BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — A two-goal game from Eric Alexander guided the Ferris State Bulldogs to a 4-2 win over the Miami RedHawks Friday night.
It was the CCHA opener for both ranked teams.
Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels spoke in matter-of-fact terms after the game.
“I thought it was big to get three points to open conference play,” said Daniels.
Alexander started the night’s scoring on a Bulldog power play just 3:41 into the first period with a backhand shot to the top corner over Miami netminder Cody Reichard’s shoulder. The play started in the Bulldogs’ zone when Chad Billins and Scott Czarnowczan engineered a quick transition that started a 2-on-2 play going back the other way.
However, Miami tied the game up for the first time with 2:39 to play in the first frame. The Ferris State defense forced a shot by Patrick Tiesling, but Ferris State goalie Taylor Nelson made the save. The rebound trickled out front where Trent Vogelhuber picked up the puck and slid it by Nelson.
Ferris State regained the lead at the 3:25 mark of the second period with a goal by T.J. Schlueter. Hard work from Travis Ouellette and Alexander started the play by digging the puck out the corner and getting the puck to Schlueter, who was alone in the slot. A hard snap shot by Schlueter found the twine behind Reichard.
Miami tied the game up for a second time just over three minutes later. With Miami applying strong pressure in the Bulldog zone, Austin Czarnik backhanded a rebound past Nelson following a shot by Alex Wideman.
The remainder of the second period was spent trading power plays, but neither team capitalized.
“Our penalty kill was good tonight,” said Daniels.
At 6:19 of the third period, Ferris went up for good with a power-play goal by Jordie Johnston. After Brett Wysopal made a great play at the blue line to hold the puck in the Redhawks’ zone, Matt Kirzinger won a battle in the corner and fed the puck to Johnston in the slot.
“We didn’t have people on the same page tonight,” said Miami head coach Enrico Blasi. “I think Ferris did the better job of winning battles along the wall and in key areas. We turned the puck over and they capitalized. You can’t do that against good teams.”
Alexander iced the game with an empty-net goal from deep within his own zone with 35 seconds remaining in the game.
“As a coach, you want to see the guy cross center and get the puck deep in that situation,” said Daniels.
A deciding factor in the game was special teams play with Ferris State killing all five Miami power-plays, while scoring two power-play goals of their own.
“Right now, we’re just trying to get better everyday,” said Blasi. “We’re not a very good team right now and we just need to focus on getting better. We need to focus on the process more than everything right now.”
Ferris State and Miami will conclude their season series tomorrow night.