Adrian stages historic comeback
Adrian will face Oswego State in the NCAA semifinals
The Arrington Ice Arena was very quiet after 20 minutes of play on Saturday night (Mar. 12). Adrian saw themselves down 2-0 to Elmira College in a NCAA Quarterfinal game after the Soaring Eagles scored twice on the nation's best penalty kill unit. What happened next will be talked about in the community for a long time. The Bulldogs staged a comeback for the ages with five straight goals, all at even strength, and propelled themselves into the NCAA Division III Frozen Four with a 5-3 win.
"We knew that we were playing well other than on the penalty kill in the first period," said senior forward Sam Kuzyk. "The shot total was in favor of us and we were out-playing them 5-on-5. We got a couple of greasy goals in front and the floodgates opened. It was a special moment to win on home ice in my final game at Arrington Ice Arena."
Kuzyk rose to the occasion scoring twice against Elmira. He netted a goal at 7:55 of the second period for his ninth of the season on a play where he had to fight for a rebound and smacked the puck past Elmira goaltender Darren MacDonald on Adrian's 17th shot on goal. Linemate and fellow senior Brad Houston tied the game at 2-2 with his 14th of the season at 10:14. He also got a rebound and backhanded it after a Shawn Courtney blast off a faceoff led to the rebound.
The Bulldogs were just getting started as Shawn Skelly got into the act at 15:55 with a one-timer between the circles that went under MacDonald for his 100th career goal and 19th of the season. Eric Miller had an assist on the go-ahead goal which was his 200th career point. Adrian suffocated Elmira in the first 1:23 of the third period and built their lead to 5-2. Kuzyk's second of the night at 1:07 came from Quinn Waller and Mike Dahlinger as Waller's blast off the boards came right to Kuzyk on the left pipe. Joel Workman scored his eighth of the season just 16 seconds later off a rebound from Kyle Gallinger from the right point. The Bulldogs had five goals in 10 shots on goal during the barrage.
Brock Sawyer got his second goal of the evening at 2:21 to make things a little interesting on a 4-on-4 situation. Adrian closed things out as Elmira pulled MacDonald with 1:10 left but could not threat the back of the net. Sawyer had just one goal this season coming into the game. Adrian outshot Elmira, 29-23, on the night with four coming on a power play that went 0-for-5. The Soaring Eagles finish the season at 17-7-4 while Adrian improves to 24-3-1.
Adrian will face Oswego State in the NCAA semifinals on Mar. 25 at 3:30 pm from Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The two teams played last season with the Lakers winning 5-2 on Jan. 8, 2010 in Oswego. The Lakers were ranked number one in the country at the time.