BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Standout performances from freshman forward Nate Milam and goaltender C.J. Motte lifted Ferris State to a 2-0 win over Rensselaer Saturday night to complete the weekend sweep over the Engineers.
Milam’s first career goal 55 seconds into the contest put the Bulldogs on top for good, while Motte earned his first shutout in just his second start.
After the game, Milam commented on his milestone goal.
“It was right after a line change,” explained Milam of his goal. “I jumped on the ice and held the blue line and caused a turnover. I walked it in, 2-on-1, and shot it top locker and it ended up going in.
“It feels great. I’ve had a lot of opportunities in the first couple of games away, but I’m glad that I did here at home in front of the crowd.”
Following Milam’s goal, the game settled into a defensive battle with both netminders coming up with big saves.
“I thought as the game went on, the quality of offense for RPI went up,” said Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels. “C.J. really earned it in the third. Overall, a lot of composure and a good game for him.”
Midway through the second period, Ferris State came close to extending their lead with a 2-on-1 attempt, but RPI’s Pat Koudys broke up the play, sending a pass from Matt Kirzinger into the corner.
During the third period, RPI began to take over the flow of play, but was destined to run out of time. Motte made huge saves down the stretch to bring home the win, including one with a minute to go when a rebound got loose in the slot.
“They got really good pressure at the end,” said Motte. “I just tried to get pucks into the corners and not let any bad rebounds in.”
“I thought the third period was our best period of the weekend,” said RPI head coach Seth Appert. “We learned our lesson from last night about how we need to play a veteran, experienced team on the road in a tough atmosphere.”
Despite the two losses, Appert remained impressed with how RPI goalie Bryce Merriam played in the series.
“I thought he was great all weekend,” npted Appert. “I thought he showed this weekend how good he can be in a tough building and tough environment.”
Appert, a Ferris State graduate and former Bulldogs goalie, is certainly qualified to speak about how tough the Ferris State student section can be for opposing goalies to play in front of.
With the win, Ferris State extends their winning streak over the ECAC to six games dating back to last season.
Next weekend, Ferris State (4-0-0) hosts Miami for a two-game series to begin CCHA play. RPI (1-3-0) will travel to South Bend, Ind., for a nonconference series with Notre Dame.