MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Adrian College continued their magical ride this season by winning 5-3 over Oswego State in the NCAA Division III semifinals on Friday afternoon and will now play for the first NCAA championship in Adrian College history.
The Bulldogs got off to a 2-0 start after the first period as Zach Graham and Andrew Dovey each scored in the first 20 minutes. Graham notched his 15th goal of the season at 14:19 on the power play as he took a rebound and put it past goaltender Paul Beckwith. Joel Workman and Brad Houston each had an assist on the game’s first goal. Dovey had a great individual effort goal at even strength at 19:45 to make it 2-0. He stole the puck and walked in on Beckwith to the left post and beat him with a shot to the right post just inside the goal line unassisted. It was Dovey’s eighth tally of the year and first unassisted goal.
Oswego applied a lot of pressure in the second period and outshot Adrian, 20-8, after being outshot by Adrian, 13-11, in the first period. The Lakers cut the lead to 2-1 at 2:36 on the power play as Andrew Mather’s slapshot from the right wing was assisted by Stephen Mallaro and Jon Whitelaw. The Bulldogs regained a two-goal lead at 8:48 again on the power play as Skelly’s 20th goal of the year was assisted by Eric Miller. Skelly took a one-timer in the right circle and beat Beckwith to the blocker side. It was Skelly’s 47th career power play goal moving him into fifth place all-time in Division III history.
The Lakers came right back to make it 3-2 at 14:45 as Mather’s second goal of the game was very similar to his first. He took a shot on the right wing and beat Brad Fogal under his pads with Whitelaw and Chris Laganiere getting assists on the power play goal. Adrian still led 3-2 after 40 minutes despite a great period by the Lakers.
Ian Boots tied the game at 3-3 just 1:18 into the third period on an odd-man rush and lazered a shot past Fogal into the top right corner for his 15th tally of the season from Mather and David Titanic. The momentum was in favor of Oswego State but the Bulldogs got a fortunate bounce and turned it into a 4-3 lead. Skelly and Miller had a 2-on-1 after a slapshot by Oswego State wrapped around the boards and into center ice. Miller gave up the puck and Skelly made a move on the defender before wristing the puck into the net to give Adrian a huge goal.
The game slowed down after Skelly’s goal at 2:23 and the Adrian defense kept Oswego off the board the rest of the way. Mike Towns iced the win with an empty net goal at 19:17 from Kyle Watson. It was Towns’ sixth goal of the season and sent Adrian to the NCAA Championship game.
“We are thrilled to be moving on and it really has not hit me yet,” said Miller. “We still have one more game to win before we can really exhale. Our goal four years ago was to win a national title and we are so close to realizing a dream.”