overall, the overseas product from Sweden, would also have a multi-goal night, scoring two goals on Friday night.
Between the pipes, all three young goaltenders on the roaster saw 40 minutes of game action. This was all a part of the plan Astolos explained.
“We have a young core of goaltenders that have been working very hard in practice. They are all making it tough to decide who is going to be the guy. We had a plan this weekend to see them all play an equal amount of time, and they all played really well and did what we expected them to do. Time will only tell.”
After a successful opening weekend, the Bulldogs will once again return to home ice to take on Mercyhurst in another two-game series. Game one will be on Friday, October 1. Game two will follow on Saturday, October 2. Both games have a puck drop scheduled for 7 pm. You can purchase tickets at the door on a first-come, first-serve basis. Both games will also be live-streamed by Adrian College TV.