BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — A hat trick from junior forward Justin DeMartino provided much of the spark in Ferris State’s 8-2 exhibition win over Ryerson University.
Four other Bulldogs recorded multi-point games, including freshmen Kenny Babinski and Matt Robertson.
Ferris State coach Bob Daniels was impressed by the play of the freshmen.
“I thought the freshman forwards played really well,” said Daniels. “And [Connor] Schmidt made a great feed to send DeMartino on a breakaway, just a great pass.”
Daniels wasn’t as happy with some of the other aspects of his team’s play, despite the win.
“Our defense sees an option and looks for another before going back to the first option and it’s not there anymore,” said Daniels. “We need to take the option that’s there and not look for something better.”
Daniels also expressed concern with not having much practice time to work with his special teams and with the short week before the Bulldogs open the regular season with a two-game tilt at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
Sophomore Nate Milam put Ferris State on the board first after a failed clearing attempt by the Rams. Milam picked up the loose puck on the goal line and made a quick deke around netminder Troy Passingham before sliding the puck into the net.
Ferris State struck just over two minutes later as Garrett Thompson put a quick snapshot past Passingham.
Ferris State closed the first frame with a goal from Kyle Bonis. A defensive zone faceoff win by Travis Ouellette lead to a rush by Thompson and Bonis that ended with Bonis going top shelf.
“We had a lot of offense off of line rushes and not from sustained pressure,” explained Daniels. “I’m not sure how much that will continue as the season goes on.”
DeMartino opened the second period with his first off a breakaway following a pass from freshman defenseman Brandon Anselmini.
Babinski put Ferris State up by five just 22 seconds later.
Ryerson defenseman David Searle stopped the bleeding with a power-play goal following a bad turnover by Travis White that left Searle looking at an empty net.
However, it was too little, too late as DeMartino would tack on two more goals in the third period along with one from Robertson to put the game away.
“I felt like we had some chemistry [and] we were really clicking throughout the game,” said DeMartino of his freshmen linemates. “It’s a great way to get back into the swing of things.”
Rams coach Graham Wise attributed his teams’ slow start to the bus ride from Sault Ste. Marie, where the Rams played Lake Superior State on Saturday night.
“We were a step behind, but if you want to be a pro hockey player, that’s what you have to get used to,” said Wise of the quick turnaround the Rams faced. “The back-to-back games show areas we need to improve on. We were playing in a fatigued state and you’ve got to battle through that.”