HAMILTON, N.Y. — A night of firsts netted Ferris State its second win of the season, as the Bulldogs claimed a 3-1 victory over Colgate at Starr Rink.
Freshman Zac Pearson registered his first goal in his first game of his career midway through the third period when he crashed the net and directed a rebound past Colgate goalie Steve Silverthorn. The tally proved to be the game-winner, as the Bulldogs (2-2-0, 1-1-0 CCHA) collected their first road victory on the young season.
The tone of the game was vastly different than the previous night, as both teams played tight hockey throughout the contest, resulting in a grand total of 38 shots on goal by both sides.
“We came out after last nights game saying that we needed to change our style a little bit,” said Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels. “Instead of gambling and taking chances to try to score, we felt like we had to be a little more patient and shut them down and then take whatever we can get.”
Colgate (1-1-1) provided the visitors with plenty of opportunities, as the Raiders fell shorthanded six times in the first two periods.
“I’m disappointed that we’re not showing more restraint,” said Colgate head coach Stan Moore. “The non-skating penalties are the things that bother us, such as hooks, trips, and holding, because you have to wonder that early in the game if we’re tired or awestruck. We need to taper that, because we’re not going to be able to survive the season with that many penalties.”
Sure enough, Ferris State made the Raiders pay for the whistles. Through three and a half games, the Bulldogs had gone 0 for 20 with the man advantage, and their top two forwards, Jeff Legue and Derek Nesbitt, had amassed only one point between them.
The power play and star forwards both connected for the first time on the season, however, when Legue fired a Nesbitt pass high over Silverthorn’s shoulder and into the net midway through the second period.
“It was great to ease the pressure a little bit,” said Legue, who despite 59 points lasts season had recorded only one assist in the three previous outings of this campaign. “Our whole line has been playing well, but we haven’t been getting the bounces like we did last year. But we worked through it, and came out with some goals.”
Legue, who also added an empty-net goal late in the contest, helped ease some concerns crossing the minds of the Bulldogs coaching staff.
“It was kind of hurting us that our big guns weren’t scoring,” conceded Daniels. “Part of it is self-inflicted by them, though. They came into the season and thought maybe it would come easy. Sometimes you forget how hard you have to work to get those points.”
Colgate managed to tie the affair at 1-1 late in the second period when assistant captain Paul Kelley scored with only six seconds remaining on the clock. But the team was unable to penetrate a stifling Bulldog defense in the final frame and failed to match Pearson’s notch.
“I don’t think anyone in our locker room was surprised at the effort and intensity that Ferris came out with,” said Moore. “Simply put, it was a difference of us winning a third period on Friday and them winning the third period tonight.”
Ferris State goaltender Mike Brown fended off 15 shots en route to tying the school record for career victories. His 42nd win brought him even with Rob Hughston, who tended the Bulldog pipes from 1981-85.
After splitting the weekend series with 12th-ranked Ferris State, Colgate will take a week off to prepare for another non-conference matchup with Findlay.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs must fight through injuries suffered over the weekend by Matt Rutkowski and Jamie Dunlap, as they travel to Alaska-Fairbanks on October 24-25.