BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Four second period goals helped Miami earn a sweep over Ferris State and a commanding lead in the CCHA standings.
Miami (15-4-5, 12-1-3-1 CCHA) weathered an early storm from Ferris before coming from behind to take a three-goal lead into the late stages of the game. Ferris tallied two goals in the last six minutes of the game, but failed to complete the comeback bid.
“We knew they were going to come out hard and they did; it was a good hockey game,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “Both teams played physical and both teams had their opportunities. We got a couple of lucky bounces, but that’s the way it goes this time of year.”
Ferris State (16-6-2, 10-4-2-2 CCHA) tallied the first goal of the game, kicking off a flurry that saw three goals scored in just 34 seconds. Matt Case took a pass from Blair Riley in the slot and eluded two Miami defenders before beating Cody Reichard with a wrist shot.
Miami won the ensuing faceoff and went right to work in the Ferris zone, where Chris Wideman found the back of the net to bring the game back to a deadlock.
Mike Fillinger gave Ferris the lead back seconds later. His shot from the top of the right circle hit the post and landed in the crease, where Reichard was unable to locate it before it rolled into the net.
“It was a battle tonight back and forth, and I thought our guys did a pretty good job,” said Blasi.
Starting with Tommy Wingels’ first goal of the night, Miami added the next four goals to put the game out of reach.
Wingels’ dump-in attempt became Miami’s third goal when the puck deflected off Bulldogs’ defenseman Matt Case’s skates and past a surprised Taylor Nelson.
Miami added two more goals in the waning minutes of the second period. First, Jarod Palmer took advantage of a Miami power play to give the RedHawks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Devon Mantha made an excellent pass to Palmer for a one-timer that found the twine behind Nelson.
With 35 seconds to play in the second period, Carter Camper hit the left post and puck deflected to Alden Hirschfeld, who had a wide open net to shoot into. That spelled the end for Nelson, as he was pulled in favor of Pat Nagle after the second period.
Wingels’ second goal of the night midway through the third period proved to be the game-winner for Miami. Wingels cleaned up a big rebound off a Camper shot, but Ferris State wasn’t done yet.
With five minutes to play, Aaron Lewicki got a rebound goal of his own after a shot from Todd Pococke got away from Reichard during a Ferris State power play.
After taking a time-out with just over a minute left to regroup, Matthew Kirzinger beat Reichard with a blast from the left point while Ferris State had an empty net for the extra attacker. Ferris State coach Bob Daniels kept Nagle on the bench for the final faceoff, but Ferris failed to gain the Miami zone and the RedHawks held on for the win.
“All-in-all, the kids played much better tonight,” said Daniels. “I’m happy we continued right to the end.”
Besides the battle for the top of the CCHA standings, Saturday’s game had far reaching consequences for both teams. Miami will be without the services of junior forward Andy Miele in their first game at Alaska next weekend after he received a five-minute major and game disqualification for kicking during the first period.
Cody Chupp and Scott Wietecha were both knocked out of the game after taking big hits in the second period. Wietecha was cleared to play and returned for a shift in the third, but the Ferris State coaching staff felt it would be prudent to hold him out of the remainder of the game. Chupp took a big hit from Trent Vogelhuber, who was whistled for charging on the play, and was taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays on his hip.