Men's Hockey takes down Aquinas

Men's Hockey takes down Aquinas

(Byron Center, MI) – The Concordia men's hockey team was back on the road Friday night for their series opener against the Aquinas Saints. In a back-and-forth matchup that combined for 8 goals between the two sides, the Cardinals eventually won the contest, 5-3.


Zachary Janis started in net for the Cardinals, making 43 saves in the winning effort.


Aquinas jumped on top out the gates, scoring less than 3 minutes into the contest, and while Concordia fired 18 shots on goal during the period, they were goal less for nearly 18 minutes of the opening frame. That was until Zane Rydel took advantage on the powerplay as he shot a puck through several bodies that ended up getting past the Saints goaltender and knotting things up at 1 heading into the first intermission. Shane Romback and Bobby Lindsay recorded assists on the score.


Concordia flipped the script in the middle frame, as less than 2 and a half minutes into the period, Carson Ediger would pick up a long stretch pass from Brandon Kucera, cut into the middle as he entered the Aquinas zone, and rip a backhand shot that found its way into the net to give the Cardinals their first lead of the contest. Romback would also pick up an assist on this goal. 


Aquinas answered quickly, scoring just 1:31 later to knot the contest up and erase CUAA's advantage. With just over 7 minutes remaining in the period, however, the Cards would get back on top when Quinn Bieniek left a puck behind the net for Seth Francois, who cut to the right of the Aquinas goal and fed Brayden Tayles in the slot for a one timer that he was able to bury to put Concordia up 3-2. Despite a late powerplay opportunity for the Saints, the Cardinals would cling to that one goal advantage heading into the second break. 


Concordia came out fast in the third once again, when Kyle Hebner fired a trio of shots on net right in front of the Aquinas goal, finally getting the final one past the Saints goaltender to double the Cardinal advantage (Nicholas Twombley and Ediger assists) at the 15:42 mark. Aquinas responded just 15 seconds later to make the difference a single goal again. 


The icing on the cake for the Cardinals came a few minutes later, when a forced turnover at the Saints' blue line led to the puck on Tyler Bieniek's stick in the slot, where he would fire a shot that bounced off the Aquinas goalie's glove and into the back of the net, reasserting a two-goal advantage for CUAA. Riley Smith and Zane Rydel received credit for the assists. 


Both sides would get high quality opportunities as the game clock continued to wind down in the final period in regulation, with the Saints even getting a breakaway opportunity and multiple other chances in front, but Janis stood up to every test for Concordia, helping the Cardinals secure the 5-3 victory as time expired. 


Concordia will be back in action next Saturday, November 12th as they host Aquinas in a rematch of Friday night's dramatic affair. Puck drop is set for 7pm at the Arctic Edge in Canton, MI.