College Hockey:
Bulldogs, Buckeyes Battle to Stalemate

— With one point separating the Bulldogs and Buckeyes in the CCHA standings, Ferris State and Ohio State exchanged leads and momentum, but when the final buzzer sounded, little had been decided, and each team had to settle for a single point and a 3-3 tie.

“Probably a tie was about the right way for the game to end it tonight,” said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. “Even though there weren’t a lot of chances, when they had to they came up with some big saves.”

Mitch O’Keefe stopped 15 shots for FSU, and Buckeye Dave Caruso made 28 saves as the Bulldogs outshot the Buckeyes 31-18. As they have in their last five contests, the Buckeyes allowed a goal within the first three minutes of play, and the Bulldogs led 2-0 less than six minutes in on goals by Greg Rallo and Mark Bomersback. But Kyle Hood cut the FSU lead in half at 11:16 in the first to make it a 2-1 game after one.

“I think there were opportunities on both sides, but somewhat cautious opportunities,” said OSU coach John Markell. “I thought it was a pretty even game. Again, we spot a team two goals and we fight back. We got outshot, but I thought we had some opportunities to score some goals.”

The Bulldogs were 2-10 on the power play, including Rallo’s game-opening goal and Jeremy Scherlinck’s second-period tally that tied the game after OSU had gained the lead.

Rallo’s goal at 2:10 was the result of good cycling down low, with Dan Riedel firing from the left circle and Caruso making the save. Corey Couturier touched the rebound over to Rallo, who netted his 16th of the season from near the crease at 2:10.

Bomersback’s goal was the finishing touch on Scherlinck’s mid-ice steal. Bomersback skated in solo on Caruso and faked right and shot left for the 2-0 lead at 5:59.

At 11:16, Hood received a pretty feed from Tom Fritsche in the right FSU circle and lifted the backhander up and in to make it 2-1 after one.

“We made a real tough mistakewhen they scored their first goal we made a real poor change, and all of a sudden out of really what looked like nothing it was a three-on-one and a breakaway,” said Daniels. “I think that breathed some life into them, and from that point they carried the play for a while.”

After taking the early two-goal lead, the Bulldogs came out in the second period and attempted a repeat performance in the opening minute of play. But Caruso was on his game, first stopping Bomersback’s shot from the left circle and then gloving Pearson’s rebound.

“Dave Caruso, you saw what he’s made of,” said Markell. “He came back with a spectacular save to keep us there.”

The solid netminding seemed to settle the Buckeyes, but that didn’t prevent them from finding themselves in penalty trouble when Jason DeSantis and Matt Waddell earned overlapping minors to give the Bulldogs over a minute of five-on-three advantage.

The successful penalty kill gave an OSU bench shortened by injuries new energy. At 9:36, Matt Waddell fired from the right point and hit a Bulldog defender; the puck deflected left past O’Keefe, who was expecting the shot to go right, tying the game.

Then at 11:11, shorthanded, Matt McIlvane stole the puck in the neutral zone, threaded two defenders, walked in on O’Keefe, and gave the Buckeyes their first lead since a 3-2 loss at Michigan on Feb. 4.

Scherlinck scored on that same power play 1:03 later to again knot the game, which is how it stayed through the cautious third period and the very cautious overtime.

“Looking back, I probably should have called a timeout (after McIlvane’s goal) because we were deflated,” said Daniels. “Then we got the power-play goal, and I thought we were back. Realistically, I probably should have called the timeout because we were reeling when they went up 3-2. We had come from a five-on-three; the place started to rock a little bit, the crowd got into it because of the (penalty) kill. When they scored, the place erupted.”

Markell, whose Buckeyes snapped a four-game losing streak with the tie, seemed relieved to have made it through another game without an injury. OSU was down to a 20-man roster before Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to Miami; after an injury to forward Dan Knapp in that contest, OSU has 19 healthy men.

“We came out with 19 players,” said Markell. “I’m not smiling when I’m saying that. That’s good.”

The Bulldogs (14-12-7, 9-10-6 CCHA) and Buckeyes (14-15-5, 10-12-3 CCHA) meet again in Value City Arena at 8:05 p.m. Saturday. And for that game, Markell said there’s one adjustment OSU must make.

“We’ve got to stay out of the box. We spot a team two goals in the first period, and then we take five or six penalties. We’re draining ourselves of our energy.”

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