Ferris hockey split a series with Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) No. 1 Bemidji State this weekend with hopes of steering this sub-par season to the playoffs.
The Dawgs won their Friday , Jan. 20, matchup 5-2, but lost to the Beavers 5-1 Saturday, Jan. 21. Friday marked the first win of the calendar year for Ferris but they’ll need to continue to win consistently in order to make the playoffs.
“What we need to do is find ways to win in regulation. Right now we need those three point games. That’s the only way to move up the standings,” Head Coach Bob Daniels said.
A team receives three points for win in regulation or the first round of overtime. But if the game goes to three-on-three overtime, then the winner only gets two points and the loser gets one. The Bulldogs are currently seventh in the WCHA with seventh with 26 points.
Senior forward Gerald Mayhew has been a big factor in the league points they have garnered as the leading goal scorer and point man with 13 goals and 10 assists on the year.
“It’s obviously not the year we wanted, not even being at .500, but I think right now the most import part is to make a playoff. If we can get a playoff spot then we can make a run like we did last year,” Mayhew said.
Last year, the Bulldogs won the WCHA tournament and fell in the final eight of the NCAA tournament after going .500 for most of the season. The Dawgs failed to earn two wins in a weekend until they beat Alaska Feb. 5 ,and Feb. 6, in 2016. Last year’s turnaround gives Daniels confidence about this year.
“There’s no need to panic. I’m still extremely optimistic about this year’s team,” Daniels said. “Even though we haven’t won the amount of games we would have liked to have won, our record isn’t indicative of our play and we’re starting to play some really good hockey.”
The main focus for Daniels is to earn a playoff spot. For Ferris to earn a playoff spot, the offense needs to become more consistent.
“Our biggest hindrance right now is the ability to score on a consistent basis,” Daniels said.
Sophomore goaltender Darren Smith has split time with freshman goalie Justin Kapelmaster. Both have a save percentage above .900 but the Dawgs are just 2-14-1 when Smith is between the posts. Kapelmaster has seen more success at 6-1-3, but Daniels said both goalies have played well this year. They will continue to share time in goal.
The Bulldogs look to take a positive step forward when they play the leading goal scoring WCHA team in Bowling Green.
The action begins 8:37 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and 7:07 pm. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Ewigleben Arena.