BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — 1990.
That was the last time Ferris State defeated Michigan State at Big Rapids — until Friday, when the Bulldogs rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Spartans 3-2.
At 8:04 of the third period, FSU’s Phil Lewandowski got a favorable bounce off the boards and raced for the puck as it crossed the blue line. Spartan netminder Ryan Miller came out to play it, then found himself out of position as Lewandowski beat him on a backhander for the winner.
“The puck was bouncing around and it was a chippy game,” MSU coach Ron Mason said. “They were able to kill off the penalties. We were just trying to win a game, not trying to win a championship.”
The first period was marked by penalties against the Bulldogs. The chances mounted as Ferris State goaltender Mike Brown made save after save. Michigan State finally capitalized on the power play at 17:13 of the first period. A scrum in front of the net resulted in Brown falling down. Brian Maloney was left to stare at an empty net, and made no mistake as he backhanded it in to make it 1-0.
Michigan State increased the lead to two at 7:06 of the second period. Ash Goldie and Kevin Estrada broke in on a two-on-one chance and Estrada opted for the shot, which had eyes as it found its way past Brown.
The Bulldogs got the momentum back shortly later. Jeff Legue won the face off to a wide-open Derrick McIver and Miller wasn’t ready for the slapshot by McIver, who sent a rocket upstairs to make it 2-1 at 8:01.
Troy Milam tied it on a fluke goal at 12:37. Milam sent a slapshot at Miller from behind the red line, and the shot handcuffed him and found its way into the net.
The game was wracked with penalties, as the referees continued to put Ferris into the box. Special teams would come up big every time for the Bulldogs as they kept the game tied.
“I felt some of the penalties we took were undisciplined,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “We just seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot at the most inopportune times.”
After Lewandowski’s goal to put FSU up 3-2, Michigan State had more opportunities to score but was denied by the aggressive Bulldog defense, and Brown stopped what shots did get through. The last two minutes of the game were tense as the Spartans were denied any shots on goal on their last power play.
“I don’t know if I should be happy or upset,” Daniels said. “We took so many undisciplined penalties through that game. Yet, it was a huge win for us and our team came through when it needed to. I am very pleased with the way Mike Brown came out and played. He shook any rust he had off in the first few minutes of the game. It was a solid effort between the pipes.”
Michigan State and Ferris State play again Saturday in Ron Mason’s last regular-season game at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich.