ADRIAN – The No. 6 Adrian College men's hockey team increased their unbeaten streak to 17 games by beating the MSOE Raiders, 4-1, to win their fifth Harris Cup championship, Saturday afternoon at Arrington Ice Arena.
Josh Cousineau was named tournament MVP as the Bulldogs regained the championship from the same team that took it from them last year. Cousineau ended the tournament with five points on three goals and two assists.
"We knew we had to play as a team tonight in order to win," said Cousineau. "We wanted to work hard to bring that cup back to Adrian after losing it last season. We were confident not having lost all season to MSOE and thought that we could win it tonight."
The nation's No. 1 Division III hockey power play went 2-for-4 and broke open a tie game midway through the second period.
Shaquille Merasty netted his 21st goal of the season at the 9:35 mark of the middle stanza for the first of two second period power-play goals that proved to be the game winner.
Less than four minutes later, Cousineau would up the Bulldogs lead to 3-1 on the power play with his 12th on the year.
Shelby Gray would add an empty-netter with one second to play for the 4-1 final.
Zach Wilson would get the Bulldogs on the board first about five minutes into the game with his fifth of the year to stake Adrian to an early 1-0 lead, but with under two minutes left in the first period MSOE's Kevin LoGiudice would tie the game at one goal apiece.
"Getting the first goal was huge for us tonight," said head coach Ron Fogarty. "They responded well after that though. We struggled in the second early in the year, but we turned that around lately getting four in the second last night and two tonight. Special teams are huge. If you can win the special teams game you can win the game most of the time. Both our goalies were great this weekend. Shackell played great for us tonight and helped us out a lot back there."
Ryan Lowe and Kevin Balas would both earn assists on Adrian's first and third goals, while Lukas Ciotti and Sam Nyberg were credited with helpers on the game-winning goal.
Adrian outshot MSOE, 28-23, with goaltender Scott Shackell turning aside 22 shots for the win.
"My defense bailed me out a lot this weekend, they blocked a lot of shots," said Shackell. "Defensively we were very good this weekend. They made it easy to play behind them. We wanted the redemption after last year and we came out and got it. It was a pretty even first, but our special teams came through for us in the second."
It was the fifth time this season that the Bulldogs beat their nemesis. Shackell, Merasty and Chris Leone were all named to the All-Tournament Team for Adrian. The Bulldogs will find out their opponent for the 2013 NCAA Tournament on Sunday night at 10 p.m. courtesy of NCAA.com.