BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — A late goal from Tyler Morley lifted the Alaska Nanooks to a 3-2 win and a weekend split with the No. 18 Ferris State Bulldogs.
“I liked how our team responded after the 6-3 loss last night,” said Alaska coach Dallas Ferguson.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring midway through the first period by capitalizing on a two-on-one opportunity. Justin DeMartino passed to Cory Kane, who out-waited Alaska netminder Sean Cahill for the tilt’s opening goal.
“In the second period, Ferris made a push and Cahill had some nice saves, the kind of saves where you feel like he’s giving us a chance to win the game,” said Ferguson.
Alaska took advantage of Cahill’s work in the second frame and answered back with two goals of its own to take the lead midway through the third period. Cody Kunyk and Colton Beck teamed up to put up a goal and assist, with Kunyk getting one by going hard to the net and Beck getting his when an innocent dump-in by Kunyk ricocheted off the back boards and right onto Beck’s stick for the easy goal.
However, Ferris State wouldn’t go quietly into the night. With six minutes left, Garrett Thompson got a lucky bounce as Cahill misplayed the puck trying to freeze it and the junior forward slid the puck past the bewildered goaltender.
“Garrett scored a goal that was a fortuitous bounce,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels.
Despite the goal, Daniels was less than pleased with Thompson’s play on Alaska’s game-winning goal late in the third when the junior missed his assignment, leaving Morley alone in the slot to bury a one-time pass from Jarret Granberg after a Ferris State turnover.
“I tried to pass to our ‘D,’ made a bad pass and it went to their guy for a one-timer,” said Motte. “My job is to stop the puck, and I need to do a better job of that so we can get some wins under our belt.”
Ferguson, too, was impressed with Motte’s play saying, “We didn’t see him much last year, but I think he’s real composed, doesn’t overplay pucks, and came up real solid for them this weekend.”
Following the loss, Daniels knew that his team had some areas to work on, including the lackluster play from some of his top forwards. But he was quick to point out that the work of his young defense corps was far better than he had expected at this point in the season.
“I’m very happy with the play of the freshmen defensemen,” said Daniels. “They’re in roles they shouldn’t be thrust into this early in their careers.”
Ferris State (2-2-2, 1-1-0-0 CCHA) finishes a six-game home stand with a series against No. 3 Miami next weekend, while Alaska (3-2-1, 1-1-0-0 CCHA) heads home for a two-game CCHA set with Lake Superior State.