SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — Just 24 hours after giving up a pair of goals in the final minute in a loss to Lake Superior State, the Ferris State Bulldogs got back on the winning track Saturday night.
A goal by Casey Haines 58 seconds into the third period held up as the game-winner as the Bulldogs beat Lake Superior, 2-1. The win came on the heels of a disappointing loss one night earlier in which Ferris State took a lead with less than a minute remaining in regulation, only to see the Lakers score twice in the game’s final 49 seconds to beat Ferris State, 4-3.
“I was really disappointed (Friday) night; I’m not going to sugarcoat it, that was about as devastating a loss as I’ve ever been involved with in college hockey,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels.
“We needed something like (Saturday) because we hadn’t been winning,” Daniels added. “You lose your confidence and after (Friday) night’s game, you start to wonder, ‘Gee, can we drive one home? Can we finish a game.’ It kind of felt like we were going to need a big save by our goaltender and maybe break the ice and get our confidence back that we can win and hold onto a lead late.”
The Bulldogs got their big save when junior goaltender Pat Nagle made a diving stop on Domenic Monardo with just under two minutes left in regulation and Ferris State up by a goal.
“It was a big save for them,” said Lakers coach Jim Roque. “(Ferris) has had big goaltending when they’ve played well this year and (Nagle) made some big saves.”
Mike Embach scored the other goal for Ferris State while Nagle finished the game with 24 saves.
Will Acton scored a power-play goal just under five minutes into the third period, but it was the only goal the Lakers could muster in the loss.
“Give (Ferris State) credit, it was a tough way to lose a game on Friday and they bounced back,” said Roque. “They’ve had a great year. They’ve been in the top two or three in the league all year. I thought we battled them hard. I’m really pleased with our effort.”
The Lakers conference record following the weekend split sits at 10-11-3-2, good for 35 points. They sit eighth in the CCHA, two points ahead of Ohio State, who beat Alaska 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday night.
Ferris State improved its record to 12-8-4-3 with the win and sits in a second-place tie with Michigan State at 43 points. Michigan State had Saturday night off.
Heading into the final two weekends of the CCHA regular season, seven points separate six teams, beginning with fifth-place Northern Michigan and 10th-place Ohio State.
The Lakers final four games see them travel to Alaska next weekend and finish off the regular season on the road against Northern Michigan. Ferris State will play a pair of home-and-home series’ with Michigan State next weekend and Western Michigan on the final weekend of the season.