For the first time in the Bulldog hockey program, Ferris recorded two wins over the Spartans in the same weekend.
The Spartans came to Big Rapids Jan. 27-28 looking to move up in the CCHA standings. But the Bulldogs thwarted Michigan State in the first game of the series, defeating them 2-1.
Ferris netted its first goal of the game with 18 seconds left in the second period. Senior captain Chad Billins was awarded his fourth goal of the season during a power play. Senior forward Derek Graham and freshman defenseman Simon Denis earned assists on the goal.
Freshman forward TJ Schlueter netted the final tally for Ferris, his fourth goal of the season and first game-winning goal of his Bulldog career. Graham assisted on the goal.
Senior Ferris forward Jordie Johnston said that in the first game of the series, a goal the Bulldogs scored was waived off due to review. Then MSU scored a goal that went to review, but its goal was counted.
“We know a lot of teams will get down after a situation like that,” Johnston said. “Instead, we fought back and scored a goal pretty soon after. I think that was the moment that showed we were there for the weekend and we weren’t going to let another team define how we were going to play.”
In the second game of the series, Ferris handed MSU a 4-3 defeat. Graham was the first to score for the Bulldogs’ offense. Since switching from defenseman to forward, senior forward Derek Graham has scored nine points (2G, 7A) in the last six games.
Sophomore forward Cory Kane found the back of the Spartans’ net with 36 seconds left in the first period, giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
Johnston scored his 15th goal of the season. Junior forward Travis Ouellette broke a 3-3 tie with his game-winning goal on the power play, 1:56 into the third period.
As the final game of the series came to an end, the entire arena chanted “FSU.” All members of the crowd were on their feet, giving the Bulldogs a standing ovation.
“I’ve never heard our entire arena chanting ‘FSU, FSU.’ It honestly sent chills throughout my body,” senior Ferris goaltender Taylor Nelson said. “The last minute of that second game, you couldn’t hear anything. It was so loud; it was incredible.”
Nelson started both games for the Bulldogs. Nelson’s season record improved to 13-4-1.
The Bulldogs are now 11-6-3-1 in the conference and 17-8-3 overall. Ferris moved to the top of the conference by earning six league points after sweeping MSU.
The Bulldogs are on an eight-game unbeaten streak, 6-0-2. Though the Bulldogs are on an eight-game win streak, Nelson said the team should not be satisfied with the streak they’re on. Instead, Nelson believes the team needs to keep the streak going.
“Yeah, we’re in first. But from first to eighth place, there’s no point difference,” Nelson said. “Every game from here on out is going to be a war. We can’t afford to take a night off at any point.”
Ferris will need to find a way to score on Northern Michigan’s sophomore goaltender Jared Coreau during the Bulldogs’ road trip Feb. 3-4 to NMU.
Coreau is 6th-ranked in the nation in save percentage, .930-percent after 16 games played, according to U.S. College Hockey Online. Coreau is 8-4-2 this season.
Northern split its road series against Miami Jan. 27-28. Northern is nationally 19th-ranked (USCHO). The Bulldogs will face Northern Michigan on the Wildcats’ Olympic-sized rink, 200 feet by 100 feet, which is 15 feet wider than the Bulldogs’ rink.
“Any team can win on any given night, and Northern is no exception,” Nelson said. “It’s going to be another battle.”
To view a photo gallery from the series, visit https://fsutorch.com/2012/01/29/web-exclusive/hockey-vs-michigan-state-photo-gallery/