BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – For the second straight night, Ferris State’s C.J. Motte was the deciding factor in a one-goal win over Michigan Tech.
“He played exceedingly well, very calm, confident, composed; that really helped the team as a whole,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels.
This time, it was a 3-2 victory in which the junior stopped 44 of the 46 shots he faced while Ferris State put just 20 on goal against Jamie Phillips.
“Our team played outstanding; C.J. Motte was the first star of the game,” said Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson. “We have some things to work on, but we can play with this team. I’m looking forward to playing them at home in our own barn.”
The WCHA schedule has Michigan Tech playing four games in a row against Ferris State, with a bye week between the two series.
Despite the disparity in shots on goal, Ferris State made the most of its chances and got some help from the officials along the way.
The Bulldogs started the scoring with a goal from T.J. Schlueter midway through the first period. The junior notched his first goal in over a year when the puck skipped away from everyone and ended up on his stick.
“I kinda got lucky,” said Schlueter. “It was a broken play in front of the net. I just waited for the goalie to slide over and put it short side. I had a hard year last year with injuries. It’s been great to get going again.”
The controversy started midway through the game’s second frame. Michigan Tech’s Brent Baltus jammed a second chance past Motte, but officials ruled that the puck entered the net after the whistle had blown.
“A bad call in the second period cost us,” said Pearson. “It was a quick whistle when the puck was still moving, and then their third goal they whack away at the puck forever.”
Ferris State added to its lead minutes later with a short-handed goal. Kenny Babinski skated the puck out of the Ferris State zone and set up a nifty give-and-go that got him open for the tip-in on the return pass from Chad McDonald.
Late in the frame, Michigan Tech cut the Ferris State lead to one goal on a power-play tally by Alex Petan.
Ferris State’s Justin Buzzeo notched the game-winner late in the third period before David Johnstone pulled Michigan Tech back within one with an extra-attacker goal that would prove to be too little, too late.
Next weekend, Ferris State (17-3-3, 12-0-2 WCHA) travels to Minnesota State while Michigan Tech (7-13-6, 5-7-4, WCHA) has the weekend off.