Ferris hockey’s playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread after a 5-2 win over the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.
It was senior night for the Bulldogs Saturday, Feb. 23, where six athletes were acknowledged in front of 1,684 fans inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena honoring their years of play. Among the six were defensemen Jacob Hetz and Ryker Killins, and forwards Corey Mackin, Craig Pefley, Trevor Recktenwald and Zac Tierney.
“A very impressive group, the entire class. I really love them all,” Ferris hockey head coach Bob Daniels said. “They are really a tight knit class and they are going to leave here, I believe, all above a 3.5 grade point average. I’m proud of them all, I’m proud of their accomplishments in school and I’m proud of how they represent our program.”
Contrary to the night before, the style of play was a bit rougher with more shoves after the whistle, as well as both teams having matched the total number of penalties from last game in less than seven minutes. However, just like the previous night, the Chargers scored the first goal of the night from Huntsville senior forward Hans Gorowsky to make it 1-0. Both teams would keep the pressure on, as each team tallied more than ten shots in the first period of play.
Headed into the second, the Bulldogs needed to find the back of the net to keep any hopes of the postseason alive. A penalty committed by the Chargers may have been all it took for the Bulldogs to find the net, as Ferris sophomore forward Lucas Finner scored his fifth of the season right as the Chargers got back even strength to tie the game at 1-1.
The Bulldogs kept up the momentum, and less than ten minutes after the first Ferris goal, Pefley found the back of the net to break the tie and give the Bulldogs the 2-1 lead. No more than four minutes after the tie-breaker, Ferris freshman defenseman Cooper Zech scored his team leading eighth goal of the season, which gave Ferris the 3-1 lead to head into the third period.
“I think we played pretty well. We had a really good system in our forecheck,” Mackin said. “We kind of shut them down yesterday, and they had a little bit more chances today but other than that I think we played pretty well as a team and just kind of had to work with that.”
The Bulldogs would start the third period down a man from a penalty that carried over from the second period. The Chargers took full advantage of the extra skater and Huntsville sophomore forward Christian Rajic cut the lead down to one, which made it 3-2 early on. It was’t long until the Bulldogs reclaimed their two-goal lead on the power play off the tape of Ferris junior defenseman Nate Kallen, with help from Ferris sophomore forward Coale Norris and Mackin, which gave them their second assists of the night. With two minutes left, the Chargers would pull their goaltender to have an extra attacker on the ice, which only harmed them as Pefley was able to take advantage of the empty net and get his second of the night. Mackin and Norris racked up their third assists of the game to make the final score 5-2 and bring Ferris’ record to 9-22-3.
In order for the Bulldogs to make conference playoffs, they will need Alabama-Huntsville to lose both of their games and get at least five points next weekend at Lake Superior State, where the puck is set to drop 7:07 p.m. Friday, March 1.
Click here to see photos of Saturday’s game.