BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Four power-play goals powered the Ferris State Bulldogs to their fifth straight home win Friday night.
We’re a good hockey team 5-on-5, but you give someone 11 power plays and they’re going to score, said Bowling Green head coach Dennis Williams.
Both teams had their chances in the first period, but neither could capitalize. Both David Solway and James Perkin had good looks for the Falcons, but Ferris State goaltender, Taylor Nelson, saw their shots the whole way and was able to make the easy saves. The Bulldogs had chances as well but couldn’t connect.
After a scoreless first period, the Falcons took an early lead 59 seconds into the second. Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Kai Kantola broke in on a 2-on-1 that was well defended by Zach Redmond, but Samuels-Thomas beat everyone to the rebound and shot the puck into an empty net.
That goal was all the offense the Falcons could muster. A breakdown of discipline led to Ferris State getting four power plays in the second period and
they found the back of the net on three of them.
That was very uncharacteristic of us. I was not happy with our discipline tonight, said Williams.
Ferris’ first goal came on a 5-on-3 following a too many men on the ice bench minor and an incident that resulted in Ian Ruel getting two separate penalties for facemasking and cross-checking. Casey Haines pulled the draw back to Zach Redmond who zipped a cross-ice pass to Blair Riley. Riley easily put the one-timer past Falcons starting goalie Andrew Hammond.
On the ensuing 5-on-4 power play, Bowling Green cleared the zone once only to have the Bulldogs’ Travis Ouellette net his third goal of the season coming back the other way. Ouellette let a shot fly just after crossing the blue line that deflected off Hammond’s blocker and into the corner of the net. After taking the lead, the Bulldogs never let up.
The difference for us was the power play. The even strength game was tied 1-1, said Bulldog head coach Bob Daniels. We’ve been down that path where you a stack a few up [penalties] in a row and it’s hard to dig out of.
Matthew Kirzinger found the twine for Ferris’ third power play goal. Scott Wietecha took a hard shot from the point that went wide right, ricocheted off the boards behind the net and came out the left side right onto Kirzinger’s stick. The freshman needed no second chances to get his third goal of the year.
We practice that a lot, said Wietecha. It’s a real advantage when you know all the angles in your rink.
Kirziner also got in on the action on Ferris’ final goal of the period. After Eric Alexander dumped the puck into the Bowling Green zone, Kirzinger was the first one there and he threw a perfect pass to Justin Menke in right circle. The goal was Menke’s second of the year. Four goals were enough to chase Hammond. Back-up goaltender Nick Eno was brought in to finish the game.
The Falcons were not without chances in the second period, but they failed to convert on them. Late in the period Perkins was denied twice. One shot was seen by Nelson the whole way while is second was blocked by Menke.
Riley wrapped up the game’s scoring 59 seconds into the third with another 5-on-3 goal. Ferris State won a face-off in the Falcon’s zone and defensemen Matt Case and Brett Wysopal cycled the puck up high before passing to Riley who was cutting through the slot. Riley’s wrist shot sailed by a screened Eno.
For a fifth straight home game, the Bulldogs dominated the shots on goal, outshooting Bowling Green 35-23.
We all go the net, said Riley. Coach said it’s never a bad play to throw the puck on net.
The Bulldogs will look to complete back-to-back-to-back home sweeps when the two teams meet again on Saturday with the face-off scheduled for 5:05.