BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Special teams was the key in the game tonight as Matt Davis’ deflection past Mike Brown in the second period was the game-winner as Miami earned a split with Ferris State by a 4-2 score.
The score left Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels wondering about the officiating.
“I really can’t put my finger on it,” he said. “The game was called really tight. When we played in the Christmas tournament, it was a definite change of pace when it comes to refereeing. I don’t think this is what the fans paid to see.”
After being pulled in the second period in last nights game, Redhawk goaltender Brandon Crawford-West was looking to rebound in a big way. The start he got wasn’t a good one as Ferris State scored on just its second shot of the game. Andrew Winnik wristed a shot on goal that trickled through the pads of Crawford-West. Skip Renauld was on the doorstep to poke the puck in the open net to give Ferris the 1-0 lead at 6:32.
At the other end, Ferris State goaltender Mike Brown had to be sharp as the Bulldogs found themselves two-men down for over a minute-and-a-half in the middle of the first period. Miami was kept to the outside by the defense and Brown did the rest as he stopped four quality chances to keep Miami off the board.
Key penalties were the story of the second period as Ferris State just couldn’t stay out of the box. The Miami power play was white-hot as it capitalized three times to put the home crowd in their seats and the Bulldogs on their heels.
Todd Grant got the first one to tie the game at 10:30. Derek Edwardson passed the puck up to the point and Grant blasted a slapshot past a screened Brown. Miami capitalized again less that two minutes later at 12:28. After Brett Smith hit the crossbar on a partial breakaway, Greg Hogeboom collected the puck and raced up ice with it. Hogeboom passed the puck over to Chris Michael who wristed a shot over the glove hand of Brown to make it 2-1.
The Bulldogs came out with more jump in the third period as they pulled within one. Mike Kinnie scored on the power play when Derrick McIver broke in on a line rush with him. Kinnie opted to shoot and hit the top corner of the net to make it 3-2 at 8:05.
It just wasn’t enough. Miami scored an empty netter to secure the split at 19:41.
“It was one of those games where special teams was the key in the game,” Daniels said. You can’t take away from what Miami did tonight. They are a great hockey club and really played well this weekend.”
The logjam in the CCHA standings caught Daniels’ attention.
“Everyone in the league is so even,” hesaid. “Last year, we won with only five league losses. This year, there is really no powerhouse team so maybe someone can win with 10 league losses this year. This is the reason why sweeps are so hard for everyone in the league this year.”
Overall, Daniels was pleased with his team’s effort tonight.
“We really played hard and it is hard to find fault with they way they played tonight,” Daniels said. “The first four games we had against Alaska and Michigan State really set us in a tailspin. We have been working hard to get to .500, but we just can’t get that second win in the weekend series. I don’t know when these sweeps are going to come for us, but we don’t have a lot of games left.”
Ferris State will host Findlay next weekend while Miami hosts Nebraska-Omaha.