SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — On Friday night, it was a battle between Ferris State’s run-and-gun transition offense and Lake Superior’s shutdown defense, and before the game, neither coach knew how the two contrasting styles would work against the other.
As it turned out, neither team had the advantage, and the two teams skated to a 2-2 draw.
The Lakers got on the board first with a beautiful goal by senior Bo Cheesman less than five minutes into the game. He took a pass from Nathan Ward at the blue line, skated around the Bulldog defender, forced goaltender Mike Brown to the right side of the net, and Cheesman skated around the goalie and put the puck just under Brown’s outstretched arm for his second goal of the season.
The Bulldogs responded six minutes later when forward Jeff Legue stole the puck from defenseman Ren Fauci and scored a shorthanded breakaway goal.
Cheesman had another opportunity for the Lakers in the second when he was on the breakaway, but was hauled down from behind by Andrew Winnik. After Cheesman was on the ice, he shot the puck from his stomach past Brown, but it hit the post.
The Lakers took the lead in the third with a rebound goal by Jon Booras, but the Bulldogs answered six minutes later when Matt Rutkowski stuck the puck past a sprawling Cheesman and between the pads of Laker netminder Matt Violin and for his second goal of the season.
Both teams had quality scoring chances toward the end of the game and in overtime, but both Brown and Violin made acrobatic saves.
“I thought both goalies played well,” said Bulldog head coach Bob Daniels. “In particular in overtime, [the Lakers] had a couple of flurries on net, and that’s a lot of pressure on Brown. I thought he stood tall.”
Neither team had any success on the power play. The Bulldogs mustered only seven shots on six power plays, while the Lakers had an abysmal two shots on their six opportunities while giving up four shots and one goal.
“Both power plays are struggling, but I like to think that both teams’ penalty kills were very good,” said Daniels. “I like to look at the glass half full.”
The Bulldogs outskated the Lakers all night, and as a result, the Bulldogs had a 37-23 shot advantage. Even still, Daniels was happy to see his team come away with the tie.
“Any time you can tie on the road in the CCHA, it’s a good thing,” commented Daniels. “Sure, we’d rather have the win, but we are happy with the tie.”
Lake Superior (2-6-1 overall, 2-4-1 CCHA) host the Bulldogs (4-8-1 overall, 1-5-1 CCHA) Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
•The Perani Cup three stars were Rutkowski, Violin, and Cheesman.
•Bulldog freshman defenseman and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., native Jim Jorgensen played his first game against the Lakers tonight. He ended the game with one shot, two penalty minutes, and a +1 rating.
•Laker forward Jeff Oke made his first start of the season, filling in for Alex Dunn who was playing defense in place of the injured Barnabas Birkeland. He also had one shot and two penalty minutes.
•Bulldog coach Bob Daniels is still searching for his 200th career win. He is currently 199-235-36 in this 13th season with Ferris State.