The majority of the action occurred in the first 49 seconds and the last 25 seconds in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 overtime loss to Alaska.
The Bulldogs may have gotten off to their fastest start all season thanks to tangible first line chemistry between senior right wing Gerald Mayhew and sophomore center Corey Mackin.
Ferris scored just 49 seconds after the puck dropped in the first period when Mackin weaved a pass to Mayhew who lifted the puck past UAF’s Davis Jones on a 2-on-1. This left the Dawgs with a 1-0 lead and a surge of momentum.
“[Mackin] is a very skilled player. He knows where people are on the ice almost all the time. It just kind of clicks,” Mayhew said. “He works hard too, and when you have three guys working hard on a line good things will happen for you.”
The Bulldogs continued the offensive pressure on their way to 16 shots in the first period and eventually 46 shots in the game, but were unable to find twine through the rest of regulation.
The Nanooks struck back when UAF center Tayler Munson was able to sneak one by Ferris sophomore goaltender Darren Smith from the blue line to tie the game 1-1 midway through the first period.
That 1-1 knot would hold through the second and third periods, thus sending the Bulldogs to overtime for the fourth time in their last five games.
The overtime period lasted just 25 seconds before the Nanooks netted a goal to dash the Bulldogs’ hopes of splitting the home series. Smith suffered his 13th loss of the season while starting in net for the Dawgs despite racking up 26 saves in the game.
“There’s nothing Smitty can do on those two goals, they were both deflected,” Mayhew said. “It just wasn’t on our side tonight, the puck luck.”
The Bulldogs spent only eight minutes in the penalty box compared to their season average of 15 and showed up well on the stat line overall. However, they weren’t able to translate their power play opportunities and abundant shots into goals.
“I’m disappointed that we did lose, obviously, but I’m certainly not disappointed in how we played,” Daniels said. “If we roll that game out each night from now until the end of the year we’ll be just fine and get our share of wins. What we want to do is pursue good hockey and good play and then the wins will take care of themselves.”
The team will have to pick up some steam in the second half of the season if they want to keep their dreams of hosting a playoff matchup alive. With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to a tie for sixth place in the WCHA standings while Alaska catapulted their way to fifth place. The top four teams in the conference at the end of the season host their playoff opponent.
“It takes it out of you when you lose [in overtime] because it’s heart wrenching. I don’t think it’s physical, it’s more of an emotional toll if you don’t win. We’re not trying to avoid overtime, we’re fine with it, but I think the strides we made tonight were really good strides in the right direction,” Daniels said. “We’ll take our lumps and get back to work on Monday.”
Ferris hockey will next see action when they take on the top team in the WCHA Bemidji State at 8:07 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in Bemidji, Minnesota.