When the final buzzer sounded after the third period in Xcel Energy Arena, Ferris State’s seniors took their final strides on the ice as Bulldogs.
Ferris fell at the hands of nationally ranked No. 2 Minnesota State 4-0 in the semi-final round of the WCHA Playoffs, effectively ending Ferris State’s 2014-15 campaign.
From the drop of the puck it was clear that the Mavericks were trying to attack the Bulldogs physically. They laid out bone-crushing checks and forced Ferris to take dives into shooting lanes to block shots. The Dawgs will likely be licking their wounds in the morning after the beating they took.
In addition to striking early and often with the body, The Mavericks also lit the lamp first, as freshman forward Brad McClure snuck a shot just over Ferris goaltender CJ Motte’s left shoulder. This would be the only goal of the period as the defenses dominated the early portion of the game, allowing just seven shots for the Mavericks and only three for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs came roaring into the second period looking to even the score with a series of quick scoring chances, but MSU’s Stephon Williams remained perfect. The Bulldogs’ best chance of the night came on a breakaway by senior forward Justin Buzzeo, but before he could take his shot, he was slashed from behind. While the Bulldogs were awarded a power play opportunity, they were looking for a penalty shot.
Soon after that penalty was killed off, McClure scored his second goal of the night for the Mavericks, when he deflected a shot from the blue line past Motte. The Mavs would score again before the period was out by capitalizing on their lethal powerplay unit. Freshman winger CJ Franklin netted the goal with the man advantage to put Minnesota St. ahead 3-0 headed into the third period.
The third period transpired without any tremendous comeback by the Bulldogs, and eventually desperation started to take hold. The Dawgs pulled their goalie for an extra skater, and Minnesota State’s Bryce Gervais took advantage by easing in an open netter to put the Mavs up 4-0 and to finish off Ferris’ season.
Motte finished the game with 21 saves, but what is far more impressive is that he finished his career as a Bulldog with 15 career shutouts, and the most wins in both the regular season and postseason play in Ferris State history. Statistically speaking, Motte was the finest goaltender to ever stand between the pipes donning crimson and gold.
The Bulldogs will also say goodbye to fellow seniors Buzzeo, Dom Panetta, Jason Binkley and Travis White who played their last game in a Bulldog uniform tonight.
The Bulldogs finished this season 18-20-2, and at times, the team was a bit hard to watch. Yet deep in the season, the Bulldogs put together a successful run and rekindled fan interest enough for people to bus nine and a half hours out to St. Paul. This proves that even when Bulldog hockey is down, it’s still plenty of fun to watch these underdawgs fight.