Hartford, Conn. – Mathew Thompson (Bolton, Ontario) scored twice in the final two periods to lead the Adrian College Bulldogs to a 4-1 victory over the Trinity College Bantams on Tuesday night in a battle of top-10 teams at the Koeppel Center in Hartford. No. 8-ranked Adrian improves to 10-4-0 overall while the No. 3-ranked Bantams fall to 6-2-2 on the year. The victory is the first for the Bulldogs in the all-time series as the Bantams entered tonight's matchup with a 2-0 lifetime record against Adrian, the first of which came in the 2014-15 NCAA Tournament Semifinals. Trinity returns to the ice on Saturday when they travel to New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Williams College for a 7 p.m. game.
The Bantams drew a power play less than five minutes into the first period after an Adrian slashing penalty, but the Bulldog penalty kill unit kept the hosts off the board for the two minute advantage. Both teams traded great scoring chances near the ten minute mark but neither side could get on the board. The Bulldogs nearly broke through when a Bantam turnover in the neutral zone led to a breakaway by Kyle Brothers (Watford, Ontario). Brothers put a move on Trinity senior goalie Alex Morin (St. Hubert, Quebec) and tried to beat him with a backhand, but Morin held strong and turned aside the shot. The rebound bounced into the corner where Trinity senior captain defenseman Connor Hegarty (Wakefield, Mass.) cleaned it up and sent a pass down ice to classmate Tyler Whitney (Wakefield, Mass.). Whitney slid the puck along the blue-line to rookie Michael Grande (Des Plaines, Ill.) who fired a shot on net on the opposite side of the ice, but the puck clanked off the left post to no avail.
Adrian jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 12:27 mark when Ryan Cusin (Westland, Mich.) stuffed a loose puck in front of the net, past Morin for the early advantage. A Bulldog power play with under five minutes to go in the opening frame nearly doubled their lead but a full-extension save by Morin and an Adrian shot off the post kept the game at 1-0. The Bantams earned a power play of their own which nearly led to the equalizer, but a missile off the stick of junior Ryan Pfeffer (Canton, Mass.) drew iron as the Bulldogs took a one-goal lead into the first intermission.
The Bulldogs went ahead 2-0 in the first minute of the second period when Thompson dumped a backhand into the back of the net with just 1:04 remaining on a power play after a late Trinity penalty at the end of the first period. The Bantams nearly cut into the lead with 14:55 left to play in the second period, but a shot from point-blank by Nicholas Polsinelli (Galloway, N.J.) landed directly into the chest of Adrian netminder Kevin Entmaa (Milton, Ontario). Both sides were held scoreless for the final 19:20 of the second frame as Adrian entered the final intermission ahead, 2-0.
Adrian scored their second power play goal of the evening at the 11:59 mark in the final period when Braden Hellems (St. Thomas, Ontario) beat Morin via assists by Dino Balsamo (Sterling Heights, Mich.) and Cory Dunn (Trenton, Mich.). Down 3-0 with less than five minutes to play, Trinity tried to make things interesting when Hegarty potted his first goal of the season, beating Entmaa to the back of the net off a pass from rookie Dylan Healey (Goshen, N.Y.) to make it a 3-1 game. The Bantams kept steady pressure, looking to cut the deficit to one, but a costly penalty for too many men on the ice, gave Adrian another power play. With the skater advantage, Thompson netted his second goal of the day with 38 seconds left to ice the game as Adrian came away with the 4-1 victory.
Entmaa finished with 37 saves while Morin made 23. Trinity outshot the Bulldogs, 38-27, but were plagued by penalties, racking up seven whistles throughout the evening.