EAST LANSING, Mich. — For Michigan State, it was a game of missed opportunities. For Ferris State, it was a matter of weathering the storm.
The Bulldogs beat the Spartans 2-0 on Saturday and outshot their former CCHA foes 22-16, in spite of a power-play differential that favored Michigan State. It was junior CJ Motte’s seventh career shutout and his second against the Michigan State.
“Even though the goalie gets credit for the shutout, I did think it was a team shutout,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “Probably one of our better games from start to finish from a defensive standpoint and from the standpoint of puck management.
“We’ve been winning up to this point, but in a lot of games we’re leaning on CJ Motte because we’re turning pucks over, we’re giving up a lot of shots, we’re playing sloppy. Tonight, I didn’t think that was the case. I thought we played pretty solid, from beginning to end.”
The Bulldogs took the early lead on freshman Chad McDonald’s fourth goal of the season, a snipe from the crease that beat Jake Hildebrand on the glove side at 8:28.
Junior Justin Buzzeo’s eighth goal of the season at 5:34 in the second period on a five-minute power play made it 2-0 after two; Buzzeo was served a sweet cross-crease pass by Gerald Mayhew to set up that marker.
In spite of three power-play opportunities in the first period, the Spartans were able to generate only six shots on goal in the stanza and in the game, Michigan State had six man advantages to Ferris State’s two.
“Obviously, we were having trouble getting set up, and once we did get set up, it was like we either got a bad bounce or threw it a little bit too far,” said Michigan State captain Greg Wolfe. “It’s something we need to work on and get better. When you have so many in a row [and not scoring], they’re gaining momentum and you’re losing momentum. You’re not getting any chances.
“We just need to figure out a way to get pucks to the net. They did a good job clogging up the shooting lanes. They’re really aggressive, which made it harder for our guys to get shots, made it harder for our guys to make passes.”
Entering Saturday’s game, the Spartans had the 49th-best power play in the nation, converting at 13.8 percent.
The Spartans were 0-for-6 on the power play and the Bulldogs 1-for-4.
“We were in the box quite a bit, and the penalty kill I thought did a great job,” said Daniels. “It was very solid. Certainly, we didn’t want to be in the box as much as we were.”
Motte finished the game with 16 saves, Hildebrand with 20.
The fourth-ranked Bulldogs (14-2-3, 10-0-2 WCHA) next play in the Mariucci Classic (Jan. 3-4). The Spartans (5-9-1, 0-1-1 Big Ten) will play in the Great Lakes Invitational Dec. 27-28.