BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Sometimes, one period is all you need. For Michigan State, the period that made the difference was the second. Adam Hall netted two goals and the Spartans outshot Ferris State 16-2 in the middle period to lead MSU to a 3-2 victory.
Ferris State came out of the gate with the energy early, challenging the mighty Spartan defense. Finding a chink in the armor of goaltender Ryan Miller proved to be just as challenging.
In the dying seconds of the period, the pressure paid off. Chris Kunitz got free while on the power play and put a shot up high off of Miller’s shoulder, which had enough steam to roll off and trickle into the net behind him to make it 1-0.
“When you give up a goal with seven seconds left in the period, it isn’t a good thing,” Michigan State coach Ron Mason said. “We didn’t say anything to the team after that first period. They knew what they needed to do in the second.”
The second period was all Michigan State. Hall opened the scoring just 31 seconds in. Brian Maloney fed a perfect pass to Hall, who made no mistake in burying the puck to tie the game.
Kunitz then scored his second goal of the night on the power play. Jeff Legue passed to Kunitz and sent him in one-on-one against Miller. Kunitz faked forehand then backhanded it top shelf over the sprawling goaltender to give Ferris a 2-1 lead at 4:37.
But Ferris State started making numerous mistakes and turnovers, and MSU turned those chances into shots on goaltender Mike Brown. With the shots came the goals it took to bury the Bulldogs.
Hall tallied his second of the night by going five-hole on Brown to tie the game at 8:49. Jim Slater added the eventual-game winner a couple minutes later off an errant pass by the Bulldog defense. Slater put the puck over the right pad of Brown to give MSU its first lead of the game at 10:56.
“I thought that second period was awful,” Bulldogs coach Bob Daniels said. “We were standing around, not challenging, and turning the puck over way too much. When you do that against the No. 1 team in the league, it is going to cost you.”
Ferris came out in the third period trying to get the tying goal. While momentum was on the Bulldog’s side, time wasn’t. All the shots were easily stopped by Ryan Miller or the defense of MSU was able to clear the puck with ease.
“We held our own pretty well there in the third period,” Ron Mason said. “Adam Hall is the leader on this team and he did a terrific job tonight.”
Coach Bob Daniels put the rest of the season in perspective for his team.
“We have 10 league games left, and all of them are really important,” he said. “All the teams in the league are real even, and with that parity, you need every point you can get.”
Ferris State will be back in action next week when it takes on Bemidji State in Big Rapids. Michigan State travels to Yost on Saturday for a contest against Michigan.