BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – For the second night in a row, an Alaska comeback effort came up short as the Nanooks fell to Ferris State, 4-3.
Ferris State (10-2-1, 7-0-1WCHA) looked to have the game easily in hand after taking a three-goal lead in the first period.
“You probably don’t deserve to win when you start like that; you have to play 60 minutes,” said Alaska coach Dallas Ferguson. “Give Ferris credit, they played hard and got the start they wanted. We have to start games like tonight’s respectably.”
Sophomore Matt Robertson notched his second goal of the weekend to put Ferris on the board just over four minutes into the contest. Freshman goalie Davis Jones gave up two big rebounds and Robertson banged the second one home from the bottom of the right circle.
Hard work behind the net led to the Bulldogs’ second goal. Garrett Thompson dug the puck out of the scrum and centered it to Justin Buzzeo for the goal.
Ferris State’s third goal of the period came on a power play when Jones gave up another rebound that was buried by Cory Kane.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, leads in Ewigleben Ice Arena have been tenuous at best recently. Last weekend, the visiting Bowling Green State University Falcons saw multi-goal leads slip away in both games. This weekend, the home team slipped up, but still managed to come out victorious.
Alaska (5-5-2, 2-4-0 WCHA) eliminated the Bulldogs’ three-goal lead with three unanswered goals of its own starting just 22 seconds into the middle frame.
“Our second period was a little loose,” said Thompson. “I think we lost a little momentum in the second period. We started riding maybe a little too high. We have to be able to calm down a little.”
The Nanooks first two goals came from the power play and penalty kill units respectively.
Colton Parayko got the visitors going with his first of the year on a wicked shot from the point before Cody Kunyk tallied his first of the night on a short-handed breakaway. Kunyk deked multiple times before sliding the puck past C.J. Motte.
Kunyk added a second goal to tie the game after the Nanooks put together a long shift and wore the Bulldogs’ defense down.
With momentum swinging the Nanooks way, the next goal proved to be pivotal.
Thompson caught the Alaska defense flat footed and drove to the net. He lost the puck and freshman Kyle Shempp had a whack at it before the puck ended up on Thompson’s stick again. Despite being behind the net, Thompson took a shot into the bodies at the front of the net and was rewarded with a goal that banked in off of Jones.
“The really important goal was Garrett Thompson’s goal,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “To the naked eye, it looks like we just got a lucky bounce, but I’m sure that he was trying to bank it in. He turned around and fired right at the goalie’s skates.”
While the third period was scoreless, Daniels continued to be impressed with his team’s play saying, “I thought the third period was real good. We showed we could hold a one-goal lead without a lot of heartburn and headache.”
Next weekend Ferris State begins a stretch that sees them playing 12 of their next 14 games on the road with a trip to Northern Michigan, while Alaska returns home for a series with Michigan Tech.