SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Ferris State Bulldogs continued their winning ways on Friday, beating the
Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 2-1, in the second round of the CCHA playoffs for
their seventh win in their last nine games.
Coming off a bye week, the Irish came out sluggish in the first period,
surrendering both of Ferris States goals within the first eight minutes of the
I think the first ten minutes really made the difference, Ferris State coach
Bob Daniels said. You could see Notre Dame shaking the rust off after that.
The fact that we played twice last week was definitely to our advantage.
Ferris State got on the scoreboard first only 4:08 into the game when Cody
Chupp capitalized on an Irish defensive zone turnover. Chupp stole the puck
off the stick of Notre Dame defenseman Ian Cole in the slot and flipped a quick
shot over the shoulder of Irish goaltender Jordan Pearce that hit the crossbar
and dropped into the net for a 1-0 Bulldogs lead.
The Bulldogs wasted little time adding onto their lead, striking on the power
play only three minutes later. After a shot from the point left Irish
defenseman Brock Sheahan down and injured in front of the net, Justin Menke
beat a diving Pearce to give Ferris State a 2-0 lead. Blair Riley recorded an
assist on the play.
Pearce made 26 saves on the night in the losing effort.
Ferris State continued to control the play throughout the majority of the first
period. Notre Dame did not register their first shot on goal until the 13:21
Irish coach Jeff Jackson echoed Daniels thoughts, saying The first 10
minutes of the game were the difference. You could tell they were in much
better game shape than we were, and it showed.
The Irish got back into the game with a goal from freshman Ben Ryan in the
final minute of the first period. Due to a delayed penalty on the Bulldogs,
Notre Dame forward Kevin Deeth came onto the ice as an extra attacker. He
received a pass from Evan Rankin in the neutral zone and carried the puck all
the way into the zone and behind the net.
Deeth then found an open Ryan in front of the net, and the freshman wasted no time beating Mitch OKeefe for his ninth goal of the season.
After Ryans goal, however, OKeefe was stellar. Coupled with a tenacious
defense that blocked 22 Irish shots, OKeefe made 25 saves on the night to
preserve the lead for his team.
The second period was scoreless despite several chances for Notre Dame to tie
the game. The first came 8:30 into the period, when a flurry of pressure put
Mitch OKeefe out of position in his net. Bulldog defenseman Matt Case saved a
goal when he stopped an Irish shot with his stick near the goal line.
A few minutes later, Ryan Thang took a pass off the boards and went in on a
breakaway. Thang deked around OKeefe, but the put rolled off his stick and
trickled harmlessly into the corner.
The Irish had a potential tying goal waved off with just under four minutes to
play in the second period when the referee incorrectly blew the whistle on a
high stick. A Bulldog player got his stick on the puck in the neutral zone,
and the puck bounced directly to a streaking Ben Ryan, who buried the shot.
However, the referee apparently believed that a Ferris State player first
touched the puck, and the whistle blew before the goal was scored.
Jordan Pearce worked hard to keep Notre Dame in the game throughout the third.
A giveaway by Dan VeNard sent Bulldog forward Cody Chupp in alone on Pearce
nearly halfway through the period, but Pearce stoned Chupp on a backhand
Ferris State now leads the best of three series 1-0. Game 2 of the series is
Saturday night at the Joyce Center, where the puck drops at 7:05 P.M. ET.