(Howell, MI) - The Concordia Men's Hockey team hit the road to open another WHAC series on Friday night, this time taking on the Cleary Cougars. In a back-and-forth game involving 4 lead changes throughout the first two periods of play, the Cougars would take advantage of a breakaway opportunity in overtime to win the contest, 5-4.
Anthony Seykora started in net for the Cardinals, making 35 saves in the contest.
Concordia would open the scoring in the first on the man advantage, as Bryce Iott would fire a shot from the top of the circle and beat the Cougar goaltender for the first goal of the contest. Kyle Hebner and Quinn Bieniek would get credited with assists on the goal. Cleary followed the CUAA goal with increased pressure, outhsooting the Cardinals 13-8 in the period and firing two shots into the Concordia net to hold a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission.
The Cardinals responded right away in the 2nd period, as Shane Romback scored a goal less than 90 seconds into the middle frame on the powerplay (assists from Zane Rydel and Hunter Kepple). Less than 4 minutes into the period, Seth Francois would force a turnover behind the Cleary net and feed Brandon Troyer in front, who deked the Cougar goalie and tucked the shot into the net to take a 3-2 lead.
Cleary would respond late in the frame with a pair of shorthanded goals in the to claim the lead back, but Shane Romback would respond before the Cardinal powerplay ended, firing a shot through a sea of bodies into the back of the net, tying the game at 4 as both teams headed into the final break of regulation. Hunter Kepple and Carson Ediger picked up helpers on the goal.
The third period contained a lot of opportunities for both sides, including 25 shots combined between the sides, but both goalies would stand firm in the final frame of regulation, stopping all shots and sending the contest into overtime.
Less than a minute into the sudden death frame, the Cougars would force a turnover at the Cardinal offensive blue line, springing a breakaway that Cleary would finish to take the victory in game one of the weekend series.
Next up for the Cardinals, they'll return home for a rematch against Cleary in the final matchup of the regular season series between the teams. Puck drop is set for 5:30pm at the Arctic Edge in Canton, MI.