The Lawrence University hockey team (6-16-1, 5-11-0 NCHA) is heading into the last weekend of regular season competition after a challenging series at home against the Adrian College Bulldogs (17-3-3, 14-1-1 NCHA). Currently seated first in the conference and ranked No. 6 in the nation, the Bulldogs swept the series—but not without a solid fight from the Vikings.
On Friday, Feb. 6, the Bulldogs arrived at the Appleton Family Ice Center and started strong, recording power play goals in the first five minutes of both the first and second periods. The aggression between the two teams led to many penalties, and the Vikings had trouble capitalizing on their power play opportunities. Adrian continued to dominate offensively, firing two more into the back of the Lawrence net before the second intermission.
The Vikings made a successful play of their own just over halfway through the third period when sophomore Sean Reynolds scored off assists from juniors Renato Engler and Brandon Boelter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to outweigh the two additional goals the Bulldogs scored to build upon their early control, and the final result was a 6-1 Adrian victory.
The teams reconvened on Saturday, Feb. 7, for an afternoon grudge match at the AFIC. The Bulldogs rolled with the previous night’s momentum right off the bat, burying five goals in the first period. Off to a rough start, the Vikings flipped a switch in the second period, meeting Adrian’s hostility with a fire of their own. 8 minutes into the second period sophomore Ryan Robertson won a clean faceoff and fed the puck to junior Steve Hughes, who directed it solidly into the Adrian net to get the Vikings on the board.
The rest of the game was filled with penalties, as the Vikings and the Bulldogs battled it out for scoring opportunities and to defend their honor. Several 5- and 10-minute penalties gave the Vikings extended power play opportunities, sometimes on a 2-man advantage, but none of their attempts were able to find their mark. Adrian, on the other hand, scored two more power play goals to bring the final score to 7-1.
The Vikings are currently sitting 7th in the conference with 10 points, and are looking to improve upon that this weekend against Finlandia University (4-18-1, 3-13-0 NCHA). The Lions are in 10th with 6 points, coming off a 5-game losing streak, having fallen to Adrian, MSOE, and Marian in the past three weeks.
The top 8 teams in the league advance to the first round of playoffs, so the Vikings are in good position to record a couple wins this weekend and earn a spot. The Vikings will spend reading period on the road, traveling to Hancock, Mich. to face the Lions at the Houghton County Arena at 7:15 pm on Friday, Feb. 13, and at 3 pm on Saturday, Feb. 14.