KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Four third period goals, including three that went unanswered, propelled the Western Michigan University Broncos to a 4-2 win over the Ferris State University Bulldogs.
“They’re a very well-coached team; the coach pulls the right levers,” said Western Michigan head coach Andy Murray. “They’re tough to play against.”
A back-and-forth first period that saw both teams getting chances, but not scoring, gave way to a penalty-filled second period.
After both teams traded power plays, Ferris State scored first, six minutes into the frame.
Jordie Johnston held the puck in the Western Michigan zone and worked toward the slot before firing a shot over the net. However, the puck rebounded off the glass behind the net and landed in the crease behind Western Michigan goalie Frank Slubowski. Both Kyle Bonis and Chad Billins had whacks at the puck, with Bonis ultimately getting the goal.
Western Michigan struck back midway through the third period with a goal by Jordan Oesterle at the 8:21 mark. Oesterle took a shot from the left circle that stayed on the ice and slipped by Bulldogs netminder Taylor Nelson.
“I thought the really pivotal moment was right before they scored their first goal,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “I think it was Eric Alexander that had the puck right in front of the net and didn’t score, then they come down the ice and score. You’re looking at a swing where we could go up 2-0 and then a bad bounce and it’s 1-1: game on.
Up until that point Taylor Nelson had played unbelievable. I think that’s one he would probably like to have back.”
The Broncos took the lead just over three minutes later with an extra-attacker goal by Ian Slater while Slubowski was off ice for a delayed penalty on Ferris State. As the Broncos crashed the Bulldogs net, it was Slater’s stick that found the puck and poked it past Nelson. There was some controversy however, as Ferris State appeared to touch the puck earlier in the sequence that led to the goal.
“I did see we had the puck and there was some confusion. Their goaltender didn’t leave the net because he wasn’t sure which team was being called,” said Daniels. “I think [that's] probably one Brian Aaron would like to have back. He’s a very good official, and he’s very conscientious and he knew it.
“Beyond that, we shouldn’t have been going down and forechecking that hard. We could have laid back in the neutral zone and forced them to dump, touch it, whistle.”
Matt Tennyson added to Western Michigan’s lead on the ensuing power play when he one-timed a brilliant pass from Dennis Brown past Nelson.
“They’ve got a great penalty kill,” said Murray. “Our power play hasn’t been real strong. It’s one of those situations where we make a play and get a screen in front of the net and their goalie never saw it.”
However, Ferris State wasn’t done yet. Scott Czarnowczan hit a streaking Matt Kirzinger with a great pass for a one-timer to light the lamp with the Bulldogs short-handed.
Western Michigan ended the scoring with an empty-net goal by Derek Roehl.
“I’m not disappointed in how we performed, but I am disappointed in a couple of the penalties we took,” said Daniels.
Ferris State and Western finish up their home-and-home weekend series tomorrow night at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo.