(Canton, MI) – The Concordia men's hockey team hosted their the Cleary Cougars on Friday night in another WHAC battle. After a tight first period, the Cardinals were able to get seperation in the middle frame and ride 3 point nights from Seth Francois and Quinn Bieniek to a 4-1 victory over the Cougars.
Zachary Janis started in net for the Cards, making 30 saves on 31 shots faced.
In a back-and-forth opening period that had shots even at 11, CUAA was able to strike first on the powerplay when Zane Rydel finished off a rebound shot to give Concordia the early lead. Shane Romback and Seth Francois picked up helpers on the score. Both goalies remained firm in net otherwise, and the Cardinals held a 1-0 lead going into the first intermission.
The man advantage would prove useful for the Cards once again in the 2nd period, after a long stretch of possession and opportunities for CUAA on the powerplay led to Hunter Kepple eventually curling across the blue line and firing a shot through traffic that snuck past the Cougar goalie into the back of the net to double the lead. Brandon Troyer and Quinn Bieniek recorded assists on the score.
The majority of the period continued to churn by, until with just 3:01 left in the frame, Seth Francois picked up a loose puck in front of the Cleary net and shoveled it into the back of the net (assists by Quinn Bieniek and Brayden Tayles) to make it a 3-0 lead for Concordia. Cleary answered back quickly, scoring on a breakaway less than a minute and a half later, closing the deficit to two goals as the teams headed into the second break with the score 3-1 in favor of the Cardinals.
The final frame of action was another even, fast paced battle, with the Cards outshooting Cleary 16-13 despite killing off three seperate penalties. After over 15 minutes of scoreless hockey in the 3rd period, the Tayles-Francois-Bieniek line would strike again, as Brayden Tayles poked the puck past a sprawled out Cougar goalie from close range to extend the lead back to 3 goals (assists by Quinn Bieniek and Seth Francois) with just 4:14 to go in the contest.
Despite more opportunities from both sides, the score would stay put as the clock expired, clinching a 4-1 win for the Cardinals and securing their first WHAC victory of the young season.
Concordia will be back in action tomorrow night when they head to Howell, MI to take on the Cleary Cougars in the weekend series finale. Puck drop is set for 8pm at the 140 Ice Den.