BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — After a lackluster Friday night, fourth-ranked Miami came out ready to play and beat Ferris State 4-2 to salvage a weekend split.
“We played with the intensity we needed to play with,” said Miami coach Enrico Blasi. “When you bring the work ethic, sometimes the bounces go your way.”
After a dominant performance in Friday night’s game, the Bulldogs showed their youth in their inability to close out a weekend sweep. In each of the past three weeks, the Bulldogs have won on Friday and tied or lost on Saturday.
“We’re not coming out to play on Saturday nights,” said Ferris State senior Travis Ouellette. “You can’t split at home when you need to win. If our head’s not in it, we’re not going to score. We’ve got to come to play.”
While Ferris State emerged from the first period in a 1-1 tie with RedHawks, Miami outshot the Bulldogs 12-3 and spent a majority of the 20 minutes in the Bulldogs’ zone.
Ferris State straightened things out in the second frame, but were unable to gain any sustained pressure in the Miami zone.
“We took the path of least resistance,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “In hockey, you’ve got to take the path of most resistance. We needed sustained play in the offensive zone and we weren’t willing to pay the price along the wall to sustain pressure in their zone. We didn’t come ready to play and it was hard to get us in the game entirely.”
With the slow start, Ferris State started the game behind the eight ball, giving up a penalty while on the penalty kill just two minutes into the contest.
With Curtis McKenzie moving in alone on Ferris State goaltender C.J. Motte, he found his stick hooked, eliminating any opportunity for a shot attempt. On the ensuing penalty shot, McKenzie went wide to the right circle and cut back to the net before sending a shot wide of Motte.
The power play and penalty shot did not wake up the Bulldogs and the RedHawks were quick to capitalize, putting sustained pressure on the Bulldogs for long shifts.
The work was rewarded as Kevin Morris found the back of the net with his third try as Motte saved the first two before losing track of a rebound.
Ferris State answered back with what was perhaps their best effort of the night when Nate Milam held the puck in the Miami zone at the blue line before passing to Jason Binkley, who took a shot from the point that was deflected past RedHawks’ goalie Jay Williams by Justin Buzzeo for his second goal of the weekend.
Miami took the lead back early in the second with Sean Kuraly’s first goal of the season and then added to it early in the third with a tally from Austin Czarnik.
Ferris State added one more goal with six minutes remaining in the game, but it would not be enough as Czarnik added an empty-net goal to put the game away.