GRAND RAPIDS – Ferris State junior forward Gerald Mayhew’s penalty-shot goal late in the second period was the deciding factor in a 2-1 Bulldog victory against Minnesota State in the WCHA Championship, giving Ferris a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament.
It looked as if the second period was going to go scoreless until Maverick defenseman Carter Foguth was whistled for covering the puck in the crease with 26 second left in the period. The subsequent decision by the referees was to reward Mayhew with a penalty shot.
As the crowd chanted, “Gerrytime! Gerrytime!” Mayhew slowly made his way toward the net and faked a shot before snapping off a wrist shot over the glove of Maverick goalie Cole Huggins, and celebrating in front of a crowd of Ferris State faithful.
Prior to Mayhew’s goal, Minnesota State got on the board first with a power-play goal by forward Bryce Gervais at the 10:33 mark of the first frame, capitalizing on a cross-check penalty from Ferris State sophomore forward Tyler Andrew.
Just over four minutes later, it was Ferris State’s turn to net a power-play goal. Ferris senior defenseman Brandon Anselmini’s second goal of the season could not have come at a better time for the Dawgs as he ripped a wrist shot from the top of the left circle over the shoulder of Huggins to lock the game up at 1-1.
Ferris State came into the game without a big presence on the offensive end. Ferris junior forward Chad McDonald was scratched from the lineup and replaced by freshman forward Trevor Recktenwald after McDonald suffered an upper-body injury in Ferris’ semifinal game against Michigan Tech.
The Dawgs lost another player late in the first period when freshman defenseman Jacob Hetz was ejected after a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind.
Yet Hetz wasn’t the only player to get ejected. Minnesota State defenseman Jaden Schmeisser was sent to the locker room after he was called for hitting Ferris’ Jared VanWormer from behind.
The penalty came at a very important part of the game as Ferris State played five minutes of the final 5:42 of the game with the man-advantage. The Bulldogs didn’t capitalize on the advantage, but it didn’t matter as they outlasted the Mavericks to win their first WCHA Playoff Championship since joining the conference in 2013.
Ferris State freshman goalie Darren Smith stopped 14 of 15 shots faced while Huggins made 27 saves for the Mavericks.
With the win, Ferris improved their record to 19-14-6 on the season and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament.
Smith was named the tournament’s most valuable player while Mayhew, Anselmini, and senior forward Kenny Babinski also received WCHA All-Tournament honors after Saturday’s game on March 19.
The selection show for the tournament will be aired on ESPNU at noon on Sunday, March 20.
The photo gallery from the game can be found here.