BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Multi-point performances by five players helped No. 2 Ferris State force a deciding game three against Bowling Green as the Bulldogs took a 7-4 win over the Falcons Saturday night.
Scott Czarnowczan, T.J. Schlueter and Jason Binkley all had multiple assists with Binkley registering three helpers on the night.
“T.J. was good to have back tonight,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “He really complemented Derek Graham and Kyle Bonis well. Binkley really benefited by solid play from the forwards.”
Graham added two goals and an assist, and Bonis added two goals and two assists.
“Kyle Bonis and Derek Graham had great games carrying the load for the team tonight,” added Daniels.
With the chance to sweep the Bulldogs, Bowling Green came out with a strong effort to start the game culminating in freshman Connor Kucera’s first collegiate goal.
The Bowling Green defense held the Bulldogs scoreless in the first frame by stifling Ferris State’s ability to go to the front of the net.
In the second period, Ferris State answered back with a power-play goal and a pair of even-strength tallies and the Falcons added a goal of their own.
Graham opened the scoring with a power-play lamp-lighter just over a minute into the period. With Bonis crashing the net, Graham put a third-chance rebound past Andrew Hammond to tie the game up.
“We didn’t have enough guys engaged in the fight at the level we needed to win the game tonight,” said Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron.
Ferris State had more chances with a power play following the tying goal, but couldn’t get ahead until Eric Alexander made a huge individual effort to beat Robert Shea wide and drive the net before beating Hammond up high with a backhander.
Alexander’s goal could have been a back-breaker after a penalty kill when the Falcons acted tired and were not very assertive.
“I don’t think they were overly good penalties,” said Bergeron about his team’s play in the second period. “We got out of rhythm and flow, especially up front.”
However, the Falcons continued to fight and were rewarded with a goal to even the game. With a two-on-two opportunity, Jake Sloat cut to the net and deflected a shot by Dan DeSalvo past Taylor Nelson.
The tie was short-lived with Ferris State coming back late in the period to take back the lead. Bonis netted his first of the game by picking up an awkward rebound off the back boards and lifting the puck past Hammond, who couldn’t get over to make the save in time after losing track of the puck.
With Ferris State leading going into the third period, Bowling Green refused to go quietly. DeSalvo picked off a sloppy pass following the opening face-off and beat Nelson with a quick wrist shot to tie the game back up just 21 seconds into the closing frame.
Bonis put up his second of the night to put Ferris State up for good. Bonis drove the net and picked up his own rebound before banking a shot off Hammond and into the goal.
Then Matt Kirzinger put the game away for Ferris State with a shorthanded goal off his backhand.
Ferris State continued to pour on the steam and added a sixth goal before Hammond was removed from the game after a Bulldog player was pushed into him just before Andy Huff banged a rebound home.
DeSalvo and Graham both added their second goals of the night in the waning moments, although neither would have an impact on the outcome of the game.
As the teams head into game three, neither coach is looking to make any changes.
“We don’t plan to Xs- and Os-wise on doing anything differently; we’re going to have to be ready to go,” said Bergeron. “It’s going to come down to every play in game three and we have to figure out a way to be on the positive side of those plays.”
“I told the guys to get lots of rest since we’re going to lose an hour and to make sure they set their clocks ahead,” added Daniels. “Otherwise, we’re going to treat it like a normal Sunday at the rink.”
Game three goes Sunday night at 7:05 p.m.