BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – A better effort wasn’t enough for the Northern Michigan Wildcats to salvage a weekend split against the Ferris State Bulldogs, as Ferris State took a 2-1 win en route to the sweep.
“I was real happy with our effort tonight; we played exceptionally well,” said Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle. “We asked them to respond and they did. Our effort was really good. We hit two pipes dead on. We had some guys compete.”
Ferris State once again opened the scoring, with Jared VanWormer notching his second goal of the year. A swift forecheck forced a Wildcats turnover that the Bulldogs promptly moved past Mathias Dahlstrom.
“[Dom] Panetta made a good forecheck and [Dakota] Klecha made the read; I just tried to find an open spot and put it where the goalie wasn’t,” said VanWormer.
A second Bulldogs goal early in the third period proved to be the game-winner. Cory Kane tipped a pass from Klecha past Dahlstrom to put the Bulldogs up for good.
The Wildcats rekindled some of their momentum with a goal from Darren Nowick midway through the final frame, but it wouldn’t be enough, as the Bulldogs would continue to pressure them through the rest of the game
“I thought we played very well given how circumstances unfolded,” said Ferris State coach Bob Daniels. “Things got thin and that changed things quite a bit for us.”
Ferris State saw injuries to two-thirds of its top line late in the contest, with both Garrett Thompson and Andy Huff suffering injuries. Thompson received a cut to his elbow late in the second period that required stitches, but he returned to the bench late in the third period after receiving treatment. Huff, meanwhile, suffered a leg injury that left his status for next weekend up in the air.
“We played pretty solid,” said Kane, who rotated through the other three lines and proved big on numerous defensive zone faceoffs after the injuries to his linemates. “It was a gritty win. We battled it out.”
Next weekend, Ferris State (20-6-3, 15-3-2 WCHA) travels to Minnesota for a two-game weekend series with Bemidji State while Northern Michigan (11-15-2, 9-10-1 WCHA) hosts Lake Superior State in series with big implications for the WCHA playoff race.