BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — It is games like Friday’s St. Cloud State-Ferris State contest that people remember for a long time.
In a matchup where both teams came out with great intensity and the goaltending was stellar, to say the least, St. Cloud edged Ferris 2-1 on Matt Hendricks’ second-period rebound goal.
Both teams came at each other with full force in the opening minutes. Ferris committed a few too many penalties and found itself down two men early in the period; but St. Cloud launched chances at goaltender Mike Brown with no luck.
The Bulldogs then went to work on goaltender Jake Moreland, also to no avail as the teams went to the dressing rooms with a 0-0 tie after one.
St. Cloud got the first goal in the second period. With the Bulldogs launching shots at Moreland on the power play, the Huskies cleared the zone by lofting the puck out. It seemed like an easy enough play as a Bulldog defender attempted to cradle the puck and then play it. Rather, St. Cloud forward Ryan Malone intercepted the puck and fired it top shelf on Mike Brown to make it 1-0 at 4:23.
“I saw him try to catch the puck and bring it to his stick,” Malone said. “I was just lucky enough to tap him on the hands and take the puck from him.”
The Bulldogs answered back while on the power play later in the period. Derek Nesbitt launched a rocket shot that went wide of the net, but Jeff Legue was on the other side for the easy tap-in when the puck rebounded off the boards. That tied the score, 1-1, at 8:47.
By the way both goaltenders were playing, it would have to be a quality chance that would beat either one. Both Brown and Moreland faced a lot of shots but none found their mark.
Finally, St. Cloud got the quality chance it needed on the power play. Brown stopped the initial shot, but Hendricks was on the other side of the net for the easy putaway at 17:07 to make it 2-1.
Ferris State picked up the pace to try to even the score in the third period, but the more shots Moreland faced, the more frustrated the Bulldogs seemed to get.
Brown stopped a clean breakaway attempt at 11:07 to keep the score the same. Ferris State then got a late five-on-three power play with less than four minutes left in the game, but Moreland and the physical defense of the Huskies stopped every shot. Ferris pulled the goaltender while on the power play in the last minute, but Moreland even lost his stick and still came up with the saves necessary to preserve the win.
“Both goaltenders were excellent,” Bulldog coach Bob Daniels said. “There was a lot of intensity, but our defense allowed too many shots. Brown came up with some terrific saves near the end of that game to keep us in it.”
Husky coach Craig Dahl was satisfied with the outcome, but not with the quality of defense. “Not bad for our first game, but we have to play a lot tighter defense. We are used to 25-30 shots a game, and today we allowed 40,” he said.
Ferris and St. Cloud rematch Saturday night in Big Rapids, Mich.