Nanooks pressure Bulldogs net, earn a win as a circumstance

Putting a Nail in the Coffin: Bulldog right wing Eric Alexander celebrates his goal in the second period to put Ferris State up by two goals during Friday’s game against Alaska. Ferris State would go on to win 6-3 but drop the second game on Saturday 3-2. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor
No muzzles quieted the Dawg Pound while the Bulldogs emerged from the hall of past champions with their mind set on opening the Central Collegiate Hockey Association conference against the Alaska Nanooks.

The Nanooks stepped on to the defending CCHA champs ice Oct. 26 to be handed a 6-3 defeat by the Bulldogs.

Ferris State muscled their way past the Nanooks in the second period of the CCHA opener by collecting five penalties for 10 minutes, after Alaska outscored Ferris 3-2 in the first period.

Alaska reacted by collecting two penalties of their own in the second period. Senior left wing Kyle Bonis capitalized on Alaska’s penalty minutes by earning his second power-play goal of the game off a feed from sophomore Ferris defenseman Travis White and Jason Binkley to give the Bulldogs a game deciding 4-3 lead.

The Nanooks continued to hound the Bulldogs net in the final game of the series, outshooting the Bulldogs 39-25 which led to a 3-2 defeat for Ferris State on Oct. 27th.

The Nanooks held a 2-1 lead over the Bulldogs in the third period when line mate’s junior wing Garrett Thompson and Bonis combined for Thompson’s second goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2.

Alaska removed any glimmer of hope that there would be an overtime period when UAF freshman forward Tyler Morley tallied his third goal of the year, with 50 seconds remaining in the third period, and for a 3-2 victory which split the series.

Feels Like The First Time: Ferris State freshman Connor Schmidt is ecstatic after he scores his first collegiate goal during Friday’s game against Alaska. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor
Ferris’ sophomore goaltender CJ Motte made 40 saves in his first game of the conference season and 36 in the second against Alaska.

“We gave up way too many shots against and CJ gave us a shot to win both nights, which is all you can ask for,” Bonis said. “We really need to focus on shot blocking and limiting the time and space [opposing teams] have in our zone.”

According to U.S. College Hockey Online, the nationally 19th-ranked Bulldogs have allowed an average of 2.83 goals a game. Through six, the Bulldogs have made 84 blocks as a team.

“We need to really focus on our shot blocking and limiting the time and space they have in our zone,” Bonis said. “In this league, with all the skill every team has, we have to make sure we really are focused whenever we’re in our own end of the rink.”

Freshman defenseman Connor Schmidt had two points in the season opener, with a 1 goal 1 assist start, Sophomore defenseman Jason Binkley shares the same point total as Schmidt but from two assists.

“I think our young defenseman have stepped up and played extremely well for us. They impress everybody with the work ethic and attention to detail they have,” Bonis said. “We have asked a lot of our freshman early and they have stepped up for us.”

Ferris State, whose record is 2-2-2 overall, await the arrival of the 4th-ranked Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at Ewigleben Ice Arena.

Miami opened the CCHA season against nationally 8th-ranked Michigan.

Ferris State’s power play is 8th-ranked in the nation (USCHO). The power play unit has completed 4-of-14 opportunities this year. The Bulldogs will challenge Miami’s seventh-ranked penalty killing unit.

“Our powerplay was good, a step in a very good direction, it is something that comes in waves and requires a lot of practice. So for it to have success this early in the year is great,” Bonis said.

The puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. in Ewigleben Ice Arena each night.