BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — If the playoffs were to start today, these same two teams — Nebraska-Omaha and Ferris State — would be facing each other in the first round of the CCHA tournament. This is a bad thing for the Bulldogs because they haven’t beaten UNO all season.
The trend continued on Saturday, as Maverick goaltender Dan Ellis stopped 22 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Bulldogs.
Ferris State had the first major opportunity in the first period when they were awarded with a minute-long five-on-three opportunity. With Dan Ellis standing tall in net and the defense in front of him diving in front of almost every shot, the Bulldogs were kept off the board.
After the last penalty expired, the Mavericks broke into the Bulldog zone with a three-on-two opportunity. Jeff Hoggan took the pass and flipped it over the blocker of goaltender Phil Osaer and into the net at 7:54 to make it 1-0.
The Bulldogs came back with a goal of their own in the dying seconds of the first period to tie it up. Nick Field took the pass from Chad McIver and shot the puck upstairs to the glove side of Dan Ellis at 19:32 to tie the game a 1-1.
Billy Pugliese would come up with the eventual game winner in the second period for UNO. Although he missed the puck entirely on the first shot, the second shot had eyes and found the back of the net at 11:41 to make it 2-1.
The third period was a showcase for the defense of the Mavericks. The Bulldogs could not get out of their own zone without being pressured by a UNO defender. When the buzzer sounded at the end of the period, the Mavericks had kept Ferris State off the board and limited the Bulldogs to only two shots on goal.
“I thought we played well,” Bulldog Coach Bob Daniels said. “Obviously this wasn’t the outcome we wanted though.”
With the victory Nebraska gets home ice advantage in the playoffs. Ferris State has two more games to play at Bowling Green next week, while Nebraska heads home for two non-conference games against Findlay.