BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Sometimes the most exciting hockey doesn’t happen until the end of the game, as was the case in Ferris State’s 2-2 tie with Western Michigan.
After giving up two power plays and the lead midway through the third period, Ferris State fought back to tie the game with just 42 seconds left.
With CJ Motte on the bench for an extra attacker, Ferris State pressured the Broncos hard, leading the Broncos to ice the puck four times in the last 90 seconds of regulation time. The effort culminated with senior captain Kyle Bonis ramming home a rebound to tie the game up.
“I don’t know where to begin – it seemed like five games in one,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “It was an extremely hard-fought, emotional game. It’s hard to believe this closes a chapter on this rivalry. My first thought after the game was, ‘too bad this can’t continue.’”
Ferris State went on to win the shootout and take the extra point in the CCHA standings.
However, goals and late-game heroics weren’t the only things happening on the ice in the third period.
The final frame was marred by 15 penalties, most of which stemmed from a pair of incidents six minutes apart.
The first came after Motte was tripped by Justin Kovacs playing a loose puck between the circles and featured three players from each team being assessed penalties for various infractions including contact to the head and roughing after the whistle.
Western Michigan went on to score both goals on the ensuing five-minute power play to take the lead after Dakota Klecha was sent off and disqualified for contact to the head.
Play was again halted at the 10-minute mark of the frame when Western Michigan’s Dan Dekeyser took offense to being checked from behind while going for a loose puck at the goal mouth and came up swinging.
That incident resulted in another spat of penalties and a second five-minute power play for the Broncos. They didn’t score as the power play was broken up by another series of penalties, but the incident did serve to set the stage for the remainder of the game.
“We had a one-goal lead before everything blew up,” said Daniels. “In reality, if you total up the minutes, they were probably more like two-for-12 on the power play.”
In a game that saw 95 penalty minutes, the power play was of the utmost importance to both teams.
“Ferris plays a physical style – that’s the nature of their game,” said Western Michigan coach Andy Murray. “The best way to deal with that is to score on the power play, which we did.”
Also scoring on the power play was Ferris State’s Matt Kirzinger, who lit the lamp for his first of the year after being out for several months with a wrist injury.