BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Freshman goalie C.J. Motte’s second consecutive shutout provided the Ferris State Bulldogs with a 2-0 win over the Miami RedHawks.
“Miami is always one of the best teams in the nation,” said Bulldogs forward Travis Ouellette. “Anytime you can take one from them is huge, but taking two from them let us know that maybe we’ve got something here.”
Ferris State’s 6-0 start to the season is the best since the 1979-80 season, when the Bulldogs started 8-0 in their first season in the CCHA.
“It was a physical contest by both teams,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “Both teams played their hearts out.”
A scoreless first period gave way to a very chippy second period, as both teams appeared frustrated.
With 2:27 elapsed in the second period, Ferris State appeared to take the lead with players from both sides crashing the Miami goal, but the RedHawks defense cleared a bouncing puck off the goal line to keep the score tied at zero.
Following that play, things began to get out of hand, starting with a major penalty and game misconduct to Ferris State’s Matt Kirzinger for contact to the head following an open ice hit. The major penalty was partially offset by a penalty to Miami’s Patrick Tiesling for roughing after the whistle.
The rest of Miami’s power play was erased by a major penalty and game disqualification for kneeing to junior Garrett Kennedy.
“It got a little bit out of hand,” said Blasi, “but it was the same for both teams.”
With Miami short-handed, Matt Tomassoni had a great scoring chance for the RedHawks, but the puck rolled off his stick on the wraparound attempt while Motte was still at the far side of the goalmouth.
As the penalty to Kennedy was winding down, Chad Billins and T.J. Schlueter guided a fast Bulldogs transition up the ice. Schlueter left a drop pass for Ouellette as the Bulldogs gained the Miami zone, and Ouellette made the most of the opportunity with a wrist shot that beat Miami goalkeeper Connor Knapp.
“It was a quick turn up there,” said Ouellette. “I got hit pretty good in the corner and Billy made a pretty good pass up to Schlueter, who took it in. He made a drop pass to me and I toe-dragged it a little bit and was lucky enough to have it go in.”
The Ferris State goal gave Miami a sense of urgency, and the RedHawks began to apply more pressure. However, the RedHawks were again derailed by a penalty, this time to Curtis McKenzie, who was given a major penalty and sent to the locker room for facemasking. Miami killed the major penalty, but not before Jordie Johnston fanned on a beauty of a pass while Knapp was out of position.
In the third period, Miami came out looking for a goal, but couldn’t get anything by Motte. Alden Hirschfeld, Austin Czarnik, and Reilly Smith were all denied by the freshman. Smith had the best opportunity when he came up with the puck in the slot with just over two minutes to play in the game, but his shot was gloved down by Motte, who was screened slightly by a Bulldogs defenseman.
“I didn’t really see it clean,” said Motte. “Our defenseman was going out at him, so I didn’t really see him release it. I just stuck my glove out there and luckily it just landed in there.”
Cory Kane finished the scoring with a power-play goal while Trent Vogelhuber was serving a major penalty for checking from behind. Kane deflected a shot by Chad Billins past Knapp to seal the win for the Bulldogs.
Ferris State is in action on Thursday night when it begins a two-game series in Ann Arbor against the University of Michigan. Meanwhile, Miami will return home for two games with a surging Lake Superior State University.