BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — It was a game of highs and lows for both the Huskies and the Bulldigs, but in the end Ferris State had too much firepower, cruising to a 5-3 victory in Big Rapids. In the dying moments of the second period, it was Joe Van Culin with the game-winner from Jeff Legue, who dropped the puck back for Van Culin’s wrister at 19:21.
“I thought we played a very good game,” Bulldog coach Bob Daniels said. “We had a lot of shots on net, and generated a lot of scoring chances. I think both goaltenders played excellent as well. I don’t think you can say there were any bad goals.”
The Bulldogs sat their captain defenseman Matt York for the game and gave freshman goaltender Derek MacIntyre an opportunity to play. In response, FSU came out firing on all cylinders in the first period. Tim Vokey started the scoring for the Bulldogs with a great individual effort at 2:05. After intercepting a clearing attempt at the far side boards, Vokey skated it in untouched and put it past Husky goaltender Brad Smith to make it 1-0.
“The decision to sit Matt York wasn’t disciplinary,” Daniels said. “I really wanted to give our young defensemen a chance to play. If York is on the bench, I would use him and he eats up a lot of ice time. Today, Joe Van Culin got extra ice time and made the most of it.”
Jim Jorgensen made it 2-0 at 8:09 on a two-on-one opportunity, flanked by Derek Nesbitt. Nesbitt centered the puck to Jorgensen, who fought off a hook from behind to tip the puck over Smith. The Bulldogs dominated the period, outshooting and out-chancing Connecticut by a two-to-one margin.
The second period swung Connecticut’s way from the start as the Huskies netted two goals in the first two minutes. Trevor Stewart got it started 38 seconds in when he intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and fired the puck past MacIntyre to make it 2-1. Beau McLaughlin tied the game 2-2 on an odd-man rush, taking a centering pass from Ryan Palmer and hitting the top corner of the net at 1:54.
The Bulldogs answered quickly to regain their lead with Zac Pearson’s goal at 3:19. Matt Verdone connected with Pearson, centering the puck for Pearson’s wrister, to put FSU up 3-2. Van Culin’s four-on-four goal gave FSU a 4-2 lead after two.
The third period was almost all Ferris State, with the Bulldogs earning the majority of the scoring chances. Legue scored four-on-four at 17:21 to make it a 5-2 FSU game. Husky Matt Scherer’s power-play deflection with four seconds left made it 5-3.
“I think Connecticut is a heck of a team,” Daniels said. “Their record just doesn’t reflect the kind of talent they have. Even though we came out with the victory, we have a lot of things to work on.”
Ferris State (3-8-0, 1-5-0 CCHA) and Connecticut (1-6-1, 0-1-0 AH) will play again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday in Ewigleben Arena.