BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Blair Riley’s second career hat trick helped boost the Ferris State Bulldogs to an 8-1 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes.
“We were out-competed in every facet of the game,” said Buckeyes coach John Markell. “We kind of had a feeling it was coming. There’s a lot of players that have to look in the mirror and make adjustments to their game.”
The Bulldogs scored early and often in front of 1,689 fans at Ewigleben Ice Arena Friday night. Riley got the Bulldogs started with a short-handed tally at the 5:11 mark of the first. He poked the puck lose in the Bulldogs’ zone before going the length of the ice and lifting a shot high over starting goalie Dusting Carlson’s shoulder.
“I’m shooting the puck a lot more this year,” said Riley.
Riley and coach Bob Daniels both attribute much of his success to playing on a line with Cody Chupp and Casey Haines, who both play a similar style to Riley, making it hard for teams to defend all three at once.
Ferris’ next two goals came on plays from behind the net.
Chupp took a pass from Riley in the left corner, faked going behind the net and came back out the left side before stuffing the puck past Carlson.
Just over a minute later at the 8:55 mark, Eric Alexander won a battle behind Carlson and passed the puck to Mike Embach in the left circle. Embach lifted a backhander past Carlson on the short side.
Markell had seen enough at that point and pulled Carlson in favor of sophomore, Cal Heeter.
The Buckeyes had their chances in the first period, but Taylor Nelson kept them off the board. Buckeyes’ scoring leader Zac Dalpe and Sergio Somma were both denied by the sophomore goaltender. Dalpe and Hunter Bishop were unable to stuff a rebound by Nelson midway through the first on an Ohio State power play and Somma found Nelson’s mask trying to sneak a shot by on the glove side.
Ohio State seized the momentum back with a goal from Dalpe a minute into the second period and looked like they were going to make a game of it for the next few minutes.
However, Ferris came roaring back with a power-play goal from prolific freshman Travis Ouellette. Junior defenseman Zach Redmond put a move on his man at the top of the slot and slid a pass to the now wide open Ouellette. The freshman took his time in burying the Bulldogs’ fourth goal.
“I thought we were back on our heels for the first five minutes of the second period,” said Daniels. “I really thought our fourth goal was a pivotal moment.”
That goal allowed Ferris State to seize control of the game.
The Bulldogs added three more goals in the second period, leading Markell to bring Carlson back into the game.
First, Riley got his second of the night. Casey Haines outworked his man on the right side and kicked the puck ahead to Chupp. The captain slid a pass to Riley across the top of the goal and the senior easily netted his 10th goal of the year.
Ferris State’s last two goals of the second came on a power play, courtesy of a checking from behind major to Dalpe. The Buckeyes killed one minute, but were put down two men when C.J. Severyn was sent off for elbowing. Haines and Chupp again contributed assists to Riley with tic-tac-toe passing that left Riley wide open on the left side.
Ferris won the ensuing faceoff and Matt Kirzinger added his fourth of the year just 16 seconds later when his dump in trickled through Heeter’s pads.
Ferris State senior goalie Jordan Barber saw his first DI action in the third period.
“It’s been a long time; it felt good,” said Barber. “They played great in front of me.”
Eric Alexander added the Bulldogs’ eighth goal by cleaning up a rebound in front of Heeter.