BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Ferris State is playing more like a team on a mission than an underdog team with no playoff experience. The Bulldogs 6-1 victory over Lake Superior State Saturday night was just a step toward a new goal, a CCHA playoff championship.
“I thought we played much different tonight in comparison to last night,”Bulldog coach Bob Daniels said. “We played much better, sharper, and more in tune. The only thing I can complain about is that we took some dumb penalties in the first period.”
Lake Superior State took advantage of two undisciplined Bulldog penalties early in the first period. At 5:21, LSSU scored on a five-on-three opportunity. Jon Booras took a pass from Chris Peterson and one-timed a shot past goaltender Mike Brown to take the 1-0 lead.
From that point on, it was all Ferris State. The Bulldog defense kept all the shots from the outside, which goaltender Mike Brown easily gobbled and kept directing rebounds to the sides. The Bulldog offense did the rest.
On Friday, Derek Nesbitt tormented the Lakers with a four-point night, and Saturday, he picked up where he left off. At 8:50 of the first period, Nesbitt collected a shot that went wide off the net, and wristed a shot past goaltender Matt Violin to tie the game, 1-1. Greg Rallo gave Ferris State the 2-1 lead at 15:08. Phil Lewandowski centered the puck to Rallo who one timed a shot that squeezed through the pads of Violin. Nesbitt scored his second goal of the game at 16:12 off a one-timer from the point that he broke his stick on. The puck trickled through Violin and barely crossed the line to make it 3-1 at the end of the first period.
Lake Superior State came out flying in the second period, but the Bulldogs scored a quick goal to put the Lakers back on their heels. Jeff Legue passed the puck to Chris Kunitz, who wristed a shot toward the net. Violin dove at the puck and missed as Kunitz watched it glide into the net just 37 seconds into the period to make it 4-1. Simon Mangos put the Bulldogs up by four on the power play with a one timer from the slot at 18:44. Troy Milam completed the scoring in the third period off shot from the point at 8:09 to make it 5-1.
Daniels was happy with the game, but advancing to the Super Six brought more things to mind.
“To really validate our regular season, you have to win it all” Daniels said. “It has been a terrific run. We can’t get caught up in the heat of the moment. We can’t worry about making mistakes. We just have to go out and have fun. We have to come out hard and give a solid effort.”
“A lot of teams consider us the underdog because we haven’t been there,” Bulldog forward Derek Nesbitt said. “I say good. We have been in underdog situations before. Going to Joe Louis Arena is no different.”
Ferris State advances to the Super Six and will play on Friday against a team to be determined.