In the second installment of Star Wars Night in Ewigleben Arena, the Bulldogs tied Alaska Fairbanks for the second consecutive night 3-3.
Familiar-faced commissioned guests such as Chewbacca and a stormtrooper made reappearances this year, but ordinary fans also joined in the merriment, donning Princess Leia buns, Darth Vader cloaks and other intergalactic garb.
the Nanooks got the scoring started early when Alaska’s Jason Fernsler snuck one past Ferris freshman in net Darren Smith. The only goal of the first period, that would be.
Things heated up in the second period when Ferris senior defenseman Brandon Anselmini seemed to use the force to float a pass through the air over center ice to the waiting glove of junior forward Gerald Mayhew. Mayhew threw down the puck, then set up junior center Kyle Schempp who capitalized by scoring the Dawgs’ first goal of the night at the 5:10 mark in the second.
Ferris would earn the next goal as well, when Junior forward Chad McDonald scored with help from senior defenseman Simon Denis and junior center Jared VanWormer. Do or do not, there was no tie.
This 2-1 lead would not hold for long, however, as Alaska’s Josh Erickson took a slap shot from the blue line to sneak the puck through Smith’s thermal exhaust port, thus knotting up the game once again just 23 seconds later.
Much of the third period elapsed before the Dawgs were able to take the lead once again, thanks to a shot by senior forward Matt Robertson. Senior defenseman Zach Dorer and Mayhew were credited with assists.
With less than five minutes to play, Mayhew was charged with a major penalty. No, he wasn’t frozen in carbonite to serve his sentence, but it did mean that Ferris would be fighting to hold their lead while shorthanded until the final buzzer.
They weren’t able to do so despite a valiant effort, as AU’s Nolan Huysmans found a hole in a Dawg pile of Ferris bodies in front of the net to tie it with just 41 seconds remaining in regulation.
A sudden-death overtime period is about as close a parallel to a lightsaber battle as sports can offer, but the suspense was all for naught. Neither team was able to score, thus sending both squads home with another tie to add to their record.
Ferris took 42 shots on goal with only three of them finding twine on the night. With that many unsuccessful shots, it would seem as if stormtroopers were taking the shots.
For much of the night, it was unclear what type of Star Wars story would play out. Would it be a triumphant victory for the hometown heroes much like Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, or would the tides be in the opponent’s favor like in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith?
In the end, it turned out to be neither.
It was Episode I: The Phantom Menace, because the outcome was an overall disappointment for everyone involved, and did very little to advance the narrative of the Bulldogs season. Both the Bulldogs and Nanooks failed to produce a decisive outcome on either night, thus making the weekend series a wash.
The tie brings the Bulldogs overall record to 5-5-4 and their WCHA record to 4-4-2, which should keep them at their third place spot in the conference.
Fans can follow the Bulldogs next on Nov. 27 when they head to Sault Set. Marie to take on Lake Superior State at 7:37 p.m.