BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — The game was intense from start to finish. The chances each team had were numerous, but Ferris State buried more of its opportunities, and Simon Mangos and Chris Kunitz each had two goals in a 6-3 victory over Notre Dame in Big Rapids.
“It was a hard fought game with a lot of chances on both sides,” said Bulldogs head coach Bob Daniels.
“Ferris State is a tough hockey team,” Notre Dame coach Dave Poulin said. “It all came down to execution. They would score on their opportunities, but when we had our chances, we couldn’t execute. That was the story of this game.”
With both teams racing end to end in the first period, it was the Bulldogs that got the first goal. Phil Meyer and Kunitz raced in on goaltender Morgan Cey on a two-on-one opportunity. Kunitz took the pass and chipped it upstairs to make it 1-0 at 8:24.
Notre Dame answered back to tie the game at 15:19. John Wroblewski one timed a centering pass from Aaron Gill and wristed it just past the blocker of Mike Brown.
The second period featured many chances, but it was Ferris State that buried more of theirs. Trevor Large poked the puck away from a Notre Dame defenseman behind the net and it came right out to a wide open Brett Smith in the slot. Smith made no mistake as he beat Cey to the glove side at 2:58 to make it 2-1. Less than a minute later, Notre Dame had a similar chance but Brown was up to the task.
Notre Dame would tie the game at 5:50 off a partial breakaway. Wroblewski took the pass and muscled his way around a Bulldog defenseman and shot the puck point blank on Brown. The puck trickled past the goaltender and into the net.
Ferris State regained the lead on Mangos’ two goals. His first came at 15:39 off a one-timer from the point on the power play. His second goal was scored off a rebound opportunity to make it 4-2.
Notre Dame increased the pressure on Mike Brown in the third period and was rewarded at 3:48, when Aaron Gill backhanded a shot past Brown to make it 4-3.
Ferris State regained the two-goal lead at 5:03 off a controversial goal. With Cey about four feet out of the net, Carter Thompson shot rang off the far post. The goal light went on, but the referee didn’t blow the play dead. Thompson crashed into Cey and knocked his helmet off. Just seconds later, Nick Field threw the puck at the open net and scored. Upon conferring with the goal judge, the referee said the first shot did in fact go in, and the second shot went in as well. Ferris State had taken a 5-3 lead.
“The first shot was clearly not a goal,” Notre Dame coach Dave Poulin said. “The shot went off the post and didn’t cross the line. Their player crashed into our goaltender and knocked his helmet off. The play should have been blown dead after that.”
“Even the games in South Bend were really intense. I expect the same thing tomorrow,” Daniels said.
Ferris State and Notre Dame will play again on Saturday night in Big Rapids.