RECAP: Bulldogs caught in a trap

Beavers take 2-0 victory in Big Rapids despite great showing from FSU goaltender Darren Smith

Photo by: Sam Cavotta | Torch Photographer

Zach Whitecloud circled with the puck in his own zone, eluded a Bulldog forward and chipped it ahead, taking more time off the clock.

That was the story time and time again Friday night as the Bulldogs fell to Bemdiji State 2-0 in a tightly contested game. The Beavers, known for their excellent use of the trap system did little to help the Bulldog offense who struggled getting quality chances on Beaver goaltender Michael Bitzer.

Bitzer stopped 23 shots for his fifth shutout of the year and 21st of his career, giving him sole ownership of second all time in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), only behind former Michigan State goaltender Ryan Miller.

The Bulldogs and Beavers looked evenly matched throughout a quick first period that saw very few stoppages though a media timeout with 0.9 seconds remaining scratched some heads. The Bulldogs successfully killed off a Beaver powerplay with under six minutes remaining in the first period before ramping up the pressure in the offensive zone.

The two teams took a scoreless tie heading into the second period, but the Beavers were able to capitalize.

A loose puck fumbled its way over Ferris defenseman Ryker Killins stick and Beaver freshman Ethan Somoza was able to pick it up and rush down the ice. He worked his way around a sprawling Ferris defenseman and sent a centering feed to senior Jordan Heller who buried it by Ferris goaltender Darren Smith.

The Bulldogs would have an opportunity to tie the game in the dying seconds of the period but senior forward Mitch Maloney swung and missed on a one timer chance that left the Bulldogs down a goal heading into the final twenty minutes.

The Beavers were in lockdown mode, utilizing the trap system almost perfectly against the Bulldogs in the third period and things got worse for the Bulldogs when the Beavers extended the lead to two with a goal from freshman Brendan Harrish with under seven minutes to play.

After that it was a game of keep away and the Beavers got some help as the Bulldogs took two penalties in the final six minutes including a five-minute major on freshman Coale Norris who appeared frustrated when he sent a Beaver player into the boards from behind with under a minute to go.

Norris was ejected from the game after the dangerous hit and that all but wrapped up the Beavers win. Norris and Ferris forward Drew Dorantes took turns scaring the crowd Friday night as the two both went down in the second period with apparent injuries but both players were able to return rather quickly.

Andrew Mayer was one of the bright spots in the loss for the Bulldogs as he had a number of chances throughout the game including a nice play in the second period where he pulled out the dance moves in a spin-o-rama play that just fell short as Bitzer shut the door.

The goaltending was solid at the Bulldogs end as well as Ferris goaltender Darren Smith stopped 44 shots on the night, keeping the Bulldogs in the game throughout the course of the night.

If he gets the start, Smith will look to replicate his performance tomorrow night as the Bulldogs host the Beavers in a rematch at 7:07 p.m.