BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — For two periods, Findlay hung tough. Outshot, outchanced and dominated territorially by Ferris State, the Oilers fought the Bulldogs to a 2-2 draw through 40 minutes of play.
But at 2:25 of the third period, Simon Mangos’ power-play goal — his second goal of the game — was just what the Bulldogs needed. Mangos took a cross-ice pass from Jeff Legue and roofed it over sprawling Findlay goaltender Will Hooper to give Ferris the lead in what turned out to be a 4-2 victory.
And even though the game was won by the Bulldogs, the real story was Hooper, who made 47 saves to keep the Oilers in the contest.
“Their goalie was fantastic tonight,” Bulldog coach Bob Daniels said. “He definitely kept Findlay in the game right up to the end.”
Ferris State dominated the shot chart in the first period, outshooting the Oilers by a 20-2 margin — but after 20 minutes of play the score was tied.
The Bulldogs came out on a mission, launching the first 17 shots on goal, but Hooper made a series of fantastic stops as he held the Bulldog offense at bay. Ferris finally scored at 17:06, on the power play, as Mangos took Jeff Legue’s pass and shot the puck into the open net to make it 1-0.
The lead only lasted 36 seconds, though, as Findlay scored on its first shot of the game. Kenny Macaulay let go a shot from the point that deflected in off Kurt Wright at 17:42.
“It was more disappointment than anything else,” Daniels said. “We never lost momentum, though, and we never got frustrated. Normally, when the ice is tilted in your favor and a fluke bounce goes against you on the scoreboard, you go into the dressing room and chew on it a little bit.
“However, tonight, I was really pleased with how we kept playing.”
The second period started as a mirror image of the first with Ferris State dominating scoring chances and shots. Carter Thompson’s goal at 8:50 regained the lead for the Bulldogs, but Findlay wouldn’t quit.
Wright scored his second of the night when he picked up a loose puck in the slot and wristed it top corner over goaltender Mike Brown to tie the game again at 14:20.
Derrick McIver iced the game at 19:22 of the third period with a shorthanded empty-netter, and Daniels was happy with how his team responded.
“I don’t think we could have done any better than we did,” Daniels said. “Mike Brown came up with a few good saves in the final period to keep us in the lead. We passed the puck very well. Our power play clicked like I wanted it to.
“It looks like the things we have been working on in practice are starting to show on the ice.”
Ferris State and Findlay face off again Saturday night.