EAST LANSING, Mich. — With goals by Cory Kane and Travis Ouellette and C.J. Motte’s 27 saves, Ferris State edged Michigan State 2-1.
It was a faced-paced, back-and-forth game in which the Bulldogs had plenty of power-play opportunities, but could manage to solve MSU’s Jake Hildebrand the two times, both even strength.
Hildebrand had 33 saves in the contest.
In short, it was great CCHA hockey – but don’t take my word for it.
“It was a game with a lot more scoring chances than a 2-1 game,” said FSU coach Bob Daniels, who added that both goalies were “super.” “There weren’t as many goals as the fans probably wanted to see, but there were a lot of scoring chances with great goaltending. I thought it was a pretty high-paced game, too.”
The game was even at one goal apiece after the first period on Kane’s goal at 9:38 and Ryan Keller’s goal for the Spartans at 10:46.
On Kane’s shot from the top of the slot, Hildebrand closed his legs, but not soon enough and the puck trickled through five-hole. K
eller’s shot from near the right point was fed by Matt Berry, who worked hard along the walls to keep the puck in the Bulldogs’ zone during a particularly good MSU cycle. That shot hit the crossbar and dropped in for Keller’s first career goal.
The Bulldogs had plenty of chances in the second, especially on two power plays during which Hildebrand was outstanding. Ouellette’s goal at 2:56 in the third held up as the game winner, a cross-crease feed from Garrett Thompson, right to left, that beat Hildebrand on the short side.
After that, the Spartans redoubled their efforts, outshooting the Bulldogs 12-5 in the final 20 minutes.
“I thought we carried the play up until the time we took the one-goal lead and then I thought we held on and … then Michigan State took it,” said Daniels. “From about the ten-minute mark on in the third, things tilted to our end.”
With less than two minutes to go, Motte made what might have been the save of the game, a lightning quick reaction to Matt DeBlouw’s equally speedy shot from the crease.
“I think we really dodged a bullet when DeBlouw came down,” said Daniels. “We had a couple like that, too, where I thought we could have easily capitalized.”
Michigan State coach Tom Anastos said that the Bulldogs were a difficult team to score against.
“I didn’t think our execution was very good,” said Anastos. “Unfortunately, we made mistakes that ended up in our own net and we were not sharp enough to finish some really good scoring chances. I did think their goaltender made some really big stops, but still, I think they were the better team tonight.”
Ferris State (11-9-3, 9-7-1-0 CCHA) and Michigan State (6-14-3, 5-11-1-0 CCHA) meet Saturday in Big Rapids, the fourth regular-season game between the Bulldogs and Spartans, all four games played within the span of about a month.
For the rematch, Daniels said the Bulldogs need to do two things.
“I’d like to see our power play do something,” said Daniels. “And then we did take two undisciplined penalties tonight. In games that are going to be one-goal games, we can’t afford to be undisciplined. If we can get down to two power plays against, I would love it, and then find a way when we’re on the power play. I don’t think we even threatened tonight.”