With under five minutes remaining in the game, Ferris junior forward Gerald Mayhew scored two goals in 37 seconds to push the Bulldogs past Northern Michigan in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs.
After winning the first game 3-2, the Bulldogs came back to Ewigleben Ice Arena on Saturday night to finish off the Wildcats in the second game of a best-of-three series. They did just that, and at the right time, achieving their first home-sweep of the season.
After trailing 2-1 late in the contest, the Bulldogs found themselves on a five-minute power play for the second time of the game after NMU’s Ryan Trenz was given a game misconduct for checking from behind and was ejected with 6:13 left to play. Earlier in the game, Northern Michigan’s leading goal scorer, Dominik Shine, was ejected with about six minutes left to play in the second period for contact to the head.
After the Bulldogs didn’t capitalize on the first five-minute major, Mayhew made sure it didn’t happen again and netted his first goal of the night to tie the game up with four minutes left. He didn’t stop there, though. Ferris’ leading goal scorer went coast to coast for his second goal of the night just 37 seconds later while the Bulldogs still held the man advantage.
Ferris sophomore forward Mitch Maloney and junior forward Jared VanWormer hammered a couple nails in the Wildcats’ coffin, scoring two empty net goals in the last 40 seconds to take the second game 5-2 and move on to the semifinals. Junior forward Chad McDonald scored the first goal of the night for Ferris State. Darren Nowick and Robbie Payne both put the puck in the net for the Wildcats.
Freshman goaltender Darren Smith had 21 saves for the Bulldogs and Northern Michigan goalie Atte Tolvanen saved 32 shots.
With the win, the Dawgs are now headed to the WCHA semifinals for the third straight year.
The Bulldogs will play against the No. 1 seed Michigan Tech Huskies on Friday, March 18 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids in the WCHA Final Five Semifinal. The time for the game is to be announced.
The winning team will play the following night for the championship at Van Andel.