BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — In a battle for the ages at Ewigleben Ice Arena, both Michigan and Ferris State squandered one-goal leads in the third period — but Ferris did it last, as with under three minutes in the game Mike Cammalleri scored the game-winner as Michigan emerged with a 5-4 decision.
“I’m too old for this,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said upon exiting from the locker room.
Even though it was sloppy, it was still a big win for the Wolverines.
“It was a tough pill to swallow,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “When you are up a goal in the third period, you have to be able to salt the game away.”
Ferris State struck first. In the first period, Jeff Legue broke in on Michigan goaltender Josh Blackburn all alone. Legue faked his forehand and then put a backhand shot past the sprawling goalie to make it 1-0 at 12:32.
The Wolverines came back in the second period. Cammalleri’s initial shot was saved by goaltender Mike Brown, but John Shouneyia was on the doorstep for the rebound and put it away to tie it 1-1 at 3:08.
Dwight Helminen added a second goal at 8:00 of the second period to make it 2-1 off a wrister from Jed Ortmeyer and Jay Vancik.
The Bulldogs answered just 25 seconds later. Derek Nesbitt stole the puck in the offensive zone and sent a shot that went off Blackburn’s right pad and deflect into the net at 8:25 to make it 2-2.
Cammalleri gave the Wolverines the lead again when he took the puck into the slot and sent a wrist shot over the glove of Brown at 9:43 to make it 3-2.
The Bulldogs, however, would not go away.
Nesbitt chipped in another goal after the initial shot by Derrick McIver was stopped by Blackburn. The rebound bounced out to Nesbitt who made no mistake and pushed the puck under the pad of the sprawling goaltender at 12:21 to tie the game 3-3.
McIver then scored again at 13:10. Matt York passed the puck to McIver who was behind the net. Passing it out in front, the puck went off a skate, and deflected in off the back of Blackburn to make it 4-3.
With Blackburn holding his ground with a couple good saves of his own to keep the game close, Michigan rallied in the final three minutes of the game.
Mike Komisarek sent a blistering slapshot from the left side that went off the blocker of Brown and into the net at 17:32 to tie the game at 4-4. Cammalleri provided the winner less that 50 seconds later. With two Bulldog defenders back, Cammalleri wristed a shot that handcuffed Brown and dented the twine at 18:19 to make it 5-4.
“I feel that Brown should have had those two goals. You have to chalk it up to learning though, and Brown did play terrific tonight,” Daniels said. “Blackburn came out kept his team in the game. There was one save in particular, with five minutes left in the game, where if that shot goes in, the game is probably over.”
“You can’t expect your team to come out and score in the third period,” Berenson said. “To score like we did, I am very happy about. To give up the lead in the third period, I am not.”
Both teams face off again on Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.