BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — On Friday, it was a show of goaltending. Tonight, it was the Bulldog offense and defense that stole the show. Greg Rallo knotted two goals and an assist en route to a 5-1 victory at Ewigleben Ice Arena.
“I thought we played better tonight,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “Not that we played bad last night, but I thought we had to get more offensive pressure and shots. We got that tonight.
“One of the things we talked about was rebounding after a win or a loss. Good teams rebound with a harder effort after either a very emotional win or a tough loss.”
In the first period, Derrick McIver scored a controversial goal at 3:36. Rallo centered the puck for Matt York who shot the puck into Craig Kowalski?s pads. York hit the net which dislodged it, but at the same time McIver shot the puck into the open net to make it 1-0. Referee Mark Wilkins signaled goal and the Northern Michigan bench was up in arms. There was no conference as the goal was counted.
With Northern Michigan on its heels after that first goal, Ferris State kept the pressure in the offensive zone. Jeff Legue fed Chris Kunitz on another two-on-one opportunity at 14:06 to make it 2-0.
Northern Michigan got the first power-play opportunity of the game and capitalized quickly. Mike Stutzel sent a pass across the crease to Peter Michelutti who roofed it over Mike Brown to make it 2-1.
The second period was dominated by the Bulldogs offense and defense. Northern Michigan managed three shots on goal the whole period, but none of them were quality scoring chances.
Ferris State’s offense was clicking and it was just a matter of time until they scored. At 9:23, Rallo gave the Bulldogs a two-goal lead again as he stickhandled around a defenseman and shot the puck into Kowalski. The Northern Michigan goaltender looked like he had it, but the puck had eyes and slipped through his pads and trickled across the goal line. Brett Smith added another power-play goal at 15:53 off a deflection to increase the lead to 4-1.
The Wildcats picked up the pace in the third period, but Rallo would tack on another goal at 4:42. After intercepting a pass, Rallo broke in on a two-on-one opportunity. Instead of passing, he drove to the net and backhanded the puck past Kowalski to make it 5-1. Tuomas Tarkki replaced Kowalski after the goal, and turned away a few quality chances by the Bulldogs.
Looking forward to Miami, where FSU plays a two-game set next weekend, Bob Daniels was concerned.
“Miami is a tough home team,” he said. “If you look at their record, they have only lost at home once this year.”
Northern Michigan hosts Alabama Huntsville next weekend.