BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — It was a wild one in Big Rapids. Three players scored two goals each in the game, and when the dust settled, it was Ferris State that ended up on top of Alaska-Fairbanks, 7-5.
“We were very fortunate to win that game,” Bulldogs coach Bob Daniels said. “We took a lot of undisciplined penalties and over-handled the puck.”
The third period was a wild one indeed. Both teams made key mistakes throughout the period as the scoring chances kept increasing.
Brett Smith gave the Bulldogs a two goal lead at 4:00. Smith collected a turnover in the neutral zone and sped away on a two-on-one opportunity. Keeping the puck himself, Smith shot the puck into the pads of UAF goalie Preston McKay. Collecting his own rebound, he tipped the shot past McKay.
But the Nanooks weren’t finished yet, as Ryan Campbell notched two goals to tie it, 4-4. Campbell’s first goal came at 5:02 when he took a pass from Ryan Lang and fired it just over the outstretched pad of the goaltender Mike Brown. His next goal came at 6:05 while on the power play. Jason Grinevitch’s shot from the point went off Brown but Campbell was there to put the puck in the net and tie the game.
Ferris State answered right back to take the lead as Scheible collected his second goal of the game, converting a backhander on the back end of a 2-on-1. But it only took Alaska-Fairbanks 40 seconds to tie the game once again, as Curtis Frasier tipped a shot from Cramer Hickey past Brown.
As the period wore on, both teams took roughing, cross checking, and clipping penalties en masse. Ferris State had the best chance with a 4-on-3 chance late in the third period and Matt York didn’t waste that opportunity. York sent a slapshot from the point that nicked the crossbar and landed into the net at 14:56 to give Ferris the lead. Bomersback added an empty netter to complete the scoring at 7-5.
“Our third line really was key in the game,” Daniels said. “Rutkowski has 7 assists in 8 games. Scheible had a big game with two goals, and Vesely scored a key goal today. When you have marquee players that are not scoring, our third and fourth lines really have kicked in at the right time. Now we need to get Jeff Legue on the scoresheet. There are high expectations for him after last season.”
Alaska-Fairbanks jumped on top early with a quick goal, putting Ferris State on its heels in the first period. Kelly Czuy collected a rebound shot off of a Bulldogs defenseman and backhanded one past Brown at 1:02.
Ferris State was reeling early and was frustrated about the penalty calls not going its way. That led to a penalty of its own, and UAF took advantage of its second power-play opportunity at 8:01 to take the 2-0 lead. Czuy unleashed a shot from the point that Brown made the save on. However, Curtis Fraser was there to put the rebound home.
“Brown didn’t have a very strong game,” Daniels said. “I have to hand it to him though, he battled back. Some goalies would give up a bad goal or two and then sit deep in their net. Brown kept his confidence and made the big saves when we needed him to.”
Ferris State came out on a mission to make this a hockey game while Alaska looked like Ferris did in the first period. Nick Scheible got the Bulldogs on the board at 5:03 in the dying seconds of their second power play. Matt Rutkowski wristed the puck into the pads McKay, and the rebound kicked out to Scheible who wristed it into the open net to make it 2-1.
It only took 57 seconds for the Bulldogs to tie the game, as Derek McIver sprung Mark Bomersback for a breakaway. Bomersback faked left then backhanded the puck over McKay.
Eric Vesely tallied his first goal of the season to help Ferris take its first lead of the game. Scheible sent across ice pass to Vesely who sent a slapshot past McKay to make it 3-2 at 8:27.
Ferris State and Alaska play again on Saturday night in Big Rapids.