In the longest game in Ferris history, the Dawgs punched their ticket to St. Paul and the WCHA Final Five with a triple-overtime thriller ended on a shot tipped by Kyle Schempp.
The Dawgs won the first game of the best of three series against Bemidji State 4-1, then endured the third-longest game in WCHA history before sophomore forward Kyle Schempp was able to drive the final nail into the Beavers’ coffin to win 3-2 in triple overtime in game two.
In the first game, Ferris State took the lead midway through the first period and refused to surrender it, as freshman forward Zach Szajner was able to find twine with the help of fellow freshmen Andrew Mayer and Mitch Maloney, who both earned assists.
This score would hold until late in the second period, where the Bulldogs scored a pair of quick goals. The first came off the stick of sophomore defenseman Ryan Lowney at the 15:07 mark, and sophomore forward Gerald Mayhew scored the second goal of the period just over two minutes later to put the Dawgs ahead 3-0.
Bemidji State was finally able to get on the board early in the third period, when Gerry Fitzgerland took advantage of a power play to cut the Ferris State lead to 3-1, but it proved to be too little and too late for the Beavers.
The Bulldogs iced the victory when junior forward Kenny Babinski added a late goal on an empty net to give the Dawgs the 4-1 victory.
Game two told a different story, as the Beavers had an answer for each Bulldog goal in regulation. Freshman defenseman Andrew Dorantes scored the first goal of the game on a power play for the Bulldogs late in the first period, but BSU’s Graeme McCormack responded halfway through the second period to knot it up 1-1.
That score would hold until the 6:00 mark of the third period, when Babinski assisted on a goal by senior forward Justin Buzzeo to put the Dawgs up by one in the final period of regulation.
The Beavers would not go down without a fight as BSU’s Brendan Harms netted a goal to tie the game once again and pushed the game to overtime.
The first two overtime periods were scoreless, thus forcing a third supplementary period. After an exhausting four hours and 23 minutes since the game had begun, the Bulldogs were finally able to claim the victory when Schempp tipped in the winning goal. Lowney and junior forward Matt Robertson were credited with assists in the goal that decided the 3-2 outcome.
Senior goaltender CJ Motte earned 48 saves in the marathon contest, and accumulated a total of 69 saves over the length of the series.
Penalties proved to be costly for the Beavers, who surrendered two goals on Bulldog power plays in game two, including the decisive goal in the third period of overtime. Meanwhile, the Bulldog penalty kill unit held firm by successfully killing off all six of the team’s penalties in the second game.
After rolling through Bemidji State, the Bulldogs have secured their spot in the WCHA’s Final Five Championship. They will begin the tournament by taking on Minnesota State, and if they are able to secure the win, they would take on either Michigan Tech or Bowling Green for the conference championship.
The Bulldogs will be taking on Minnesota State for the fifth time this season, and the puck will drop at 8:37 p.m. on March 20.