SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Ferris State Bulldogs followed up Friday nights victory by tying the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2-2 on Saturday night and securing their first three point CCHA weekend since the beginning of December.
Zach Redmond and Blair Riley had goals for the Bulldogs, and Mitch OKeefe was once again strong in net, stopping 33 shots.
I thought our goaltender had a strong weekend, said Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels. And in particular tonight I was pleased with our defensive zone coverage. I thought we were really good in our own end.
On Notre Dames side of the ice, Ian Cole and Christian Hanson lit the lamp, while Jordan Pearce turned in a solid performance between the pipes, stopping 27 shots.
In an identical start to last nights game, Notre Dame jumped out to a 1-0 lead with an early power play goal. This time, freshman defenseman Ian Cole ripped a one-timer from the just inside the right circle at 3:15 of the first period.
Cole was set up with a perfect cross-ice pass from Erik Condra, who recorded his team-leading 21st assist on the play.
I thought we played a better game tonight, said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. I thought we did the little things with the puck that we didnt do last night. Had we won last night, tonight wouldnt have looked so bad.
The Irish continued to carry the play, aided by four straight power plays, until a Ferris State shorthanded goal 11:32 into the period. With the Bulldogs playing two men down due to penalties against Jim Jorgensen and Matt Case, Zach Redmond was able to come through for his team.
Notre Dame defenseman Brett Blatchford fumbled with the puck at the point and then tried a desperation pass that Redmond intercepted. Redmond skated in all alone and beat Pearce with a quick shot from the right faceoff dot.
Notre Dame did not let the special teams setback throw them off their game, however. The Irish finished the period strong, outshooting the Bulldogs 14-8, and started the second period continuing their dominant play.
The hard work paid off for the Irish when Christian Hanson put Notre Dame ahead at 6:34 of the second period. Hanson corralled a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and took a shot that hit OKeefes stick and trickled past the goaltender to give the Irish a 2-1 lead.
Ferris State was able to answer once again just less than three minutes later, taking advantage of a nice bounce to notch a power play goal. With Ian Cole in the penalty box for holding the stick, Scott Wietecha took a shot from the point that went well wide of the goal.
However, Wietechas shot took a huge hop off the back boards right to the front of the net, where Blair Riley tucked the puck into an open net for his 10th goal of the season. Wietecha and Cody Chupp were awarded assists on the play.
After the Bulldog goal, the teams traded chances for the remainder of the period. Both Pearce and OKeefe were up to the task, however, matching each other save for save. The best chance came with just over three minutes to play in the period, when Ian Cole missed the net by mere inches on a one-time chance, a play that looked nearly identical to Coles first period goal.
The latter half of the second period also saw an increase in physical play as both teams began to scuffle after the whistle. After Mark Van Guilders boarding penalty, Teddy Ruth of the Irish and Justin Lewandowski of the Bulldogs received coincidental minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Later in the period, Zach Redmond of Ferris State and Christian Hanson of Notre Dame tangled with each other after Redmond appeared to swing his stick at the head
of Hanson. No penalties were called on the play.
Both teams had quality scoring chances in the opening minutes of the third period. Brendan Connolly had a breakaway chance turned aside by Pearce, and down at the other end of the ice Garrett Regan nearly had an open net chance on a rebound, but the puck slid just by the tip of his outstretched stick.
Justin Menke had a golden opportunity to put his Bulldogs ahead with 6:50 to play, when he found himself all alone in the slot. Menkes shot was right on, but a fully outstretched Jordan Pearce managed to get his glove on the puck, sending it caroming up into the mesh netting behind the goal.
Pearce was also excellent to end regulation time, making save after save on a flurry of Ferris State shots while the Bulldogs controlled the puck in the offensive zone for nearly the entire final 90 seconds.
Neither team was able to muster much in the extra five minutes. Perhaps the best chance came with 36 seconds left, when Irish defenseman Kyle Lawson walked around a Bulldog forward and fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
The shot, through heavy traffic, was stopped by OKeefe.
Tonights game marked the end of the season series between the two teams, in which the Bulldogs prevailed, going 2-1-1. Ferris State continues their stretch of tough games next weekend when they host the Miami RedHawks, while the Irish look to get back on track as they make the long trip north to take on the Alaska Nanooks.