(Adrian, Michigan) The Saints faced their toughest test so far this year when they visited Adrian College this weekend.
Playing with a few men down due to injuries, the Saints took on their toughest team yet in Adrian College this past Saturday and Sunday in Adrian, Michigan. The Bulldogs were 2-0 coming in, scoring twelve goals in their first two contests.
The two-game set is the first of two meetings between the Saints and the Bulldogs. On Saturday, the Saints were unable to match up to the Bulldogs and fell 11-3.
Sophomore forward Doni Gendel (South Bend, Indiana) scored on a penalty shot in the second period, one of the few highlights in the game for the Saints. The goal was Gendel's third of the season.
Monty Ruff (Tustin, California) added a goal of his own in the third, with an assist from Ryan Gallup (Fishers, Indiana). Gallup would score later in the third with helpers from Kyle Walsh (Pittsford, New York) and junior Sean Root (Livonia, Michigan).
Sophomore Bradley Hajec (Dearborn, Michigan) and freshman Ethan Palmer (Granger, Indiana) split time and combined to stop 27 shots.
In the rematch on Sunday, the Saints came out firing and capitalized off a powerplay goal by Jake Radde (Granger, Indiana) in the first period, followed by a goal by Walsh with an assist from Stillwater, Minnesota products Sam Soukup and Drew Brodbeck in the second. The Saints took a 3-2 lead in the second period on an unassisted goal from Radde.
The Bulldogs battled back late in the third on a powerplay goal to tie the contest at 3 goals apiece. The tie prevailed through an overtime period, and a shootout decided the matter. The Bulldogs escaped Gendel and Radde in a best-of-three shootout to earn the win 4-3.
The Saints were out two defenseman due to injuries, and the Bulldogs took full advantage on goaltender Brad Hajec. Hajec did all he could while being bombarded by 52 shots in the game, saving all but 3. Hajec's save percentage on the year is 0.880.
The Saints are sharing the puck quite well for this early in the season, scoring goals and recording plenty of assists. Doni Gendel leads the Saints with seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) on the year.
Head coach Bill Schmatz was optimistic after the game, despite the turnout: "The way the guys came back after the game on Saturday by taking this one into the shootout showed everyone how tough we are...We've had some injuries this season and the remaining guys simply sucked it up and played hard...and it showed."
Senior defenseman Shane Leo (Granger, Indiana), sophomore forward Tyler Schmatz (South Bend, Indiana), forward Sean Root (Livonia, Michigan), and sophomore goalie Shawn Tallet (Baldwinsville, New York) were all scratched for the second game.
Schmatz liked the effort and hustle he saw during the second game, "This is probably the toughest - if not highest ranked - opponent will we face this year, and taking the second game into a shootout while playing shorthanded on the road really says something about the boys."
After the weekend games Holy Cross' record moves to 2-1-1. Holy Cross travels to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) October 14th for a two-game series. The Saints lost twice in overtime to IPFW last year, and split the other two meetings.
The Saints will be thinking about redemption when the Bulldogs visit the Ice Box for a two-game set November 18th and 19th. The Saints are on the road for their next four games, but face Wayne State University November 4th at 9:15 PM at the South Bend Ice Box.