BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — The sloppy and chippy play from last night continued to haunt both teams tonight, but when you have two of the league’s leading scorers, there is little need to worry. Chris Kunitz netted two goals, including the game winner, while Rob Collins had three assists to lead the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Buckeyes.
Ohio State suffered from undisciplined penalties in the first period. R.J. Umberger was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a slashing incident. The Buckeyes dodged that bullet, but the Bulldogs were awarded another power-play opportunity on another slashing call later in the period. Collins took the pass from Jeff Legue and fired the puck toward Buckeye goaltender Mike Betz. Trevor Large was on the doorstep to deflect the puck behind Betz at 13:52 to make it 1-0.
Both teams were more concerned with physically punishing the other as time went on. There was no further scoring until the third period, when Kunitz scored a controversial goal to give the Bulldogs a two-goal cushion. Nick Field’s initial shot was saved by Betz. Rob Collins got another shot off on the doorstep, but Kunitz put the puck in the back of the net with Field and Collins in the crease. The referee declared both Bulldog players were pushed into the net so the goal stood up at 4:09 to make it 2-0.
The Buckeyes finally started to get the puck bouncing their way after that controversial goal. All it took was a bounce while on the power play to get Ohio State back to within one. Ryan Smith worked the puck out behind the net and it found its way out to a wide-open John Toffey. Bulldog Goaltender John DeCaro came out to challenge the shooter, but Toffey had too much time to set himself and shoot the puck into the net at 9:16 to make it 2-1.
The Buckeyes worked hard to get that tying goal, but taking another undisciplined penalty didn’t help matters. With the Bulldogs on the power play with 2:30 left to go in the game, Mike Betz was pulled for the extra attacker. Chris Kunitz and Rob Collins made Ohio State pay for that decision as Kunitz got an empty-net goal at 18:50 to make it 3-1.
Ohio State got a late goal on a wonderful individual play by Paul Caponigri. DeCaro stopped the initial shot by Mike McCormick, but Caponigri was there to deke around DeCaro and backhand the puck past the sprawling goaltender to make it 3-2 at 19:45. Fifteen seconds, however, wasn’t enough time for Ohio State to tie the game.
The Bulldogs and Buckeyes take a brief break for the holidays. Ferris State (9-7-1, 7-7-1 CCHA) returns against Minnesota Minnesota Dec. 28 in the Mariucci College Classic, while Ohio State (9-6-1, 6-5-1 CCHA) will play Maine Dec. 29 in the Everblades College Classic.