BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Ferris State’s record in the CCHA playoffs at home remains undefeated.
The story of the game was the Bulldogs’ stingy defense and the goaltending of Mitch O’Keefe. O’Keefe turned away all 30 shots and Matt Frank had a huge game with the game winner and an assist on an empty-net goal to defeat Ohio State by a final of 3-0.
“I thought the game was a dead heat,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “I thought both teams played well. Both teams had their chances and just didn’t finish. It was a really close game.”
“It’s the story of our season,” Ohio State coach John Markell said. “We had great pressure and moved the puck really well in the second and third periods, but we just couldn’t score. It’s frustrating, that’s for sure. I am encouraged though to see us play so well in the final two periods.”
Ferris State came out with all cylinders firing right off the bat. Matt Frank got the Bulldogs on the board at 2:02 of the first period when Ohio State failed to clear the puck with Ferris State pressuring. Frank collected the puck at the side of the net and roofed it over the head of Ohio State goaltender Dave Caruso to make it 1-0. Dan Riedel increased the lead to 2-0 at 9:23. Joe Van Culin fed Reidel who found himself all alone with only the goaltender to beat. Reidel deked to the backhand and slid the puck between the legs of Caruso.
The second period featured chances by both teams, but neither could bury their opportunities. At one end of the ice, Adam Welch unleashed a shot that hit Caruso, dribbled out of his pads, and almost crossed the goal line before Ohio State cleared the puck. At the other end, a shot by Sean Collins hit O’Keefe and popped into the air. It dropped onto the pad of the sprawling goaltender and rolled off to the side of the net. An inch more and it would have rolled off into the net.
The third period featured an awakening of the Ohio State offense as the Buckeyes dominated play. However, O’Keefe and the rest of the Bulldog defense kept the visitors off the scoresheet. Justin Lewandowski netted his second goal of the year into an empty net to complete the scoring at 19:38.
“You bet I am worried about tomorrow,” Daniels said. “I am always worried about the next game. We can’t come out flat that is for sure. Ohio State is a darn good hockey team.”
Ferris State and Ohio State will play again on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.