BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Great goaltending from sophomore C.J. Motte and a lackluster performance by the nationally fourth-ranked Miami RedHawks led to a 3-0 win for the 19th-ranked Ferris State Bulldogs.
Miami coach Enrico Blasi was succinct after the game.
“They outplayed us in every aspect of the game,” said Blasi. “First period, second period, third period, we just didn’t have an answer for them.
“We were outplayed, out executed, just dominated in every aspect of the game. We’ve got to match that if we want to win tomorrow night.”
On the Ferris State side of things, coach Bob Daniels was impressed with the play of both his young defense and his young goalie.
“There’s room for improvement and if it hadn’t been for C.J., there might’ve been a difference outcome,” said Daniels.
Daniels highlighted a save by Motte (25 saves) in the second frame that appeared to be deflected by a defenseman, but was in fact off of Motte’s blocker and into the netting as an example of the difference the sophomore made in the game.
Another area that impressed Daniels somewhat was the performance of the Ferris State power play. The Bulldogs connected on two of their five power-play attempts.
“It seems the less we practice it, the better we are,” laughed Daniels. “It’s almost better to throw five guys out there with a skeleton of a guide and let them play their game.”
Ferris State opened the game’s scoring on the power play with defenseman Brandon Anselmini’s second of the season. The freshman’s low shot from the left point went past Jay Williams (28 saves) on the near side as it appeared that Williams was unsure if Anselmini was going to pass or shoot.
Anselmini’s goal was the lone goal of the first frame, but Miami had a chance of their own while shorthanded. Curtis McKenzie broke loose from the Ferris defense, but ran out of room and over Motte as he tried to move the puck to his backhand.
Then early in the second, Miami’s Blake Coleman got loose in the slot after nearly a minute of sustained pressure in the Bulldog zone by the Redhawks, but Motte once again came up big by poking the puck into the corner.
The rest of the second was back-and-forth as neither team could establish another sustained period of pressure.
Ferris State added to their lead midway through the third with a goal by Justin Buzzeo, who finally broke through after struggling through much of last season following an early injury.
“[Nate] Milam gave me a good pass, just going down the wing and I had the little side open,” said Buzzeo. “It’s been quite a journey to get back to where I was, so hopefully, there’s more to come.”
Finally, with nine minutes remaining in the game, Connor Schmidt put the game away with a backhand shot past Williams after he drove the net around three RedHawk players.