COLUMBUS, Ohio — With goals production from all four lines, the Ferris State Bulldogs recorded their second shutout in as many games, defeating Ohio State 4-0 in Value City Arena.
Pat Nagle, who stopped 27 shots in the first shutout of his collegiate career and assisted on the game-winning goal, was quick to credit his teammates for limiting the Buckeyes’ chances.
“They had some really good opportunities, but I thought our defense shut them down really well,” said Nagle. “They blocked a lot of shots tonight, which makes my life a lot easier.
“I thought our forwards did a good job of back-checking. There were a lot of times when they tied guys up in the slot. Pucks were kind of bumbled around when they were open and they weren’t able to get the shot off.”
The game was a tale of two goalies. Ohio State starting netminder Joseph Palmer allowed three goals to pass between his legs, with the first and third being deal-breakers for the Bucks. The first was Justin Lewandowski’s second goal of the season at 3:21 in the second, a fluttering shot from the neutral zone that hit its mark five-hole. The third was Adam Miller’s second of the year, a slow-motion shot from the left point at 4:20 in the third.
After Miller’s goal, Palmer — who made 26 stops in the contest — was replaced by fellow sophomore Nick Filion.
“My real impression of the game was that it was really a very even game,” said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. “That first goal was . . . a boost for us. I thought we were kind of back on our heels at that point, too. For us to get that goal was . . . a deflater for them.
“And I thought our third goal, too, was the one that Palmer would like to have back. Truthfully, he’s a very good goaltender. When that happens and you’ve got a young team like Ohio State does, I think it’s a difficult mountain for them to climb.
“Conversely, I thought our goaltender was outstanding tonight. To me, the story of this game was goaltending. I know Palmer plays much better than that, and he just had a tough night, that’s all.”
The Bulldogs were up 2-0 after two on Lewandowski’s goal and Zach Redmond’s four-on-four crashing goal at 8:40. Redmond passed out from behind the FSU net to Brendan Connolly, who took the puck up the boards on the right side before dishing back to the breaking Redmond at the top of the slot and Redmond one-timed it home.
Miller’s marker made it 3-0 early in the third, and J.T. Dahlinger made it 4-0 at 15:21 with a shot from close in on Filion. In all, 11 Bulldogs each registered one point on the night.
“I’m glad we’re getting them from a variety of sources,” said Daniels, “but the reality is, between now and the end of the year, we need to come up with a line or two that you can say, ‘Boy, they’re really a top line in the CCHA,’ and right now we don’t have that.
“I would put our defensive corps in the top five in the league if not higher. Our goaltending, as of today, is [among] the top six [teams], good enough to get our team in the top six, but I don’t know if our offense or are forwards are.”
Last week, the Buckeyes played two close game in Minnesota which left OSU head coach John Markell pleased with his young team’s progress. Now Ohio State is 0-2 at home and Markell was very vocal about his team’s performance in the VCA.
“It’s been two flat games,” said Markell. “Obviously, we have to look at what’s going on during the week. Who knows with the young guys, but the older guys, there’s no excuses. They know the pattern we go through in a week. We’ve been at home since last Saturday.”
“Couldn’t agree more,” said OSU senior captain, Matt McIlvane. “As young as we are, we have as many old players, we have as many seniors. There is a lot of talent in our senior class, and right now it’s not showing through, myself included.”
McIlvane said that the Buckeyes, who have netted four goals in five games, feel a responsibility to their sophomore starter in net. “He has held us in so many games so far this year. He’s carried us through the season. How many goals are you going to win when you score zero goals? That’s our problem right now; it’s not Joe Palmer. He’s our best player right now.”
The Bulldogs (3-3-1, 2-1-0 CCHA) and Buckeyes (2-5-0, 0-3-0 CCHA) will meet for their final game of the regular season Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in Columbus. Daniels said that he has yet to make the decision about who will start in net for the matinee match. Mitch O’Keefe earned CCHA Goaltender of the Week honors after his 3-0 shutout of Notre Dame last week, but Daniels said he went with Nagle tonight because FSU has been rotating its starters.