The Adrian College Men’s NCAA hockey team is once again back in the NCAA Tournament; they will be facing an unfamiliar opponent in Hobart.
It was not supposed to be that way; however, these two teams were originally scheduled to play each other in the first round of the NCAA tournament two years ago before the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2021 tournament also was not played due to the ongoing pandemic, but finally, in 2022 these two teams will finally get to meet each other, this time with a trip to Lake Placid on the line.
Hobart had to battle its way into the quarterfinal match-up, playing in the first round against one of their NEHC conference foes, Elmira. The Statesmen took care of business with a 4-2 victory. Four different goal scorers found the back of the net for Hobart, with the game-winner coming off the twig of Luke Aquaro just 22 seconds into the 2nd period.
The Bulldogs find themselves back in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in program history after the beat-down of St. Norbert in the Harris Cup Championship. With the 12-3 victory Adrian secured the number one overall seed for just the third time ever. The number one seed earned the Bulldogs a bye week straight the quarterfinals. Adrian is riding high on a 28-game win streak. That is the longest win-streak and also the most wins in the 15 year of existence of Bulldog Hockey.
It will be two offensive juggernauts going at it on the frozen water of Arrington Ice Arena as the Statesmen average almost five goals a game at 4.9 and just about 40 shots a game as well. The Bulldogs’ offense averages a staggering six goals per, game doing so in an average of 39 shots per game.
Although both teams’ offense can fire on all cylinders, the defense may be the key to moving on to Lake Placid for the Frozen Four. The goaltending for both teams has been strong and nearly identical.
Adrian is led by, 5th-year senior Cam Grey, who has been a brick wall all season long. In 21 games this year, Grey has started 20 of them and has put up numbers that reflect his stellar record. Between the pipes, Grey has only allowed 44 goals, equating to a 2.21 GAA, his save percentage sits at 91.3% and he has stopped 463 pucks.
For Hobart, they are led by Senior Liam Lascelle. Lascelle has played in 18 games and started 16 of them. He matches Grey exactly with a 2.21 GAA and 91.3% save percentage. Where do the numbers differ? Lascelle has on given up 36 goals on just 379 saves.
Who is going to be tasked with trying to score on these goaltenders?
For Hobart, that responsibility falls into the lap of Luke Aquaro. The true-freshmen and NEHC Rookie-of-the-year has been putting on a clinic this year on the ice. He leads his team in points with 32 and in goals with 16. His teammate Aaron Maguyon sits right behind him with 14 goals.
The Bulldogs sit 4 lines deep on the offensive side of the ice. But two of the highlight players to watch come from the same line and the other is one of the newest additions to this year’s team.
Alessio Luciani is the leading point-getter for Adrian with 44 points on the year 29, of which are apples across the ice. His linemate, Rex Moe, has lit the lamp an impressive 16 times this season and looks to open up his hot playoff streak in the quarterfinal match-up.
The newest addition for the Bulldogs, Ty Enns is just a junior and a transfer from NCHA rival Marian University. He leads the Bulldogs with 20 goals on the campaign. He will have his electric shot looking for twine against Hobart.
The Bulldogs and Statesmen will do battle on Saturday, March 19th at 7 PM. The NCAA is hosting the game at Arrington Ice Arena. Standing room can be bought at the door. The game will also be available on various outlets. Adrian College TV will have the video stream, WVAV 107.9 FM will carry the audio stream, and WLEN 103.9 will also have a radio stream available.