The No. 5-ranked Adrian College women’s hockey secured the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) regular season title by defeating Marian 7-1 on Saturday, Feb. 16. It’s the Bulldogs’ fifth Kronschnabel Trophy in program history and fifth in the row as AC has won the conference every year since the 2014-15 season, losing only three conference games in the last five seasons, inclusive.
Marian looked like it was going to be able to hang with the NCHA’s best with its first period showing. Neither team could find the back of the net, with Adrian holding a slim, 10-8 advantage in shots after the first 20 minutes.
The second period made up for the lack of scoring in the first, with five total goals going on the scoresheet in the second stanza. The bulldogs struck in the first minute of the second when senior forward Hannah Dalrymple broke the deadlock 55 seconds in. Junior defenseman Kelly O’Sullivan took a shot from the point that was deflected wide from in front by sophomore forward Neysa Miller. Dalrymple picked up the loose puck in the corner and walked out front and fired a shot through traffic that beat the goaltender.
Adrian doubled its lead 14 seconds later when sophomore forward Brooke Schembri knocked home a rebound in front of the goal. Senior linemate Kortney Diaz came up with the puck at the half-boards and slid it to freshman blueliner Julia Barrett at the point. Barrett took a shot that was tipped by Schembri and she was able to get her own rebound past the sprawling goaltender. That goal proved to be the last tally at even strength, as the remaining six goals saw five come on the power play and one shorthanded.
Marian was able to get one back, scoring its only goal of the game 2:40 into the period on the power play. The puck was shot in from the point into traffic and the Sabres were able to score in the ensuing scramble. Ten minutes would pass before the next goal would be scored, but junior forward Brianna Buchanan gave the Bulldogs their two-goal lead back on a deflection in front of the net. Schembri gathered the puck on the power play and went across the blueline to junior defenseman Rylee Bates for a shot. Bates kept the puck low on the ice and Buchanan was able to outmuscle her defender to get in a prime position to tip the puck past the goalie.
The Bulldogs got one more goal before the end of the period, with O’Sullivan scoring on the power play with 1:37 remaining. Junior forward Jacqueline White left the puck for senior captain Tory Harshman and Harshman found O’Sullivan waiting on the opposite side of the ice. Harshman slid the puck over and O’Sullivan ripped a one-timer past the goalie to make it 4-1 heading into the second intermission. Shots were heavily skewed in AC’s favor in the second period, with the Bulldogs outshooting the Sabres 16-3 in the second for a game total of 26-11.
O’Sullivan scored on the power play again four minutes into the third period to extend the lead to 5-1 on a feed from Harshman once again. Harshman stopped a Marian clearance at the point and held the puck, waiting until O’Sullivan slipped behind the defense and had an open lane for the backdoor pass.
Schembri would also get her second of the game in the third period, scoring another power play goal halfway through the third. Senior defenseman Shelly Czarnowczan received the puck at the point and went d-to-d with Bates. Bates took another shot on the ice and Schembri was there with her stick to deflect it into the roof of the cage for the game’s penultimate goal. Adrian scored the final goal of the game shorthanded with 13 seconds remaining and Marian’s net empty. Sophomore Sydney Daversa cleared the puck out of the Bulldogs’ zone and had it knocked down by a Marian defenseman. Junior forward Maggie Mitter was forechecking hard and was able to corral the loose puck at the defender’s feet and put it into the empty net.
AC scored four power play goals in the game, the most this season and tied for fifth-most in a game in program history. The win gave Adrian its fifth-straight Kronschanbel Trophy, awarded to the NCHA regular season champion. With one game to go this season, the Bulldogs are 80-3-6 in the five championship years. The Black and Gold are now the #1 seed for the Slaats Cup Playoffs, and will host #6 seed St. Norbert next weekend in the quarterfinals. Adrian swept the Green Knights last weekend, winning 4-1 and 4-2.
Adrian finished the regular season the next against the Sabres. The four seniors were honored for their time spent as Bulldogs before the game.
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