MADISON, Wis. — Senior goaltender Mike Brown helped Ferris State shake off the post-holiday doldrums and advance to the championship game of the Badger Hockey Showdown.
Brown made nine of his 22 saves in the third period as the Bulldogs defeated Clarkson, 4-1, at the Kohl Center to move one win away from becoming the first team besides Wisconsin to win back-to-back Showdowns.
“He was solid back there,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said of his goaltender. “I thought our defensemen played well as a whole.”
Jeff Legue and Greg Rallo scored first-period goals to stake the Bulldogs (7-10-2) to a 2-0 lead, and Derek Nesbitt added a goal and an assist. Ferris State ran its unbeaten streak to four games (3-0-1) and will play the Yale-Wisconsin winner in Saturday’s championship game.
Jay Latulippe scored and Dustin Traylen stopped 23 shots for the Golden Knights (4-12-2).
It was the first game since Dec. 11 for both teams. Clarkson had a two-game unbeaten streak snapped.
“I was really discouraged with the way we approached the game,” Golden Knights coach George Roll said. “I thought, mentally, we weren’t prepared to play and play hard. I can’t understand it because the guys worked extremely hard in practice this week.”
Legue and Rallo scored to give Ferris State a 2-0 lead after a first period that showed the rust on both teams. Legue fired a wrist shot past Traylen on a power play for his team-leading 12th goal of the season, and Rallo beat the goaltender with an innocent-looking turnaround shot from the outside of the left faceoff circle for his third score.
Clarkson cut its deficit in half in the second period when senior Jay Latulippe poked a deflected shot past Brown at the left side of the net, giving him the team lead with eight goals.
But the Bulldogs took a 3-1 lead early in the third period, when Derek Nesbitt redirected a Jim Jorgensen shot slowly through Traylen’s pads and into the net. It was Nesbitt’s third goal in his last four games and seventh of the season.
Junior Andrew Winnik scored his first goal of the season and only the second of his career on a long shot to make it 4-1 for the Bulldogs with under four minutes to play in the third period.