Bulldogs shoot their way to a draw

Men’s hockey team ties with Waterloo in exhibition match

Ferris freshman defenseman Jake Willets scored one goal in Sunday’s exhibition game against Waterloo. Willets also maintained a +1 score in his first collegiate match. Photo by: William Byrd | Production Assistant

Ferris State men’s hockey team was in action on Sunday, Oct. 6 at Ewigleben Ice Arena against the Waterloo Warriors of Canada. The fierce battle resulted in a 2-2 draw.

The Warriors were piling big hits on the Bulldogs early and often in this one. However, the Bulldogs held strong behind a strong defensive effort. The Bulldogs rallied behind sophomore goaltender Roni Salmenkangas to start the game and the blueliners continued to put up a good fight when freshman goalie Carter McPhail came into relieve Salmenkangas.

“Two saves come to mind that Carter McPhail made. One was on the penalty shot, and the other was late in the game and he went post to post from his right to his left and made a great save that showed some really good athleticism,” head coach Bob Daniels said.

While the defense performed well, their offense wasn’t as quite as crisp as they made some sloppy passes. Although, the Bulldogs did have the majority of the shots taken in this game outshooting the warriors 47-20 with 16 coming on the power play.

“You can see that they’re used to junior hockey, where they are a little loosely with the puck for me, I don’t like no look passes and that sort of thing, I’m much more five feet from him put on him and work up the ice,” Daniels said.

Despite the sloppy passing, the defensive efforts and many shots towards the goal allowed the Bulldogs fought back and forth with the Warriors. Towards the end of the third period, Ferris sophomore defenseman Justin Smith got tied up with Waterloo’s Michael Scanlan on a breakaway, which awarded the Warriors a penalty shot.

McPhail made the stop on the penalty shot. Keeping the game knotted up. At the end of three periods, the fans in attendance were rewarded with a sudden death period of five minutes to see if either of the teams could leave victorious. Coach Daniels said the game was very clean outsides penalties and he was very appreciative of that especially since Waterloo came to play and play hard. Daniels also said that all his defensemen played well with their groups and that he will look to switch up lineups depending on who is performing.

Daniels also said that senior defenseman Nate Kallen and senior forward Dominic Lutz are doing a tremendous job at leading this team right now and that he is happy with where the team is going.

“You have to have good leaders, but you also have to have good followers too and that means having young kids come in wanting to learn and are willing to watch and learn the culture,” Daniels said. “We have the four senior defensemen so that’s pretty nice and they are able to really coach up our freshmen defensemen and by having those four guys there is a lot of coaching that can happen player to player.”

With having such a young team with 10 freshmen on the roster, the senior leaders on the team have stepped up and guided the younger men in the game. Daniels and freshman defenseman Jake Willets said that the leaders on the team have helped the young guys massively and that it has played a big role in terms of developing the players’ mindset.

Going forward Coach Daniels said he wants to see the team playing hard to develop good habits while looking to build chemistry that will help him be able to tweak some lines to set up more power play combinations that will be able to puts goals on the board.

“Going into the game I said you know, it’s not about winning and losing,” Daniels said. “You are just more ‘let’s see where we’re at and let’s try to get a handle on it,’ but low and behold the game starts, you just want to win anyway.”

The Ferris men’s hockey team will be back on the ice Tuesday, Oct. 8 against the USA National Team Development Program (NTDP) Under-18 Team. The team is coached by Bulldog alum and former Bulldog assistant coach Seth Appert. The puck will be drop at 7:07 p.m. at the Ewigleben Ice Arena.