A bit of bad luck, injuries and poor special teams play has the Ferris men’s hockey team off to another slow start this season.
After last weekend, the Bulldogs sit with a 2-5-1 record and only one point through four games in conference play, placing them at ninth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings.
“We’ve had good games. We’ve played decent hockey every weekend,” Ferris defenseman Zach Yoder said. “I think there has been a lot of good things we’ve been doing. We just got to find a way to put it all together for two consecutive games.”
Ferris picked up their first point in the WCHA when they tied Bemidji State 2-2 Friday, Oct. 27. The Bulldogs were rewarded with a point for tying through regulation and the first overtime period but couldn’t get the extra point as the Beavers won the game in the shootout after the game remained tied following a second overtime period.
The Bulldogs failed to pick up any points Saturday, Oct. 28 as they were handed their second shutout loss of the season—3-0. The Bulldogs have now scored just 12 goals through their first eight games of the season. The 1.5 goals a game average is dead last in the WCHA.
“We’ve been playing decent hockey. We just have to focus on scoring. We’ve been keeping the puck out of our net pretty well,” Bulldog captain and forward Corey Mackin said. “I’d say our goalies and defense are playing pretty well and we’re just going to have to do a little bit better on the offensive end.”
The Bulldogs special teams play hasn’t been up to par to start the season as both units have had trouble figuring things out. The powerplay has only scored on 11.4 percent of its chances, placing them eighth in the 10-team conference while the penalty kill sits in ninth in the conference as the Bulldogs have only killed off 69.4 percent of their penalties to start the season.
The powerplay isn’t horribly lower than the 15.8 percentage from a year ago, which was good for fourth in the conference but the penalty kill is significantly better at 83.6 percent, good for fifth in the conference last season.
The health of Mackin, along with others has also been a concern for the Bulldogs. Mackin came into the season less than 100 percent game ready as an offseason surgery prevented him from full practices until just before the season started. Mackin was hurt again and unable to play the weekend against Mercyhurst. His health will be important to a team struggling to score goals.
“I’m slowly getting there. I just have to be smart. Just focusing on staying healthy and not rushing back into anything,” Mackin said.
The Bulldogs will look to get back on the winning side of the things this weekend when they travel to Ann Arbor to play the Michigan Wolverines on Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3. Both games are set for a 7:30 p.m. face-off.
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