Its a heavyweight rematch of the top two teams in the WCHA regular season for the Broadmoor trophy.
Nationally ranked No. 4 Ferris State escaped with a 5-4 overtime win in the WCHA semi-final against the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, who outshot the Dawgs 38-23.
After taking a quick 2-0 lead when freshman forward Gerald Mayhew and junior forward Justin Buzzeo scored, Ferris gave up four straight goals before Ferris senior forward Garrett Thompson stopped the bleeding midway through the second stanza by cutting the Anchorage lead back to 4-3.
“Two goal deficits in this kind of game, ya know its tough but I had some jump after that,” Thompson said. “I think Andy Huff did as well and after he scored the whole team responded.”
Ferris senior forward Huff showed his clutch-experience in late season games by tying the game minutes later on a deflection.
The teams headed into the third period tied 4-4, and Anchorage head coach Matt Thomas gambled by pulling senior starting goaltender Rob Gunderson in favor of senior Chris Kamal to open the final frame.
“I almost thought about going with [Kamal] after the first period,” Thomas said. “But I didn’t even want it to cross my mind because Rob Gunderson had been so good, but sometimes its just not your night.”
Kamal responded with nine third period and overtime saves, but was unable to keep Mayhew off the board for his second goal of the night.
The play started when Ferris senior forward Cory Kane hopped off the bench for a faceoff in overtime, though he had battled the flu all week and not practiced.
“I wasn’t even going to put [Kane] out for that faceoff because I was trying to get [Kyle] Schempp in here and there,” Daniels said. “And it was [Assistant Coach Drew] Famulak who told me ‘Hey, put him out one more time’ and then I said ok and then he won the draw.”
Kane won the draw and Mayhew found it and parked it behind Kamal to take the semi-final game in stunning 5-4 fashion less than three minutes into the overtime period.
Now Ferris will set to take on a team that brutalized them in Mankato 6-2 on January 17.
The Minnesota State Mavericks have been on a path of destruction similar to what Ferris went on early in the 2013-14.
The Mavericks are in the midst of a 13-game unbeaten streak, and their offensive attack and powerplay have buried teams.
Freshmen goaltender Cole Huggins is allowing just 2.01 goals per game, which is first in the WCHA over Ferris junior goaltender CJ Motte who allows 2.19 per game.
Huggins has four shutouts in the last nine games, and the Mavericks have shut out five of their last nine opponents.
The Mavericks completed the sweep of the Bulldogs in a 4-3 win on January 18 in Mankato, in a game that featured fisticuffs and ejections.
Ferris had 23 penalties for 119 minutes, while Minnesota State had 20 for 97 minutes. The Mavericks converted on three of their six powerplay chances and have a conference leading 25.7 percent conversion rating which is a staggering 5.7 percentage points better than second place Northern Michigan’s man advantage.
The Mavericks have scored 49 powerplay goals, for perspective, only three other WCHA teams scored more than 30, with the highest being 33.
Its a heavyweight rematch for the Wild Wild West(ern Collegiate Hockey Association).
The bell rings at 7:07 on March 22 and can be seen on Fox Sports North as well as Fox Sports Plus.