COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 5-3 win over the Ferris State Bulldogs on Friday night, the standings in the middle of the CCHA got a bit more interesting.
Ohio State climbed above the Michigan Wolverines who lost to Michigan State Friday night for seventh in the conference. With Michigan State’s win, Ferris State now drops four points behind the Michigan State Spartans as they are now in second.
I think after the Miami series (two weeks ago) when we dropped two, the ability to win the league outright was going to be an uphill climb, Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels said. But right now, we certainly have a great opportunity to secure a top three spot and help us with our tournament bid in terms of the NCAA. So there is no panic, but in some respects, a little panic would be good.
With Michigan in ninth place in the CCHA, there is only a four point separation between them and fourth place Lake Superior State. Alaska, Nebraska-Omaha, Ohio State, and Notre Dame all lie in between.
I don’t even know what the other teams are doing, all I am worried about is
what we have to do tomorrow, Ohio State coach John Markell said.
We had a standing board in the locker room and we took that down to focus game-to game and not to focus on every other team, Buckeyes’ forward Sergio Somma said.
Ohio State has now won four of its last five games since the holiday break. Ferris State has lost four out of its last five games.
The Buckeyes never trailed in Friday’s game. Ohio State’s Cal Heeter was the better of the two goaltenders stopping 46-of-49 shots. Bulldogs’ goalie Pat Nagle had 25 saves on 30 shots. Markell said he will likely start Dustin Carlson as his goalie for Saturday’s rematch. Daniels said he would need to sleep before deciding, but said he would likely give Taylor Nelson the nod on Saturday
I thought the first half of the game, certainly Ohio State was the better team, Daniels said. I thought we slept a lot during the first period and a half. I thought the defensive end of the game, we were very slipshod. It was a bad combination of us being poor defensively and our goaltender having an off night.
The Buckeyes had their best period in the first as they outscored the Bulldogs 2-1 and shots were even at 11 for each team. Ohio State had even-strength goals from Zac Dalpe and Somma. Ferris State got its lone goal from Chad Billins.
The Buckeyes grabbed a 3-1 lead as Chris Reed scored his first of the season on a slap shot from the blue line while on the power play. The Bulldogs answered 11:37 into the period when Justin Menke scored on a shot that went under the arm of Heeter.
Ohio State got its second power-play goal of the game from Matt Bartkowski whose slapper beat the glove of Nagle to go up 4-2 2:06 into the third period. Ferris State cut the lead in half as Brett Wysopal’s wrist shot went above the glove of Heeter.
The Buckeyes got an insurance goal exactly two minutes later as Peter Boyd’s shot went off Bulldogs’ defenseman Zach Redmond and trickled into the net. Boyd’s goal was his fourth point of the evening. He was line-mates with Somma and Dalpe and the trio combined for seven points.
I think in our line, we are feeling good and we’re having playing with each other out on the ice, Somma said.
They work hard in practice to generate those opportunities and they are leaders, Markell said.
Ferris State outshot Ohio State in the final two periods 38-19. In November at Ferris State, the Buckeyes were swept by the Bulldogs. Ohio State had a 5-2 third period lead wiped away in the second match of that series.
I thought (Ferris State) played a better game after the first period, Markell said. I thought the game ebbed and flowed at certain points. But we took care of our opportunities and they scored goals at the right time, too.