BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Friday’s game between Northern Michigan and Ferris State might be compared to the classic Clint Eastwood film “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
The “good” went to Northern Michigan, for taking advantage of its opportunities. The “bad” was Ferris State’s inability to score despite outshooting the Wildcats by a 3-to-1 margin. And the “ugly” for the Bulldogs was the misfortune of Ferris State netminder Derek MacIntyre, who gave up four NMU goals on 11 shots at one point in the game.
When the horn sounded, Northern Michigan got a key two points on the road with a 5-2 victory.
The game winning goal came when Mike Santorelli scored on a 3-on-1 odd-man rush. Andrew Contois’ first shot was stopped by MacIntyre, but Santorelli was there to put the rebound home at 13:46 to make it 3-1.
“This game was all about goaltending,” Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle said. “We got a great performance from ours, and Ferris didn’t.”
“I don’t think we played a bad game,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “When we had our breakdowns, they were big ones.”
Ferris State came out with the extra jump early in the first period. The Bulldogs’ effort was rewarded at the 4:51 mark to make it 1-0. Joe Van Culin unleashed a shot from the point that went off a Wildcat defenseman and into the net.
With Northern Michigan being outshot 2-to-1 and the ice tilted in the Bulldogs’ favor, Santorelli answered the call for the Wildcats.
At 16:32, Santorelli tied the game when he came out of the penalty box and went in on a breakaway. He deked to the left and pushed the puck past MacIntyre. Dusty Collins got his first goal of the season 1:23 later when he moved around the Bulldog defense and got a wrist shot off the beat the goaltender though the five-hole to make it 2-1.
NMU goaltender Tuomas Tarkki kept up his stellar play as he turned away all of the Bulldogs’ shots in the second period. With their goaltender holding the offense at bay, Santorelli got another bounce and another goal to make it 3-1.
Ferris State’s Greg Rallo chipped in a nice backhand goal in the slot to bring the lead back to one at 1:48 of the third period, but Darin Olver put the game away with two goals of his own for Northern Michigan.
The first was a backbreaker for the Bulldogs, who carrying the play for most of the game. Olver’s wrister from the top of the faceoff circle at 9:44 hit the top corner of the net just over the glove of MacIntyre, and his second goal was an empty-netter with 15 seconds to go.
“We are going to have to work harder tomorrow if we are going to have success,” Kyle said. “Ferris State played a great game tonight, and we will need to match that.”
“MacIntyre had a shaky game tonight, but we can’t blame it all on him,” Daniels said. “Tomorrow we get to honor our seniors, and there is only one way I can describe them: hard workers. They are the players who keep this team together and they will be recognized tomorrow.”