DETROIT — Lost in Wayne State’s dramatic comeback on Friday night were the heroics of Ferris State freshman Aaron Lewicki, who scored FSU’s apparent game-winning goal midway through the third period before WSU’s last-ditch effort erased it.
So, when given a similar opportunity on Saturday, Lewicki decided to do it again.
Lewicki keyed Ferris State’s four-goal outburst in the third with a remarkably similar rebound tally, propelling the Bulldogs to a 7-3 win over Wayne State at the Michigan State Fairgrounds and a series split.
“The puck popped out at me in front,” Lewicki said, “You can’t ask for more than that. If we keep pulling off third periods like that, we’ll win some more games.”
Playing about 20 minutes from home, Lewicki’s standout homecoming was important, as FSU head coach Bob Daniels said that the Livonia, Mich., native entered the weekend fighting for a spot in the lineup.
“He got in last weekend and played really well at Northern (Michigan),” Daniels said. “And for him to have the weekend that he did — I think his game is starting to come around. It has been an uphill climb for him.”
As in Friday’s game, Lewicki’s marker gave FSU (6-14-3, 3-10-2 CCHA) a one-goal lead. This time, the Bulldogs were able to put the clamps on Wayne State defensively and received insurance markers from Adam Welch, Chris Zarb and Jeremy Scherlinck (empty net).
“By us scoring first (in the third), I do think we gained some momentum from that,” Daniels said. “I thought the fourth goal was critical.”
With the game tied at two in the second, FSU’s Eric Vesely drew a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind. But just 38 seconds into Wayne State’s man advantage, Cody Chupp picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and beat WSU goalie Brett Bothwell on a breakaway.
Chupp’s effort — the freshman also notched a first-period power-play goal — symbolized FSU’s Saturday improvement, as the Bulldogs scored three times on special teams (Lewicki’s game-winner also came on the power play) and killed off six WSU man advantages.
“We were shorthanded quite a bit — our ability to kill those penalties and then convert on the power play was a huge factor,” Daniels said.
The Bulldogs also harassed Bothwell with traffic in front and scored on second chances, after playing mostly on the outside during Friday’s loss.
“We were stronger in the slot area,” Daniels said. “Last night, I thought Wayne State did a superb job of keeping us to the outside. We weren’t willing to pay the price to get in for rebounds, just because it was uncomfortable. Today, I thought the guys did a better job of going to those uncomfortable areas.”
Although Jared Katz’s second goal of the weekend tied the game with 40 seconds left in the second period, Wayne State (5-17-0, 1-7-0 CHA) could not match FSU’s effort in the third.
“I thought Ferris had a lot more jump, especially in the third,” said WSU head coach Bill Wilkinson. “I thought that was their difference: they had a little more intensity that we did.”
Derek MacIntyre picked up the win while making 25 saves in just his fourth game of the season, while Bothwell stopped 26 shots for WSU.
The series was the last nonconference action of the season for both teams. Ferris State returns to Big Rapids this weekend for a series with Nebraska-Omaha, while Wayne State remains at home to begin the CHA stretch run against Robert Morris.