The Ferris State hockey team is in the midst of the toughest stretch of their schedule this year.
The Bulldogs had trouble getting the offense going once again this past weekend. Ferris played No. 1 Minnesota State at home in the Ewigleben Ice Arena. The Bulldogs fell 2-1 last Friday against the Mavericks in a game where the Bulldog attack started off slow.
After a couple Minnesota State goals, one coming in the first one in the second period, assistant captain Kyle Schempp got on the board to cut the lead to one. Schempp used some fancy stick-work as he made his way through the Maverick defense but the single goal was not enough and Minnesota State left the arena with a win.
The win did not come without stress for the Mavericks though as Ferris State almost slammed one home in the final seconds of the game to force it into overtime. The Bulldogs were outshot in the game 28-25.
With the offense struggling, the team has used some minor tweaks and changes to help remedy the woes and try put more points on the board.
Junior defenseman Simon Denis said, “Some defensemen, including myself, have been up on the front end as of late and [we’re] just doing whatever we can to help contribute to the offense.”
The Bulldogs also fell to the Mavericks on Saturday night, but in completely different fashion, the only constant being a goal from Kyle Schempp. This time Schempp scored early though, just 2:44 into the game. The Bulldogs also had a goal called off about 5 minutes later in the game.
Both teams went scoreless until the third period when Minnesota State scored 3 goals in a ten minute span. The Bulldogs lost the game 3-1.
This weekend, the Bulldogs have some much needed time off, but will follow it up with two more tough games against No. 1 Minnesota State. This time the Bulldogs will be traveling to Mankato, Minn. to play at the Mavericks’ barn on Jan 30 and 31.
Ferris will also travel to Ohio to take on the Bowling Green State University Falcons the following weekend. After the two games in Ohio, the Bulldogs will play two more games against the Falcons back in Big Rapids on Feb. 13th and 14th. The Falcons are the number three team in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), one spot ahead the Bulldogs who are tied with Northern Michigan for the fourth spot.
The Bulldogs don’t seem to be letting the importance of the games get to them.
“As a team goes, preparation doesn’t change, we are working just as hard as any other weekend to make sure we are ready to go, and the key right now is taking it one game at a time.” said Denis.
When asked what the team was focusing on most, Denis said, “The coaches are just really driving home the work ethic that we need to have in order to compete with these teams. We can’t afford to let up at any points in the game because the teams we are playing will make us pay for them.”
The Bulldogs are currently sitting on an 11-13-1 record, but hope to change that for the better in two weeks against Minnesota State.