In a gritty, hard fought game against Bemidji State, Ferris finally came out on top Friday, Nov. 15. Breaking their six-game losing streak, the Bulldogs are now 1-4 in conference and 3-7 overall.
Both teams were physical and intense, however, the Bulldogs enforced their will and held off Bemidji State.
“It’s really huge,” Ferris head hockey coach Bob Daniels said. “But knowing we go on a really extended road trip in Alaska, we’ve been a pretty good road team this year, so I’m not too worried about playing on the road. But you certainly want to take advantage of the points when you got them at home. So big win for us and good to get that first win in the conference out of the way.”
Both teams came out of the locker room with a mission tonight and it was clear by the fast pace and competitive play they were looking to make a statement. Bemidji State, who is 1-4 on the road this year, controlled the puck for most of the first period.
Ferris found some rhythm after their penalty kill mid-way through the period. It seemed to loosen them up a little. That’s when junior forward Coale Norris, with 2:06 left in the first period, deflected the puck in for the first goal of the night.
The second period had much of the same action as the first. However, Bemidji evened up the score early on a power play goal. The rest of the period Ferris controlled the puck and had many opportunities to score. It seemed like every loose puck and opportunity was going their way. After the second, both teams had 15 shots and 14 saves. But Ferris was in control and took over the momentum from Bemidji State.
“I thought they had a slight edge in the first and I thought we had a big edge in the second,” Daniels said. “I thought the third was even and the eye test tells me it was a pretty even period. I like the second goal by Coale and both goals came within five feet of the goal. You hang around the net enough and you have the skills that he does, and he’ll bang those home.”
The third period began with both teams searching for the go-ahead goal. Ferris continued their flow from the second period and created many opportunities and chances but, Bemidji State would not fall easily. After both teams got on a couple power plays, the game was still deadlocked at one.
Late in the third period, Norris found the net again to pull the Bulldogs ahead. The goal was once again assisted by senior defenseman Nate Kallen.
The win was big for the team, especially given the continued absence of some key offensive players. Junior forwards Marshall Moise and Lucas Finner and senior defenseman Cameron Clarke are all still out due to various injuries.
“Marsh, Finner and Clarke are out and they’re big players for us, so it’s kind of the mentality that somebody has to be ready and step up and jump into that role in the lineup,” Norris said.
Not only did Norris have two big goals, but it was their defense which created their offense and gave them the momentum in the last two periods. Senior goaltender Austin Shaw had 26 saves with the help of the Bulldogs relentless defense.
“Yeah I thought I just kept my game simple and focused on the next shot,” Shaw said. “Rolling with the punches and taking it one step at a time. I think we are really starting to come together as a team. Like Coale said with some guys out, guys are stepping up big time and it’s good for us as a group to kind of galvanize everybody and gets us in the right mentality moving into this part of the season.”
The Bulldogs will have another shot tonight, Saturday, Nov. 16, to win their second game in a row and gain some momentum going into their two-week road trip to Alaska Friday, Nov. 22.