BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — A big second period allowed Ferris State to pull away and coast to a 7-3 win over Mercyhurst.
The Bulldogs put up five goals in the second frame while outshooting the Lakers 19-2, leading to their first victory of the young season on a night when they raised CCHA regular-season championship and NCAA runner-up banners in addition to receiving their rings from last year’s championship and NCAA tournament run.
With holes in the lineup left by the graduation of Jordie Johnston and Chad Billins and an injury to Matt Kirzinger, the Bulldogs had some doubt about who was going to be providing the offense this season. Some of those doubts can be put to rest after two-goal nights from both Andy Huff and Kyle Bonis, while defenseman Simon Denis put up a three-point night.
However, Ferris State still faces questions about their defense, with a squad that features just one junior defenseman and no seniors.
“I felt that at times those defenseman played very well and sometimes they made mistakes that we’re not accustomed to,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “They play well in spurts, but there’s a long way to go for those guys.”
After a slow start to the season with a loss and a tie last week against Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Ferris State was looking to get the offense going.
And Huff did just that with a goal 7:24 into the game after Cory Kane and Justin DeMartino dug the puck out of the corner and threw it towards the mouth of the net for Huff.
Then just over a minute later, it was Bonis’s turn to light the lamp with a feed from Travis Ouellette, setting him on a breakaway.
“We just mesh,” said Bonis when asked about his linemates Ouellette and Garrett Thompson. “Ollie sees the ice really well and Garrett is really tough on the boards.”
Mercyhurst pulled within one midway through the frame, but once the second period started, it was all Ferris State.
The five-goal second period saw five different Bulldogs score, including Bonis getting his second of the night.
“My hat goes off to Ferris State,” Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said. “The turning point I felt was the second period. They broke it wide open. We’re going to have to play a whole lot better to even have a chance tomorrow night. We have to be better overall, make better puck decisions and establish a forecheck.”
With a six-goal lead, Daniels also had the opportunity to take a look at another of concern for the Bulldogs: goaltending. Both junior Rob Granett and freshman Charles Williams saw their first collegiate action in the third period.
“CJ [Motte] had some big saves early on, but I was really happy to get Robbie Granett and Charles Williams in,” said Daniels. “Robbie Granett made nice save early when he went in. He got tested quick.”
Mercyhurst (0-2-0) and Ferris State (1-1-1) conclude their two-game series Saturday night.