(Kalamazoo, MI) – The Cardinals kicked off their 2021-22 season on the road against the Westerm Michigan Stallions. The puck dropped at Wings Event Center, which serves as WMU's home ice. Concordia fell behind by a large margin early, but were able to force their way back into the game. However, the Stallions held the Cardinals off long enough and came away with the 7-5 victory.
Western Michigan found the back of the net first, scoring 3:32 into the first period. They would follow it up with another goal less than two minutes later to double their lead just over five minutes into the contest.
Brandon Troyer would get the Cardinals on the board with the first Concordia goal of the season halfway through the opening frame. Kyle Hebner battled for a puck in the corner and fired a pass to Troyer out in front, who was able to burry for CUAA. Western would chalk up two more goals before the period ended to take a three-goal lead into the the first intermission.
The Cardinals would come out firing in the second period, recording an impressive 18 shots on goal during the frame. However, the Stallions continued to exert their control over the game, tacking on two more goals for a commanding 6-1 lead late in the period.
Concordia would fight back, however, starting with Kyle Hebner firing home a shot from the slot assisted by Brandon Troyer and Thomas Hendry with 2:58 to go in the second. Abel Christians would tack on another assisted by Tyler Bieniek and Brayden Tayles with just 40 seconds remaining in the period, and the Cards would cut the lead back to three going into the third.
The Cardinals came out fast, striking first in the period at the 15:51 mark. Tyler Bieniek took a clean face off win by Abel Christians and made a defender miss before beating the goalie to cut the Stallion lead to two.
CUAA kept the pressure on Western the remainder of the game, controlling play while they outshot the Stallions 13-8 in the period, but WMU had an answer to every Cardinal push. The Stallions would fire home a powerplay goal to move the lead back to three later in the period. Tyler Groth would tack on a goal off assists by Kyle Hebner and Abel Christians with 1:00 remaining, but it would be too little too late for Concordia.
The Cardinals will be back in action tomorrow evening to wrap up their season opening series with Western Michigan. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm at the Arctic Coliseum in Chelsea, MI.