Video by Michael King, editing by Michael A. Corn (Voice in Background, Dominic Hennig, Ferris hockey radio play-by-play voice)
The hockey Gods threw everything and the kitchen sink into Ferris State Hockey’s March 15 playoff game against the Bemidji State Beavers.
The score may have looked normal, a 3-2 victory to sweep the Beavers out of the WCHA playoffs in the best-of-three first round, following an 8-0 effort the night before, but this game was mayhem on ice.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring 3:50 into the first period when sophomore defensemen Brandon Anselmini wafted a sliding wrist-shot from the blue line that snuck between Beaver goaltender Jesse Wilkins’ legs.
Then, all Hell broke loose on Ewigleben.
With 5:23 to go in the opening frame, senior forward Cory Kane smashed his way behind the net and was dumped by a Bemidji State player. As a result of the hit, Kane’s skate shot upwards and kicked a pane of glass directly behind the net, shattering it, and showering fans from the Dawg Pound.
Kane got up slowly as he shook broken glass from his equipment. The rink crew promptly cleaned up the glass, but it forced the teams off the ice.
Following a near 40 minute delay, the teams skated back onto the ice to finish the remaining 5:23 of the first. At the conclusion, the horn sounded and the teams switched sides. 25:23 minutes of play ensued without resurfacing which factored into the game.
At 1:17 of the second period, the Beavers got on the board for the first time in the playoffs. Phil Brewer put one past Ferris goaltender CJ Motte.
Like the glass, the momentum for Ferris was gone, and the Beavers carried it for most of the remaining regulation time. They struck again when Nate Arentz slapped one past Motte from the hash-marks 6:17 into the second.
The clock quickly became a factor, and Motte was pulled with just over a minute remaining in regulation.
With 45 seconds to play in the third and an extra attacker, it was freshmen defensemen Ryan Lowney who threw a low wrist shot from the point on net. On its way towards Wilkins, a stick deflected it straight up into the top corner of the net.
Upon further review, it was sophomore forward Matt Robertson who deflected the puck into the net.
The game headed into overtime, where Ferris carried the momentum, but couldn’t get clean chances despite a powerplay. The chances Ferris generated were solid, though many found skates and bodies in front, or the glass behind Wilkins.
The game needed a second sudden death overtime period when Ferris was forced into a very sticky situation. Ferris junior forward Justin Buzzeo was called for obstruction holding.
The Bulldogs’ penalty kill was put to the test, and they responded with resilience.
At 5:15 of the second overtime team captain and senior defensemen Scott Czarnowczan got the puck from senior forward Garrett Thompson at the blue line, while still killing Buzzeo’s penalty.
In the final game of his career inside Ewigleben Ice Arena, the 5-10 defensemen and the leader of the team released a wrist shot that appeared to be headed high. About midway to the net, a funny thing happened.
Though no one was near it, the puck appeared to drop as though a stick had redirected it. Fate has it that puck found the back of the net, and the captain scored the series clinching goal in double overtime.
In the end, Czarnowczan called it “A fairytale.”
His goal will send the nationally ranked No. 6 Ferris hockey team to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids for the WCHA Final Five (Really Four; Final Five is the contradictory brand name) on March 20-22.
Video By Michael A. Corn