BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — The Ferris State Bulldogs exorcised a bit of road frustration on Monday night, beating the Bowling Green Falcons, 6-5, at the BG Ice Arena.
Ferris State, coming directly from a weekend series 10 hours away in Marquette, picked up a victory after a pair of frustrating losses just hours earlier. The Bulldogs used the power play as a definitive weapon, scoring four times in eight chances with the man-advantage to gain a series sweep against the Falcons.
“[The road trip] would have been even longer if we had gone 0-for-3,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “That would have been a miserable trip. This kind of saved us a little bit.”
“I was real happy with the fact that the guys seemed to have a hard jump for three games in four nights, and the amount of travel we had. Maybe we had a lot of legs today because we didn’t play very well on the Friday night at Northern. We didn’t play hard enough to be tired that night.”
As good as the FSU power play was, Bowling Green’s penalty kill struggled just as much. BG coach Scott Paluch was frustrated with the penalty kill his team exhibited on Monday night.
“They moved [the puck] well, said BG head coach Scott Paluch of Ferris State. “They shot the puck when they had to, and we got no blocks tonight. That was the biggest disappointment for us, because that’s been as big a part on our penalty kill lately. Way too many pucks got through.”
Number-two linemates Dan Riedel and Matt Verdone accounted for much of the Bulldog offense. Riedel had a hat trick to go with an assist on the night, while Verdone chipped in a pair of goals and an assist for his team. Two of Riedel’s goals came via the power play.
“Danny Riedel had a good night,” said Daniels. “He scored two from the blue line that were really big-time shots. He had been out for a while, sick. He hasn’t even been up top on the power play, he’s been down by the goal. But [Chris] Zarb got injured the second night at Northern, so we moved him up top.”
Daniels was impressed with the play of Verdone, who is just now getting over the effects of a high ankle sprain suffered against Mercyhurst
“It was good to see. He’s been struggling, and now, it seems like he’s stepping his game up again.”
Despite a gritty, back-and-forth affair through the first two periods, the Falcons could not handle the transition game of the Bulldogs. A quartet of BG penalties, coupled with two quick Ferris State goals, turned the tide in the favor of the Bulldogs late in the second period, putting the Falcons in a hole they could not dig themselves out of.
“For two periods, their transition forced us to take some penalties,” said Paluch. “Their power play was very good tonight. Their power play beat our penalty kill and ultimately decided the game.”
Both teams scored a pair of goals in the opening period.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 8:41 of the period on a Riedel shot that went off defender Jon Sitko’s skate and past a sliding Horrell for the goal. The tally was Riedel’s fourth of the season, unassisted.
The Falcons scored the next two goals, just over three minutes apart. Rich Meloche’s putback off an Alex Foster shot tied the game, while a Ben Geelan unassisted goal after picking the pocket of a defenseman gave the Falcons the lead.
Ferris State tied the game at 15:51 on a power-play goal. Winger Zac Pearson let a shot go that deflected off the skate of Matt Verdone and into the net to knot the game at 2. Alex Spezia assisted.
Riedel gave the Bulldogs the lead again early in the second period off another power-play try. Riedel blasted a shot from the point that caromed off the crossbar and into the net for the go-ahead goal. Jim Jorgensen and Matt Stefanishion assisted.
Bowling Green tied the game again on a James Unger power-play goal at 7:29 before Ferris answered with a pair of tallies just 16 seconds apart at 16:32 and 16:48, respectively.
Verdone had the first of the two goals off a nice tic-tac-toe pass one-timer from between the circles. He beat Horrell for his second goal of the night. Pearson and Riedel assisted on the play.
Eric Vesely gave the ‘Dogs a two-goal advantage moments later, tipping a Corey Couturier shot over the body of the BG netminder for his fifth goal of the year.
Brandon Svendsen cut the Falcon deficit to one on a pretty goal in front of the net, courtesy of a Bryan Dobek pass just 37 seconds into the third period.
Dan Riedel would close out the game at 4:56 on the Bulldogs’ 4th power play goal of the night. Greg Rallo and Stefanishion assisted.
Down a pair of goals late in the third period, BG pulled the goalie and managed a goal with nine seconds left, courtesy of James Unger. However, that was as close as the Falcons would get.
The Falcons outshot the Bulldogs on the night by a 40-31 margin. Ferris State finished the night 4-of-8 on the power play, while the Falcons were 1-of-5.
The Bulldogs head home this weekend to host a two-game set against No. 14 Lake Superior State. The Falcons play in a home-and home series against the No. 6 Michigan Wolverines, with the Friday game in Ann Arbor, Mich.