This season has started much better for the Bulldogs than a season ago, and the promising start continued with an upset victory over the nationally second-ranked Minnesota State Mavericks.
The Bulldogs returned home following a four-game road trip to face Minnesota State on Friday, Nov. 5. Ferris came out on top 2-1 and recorded their first victory over a ranked opponent since they beat ninth-ranked Bowling Green on Jan. 26 of the 2018-2019 season.
Head Coach Bob Daniels praised his team for the victory over Minnesota State, who he believes is the best team in the nation.
“I thought, obviously, Logan Stein had a really strong game for us,” Daniels said. “I thought the guys blocked a lot of shots and sold out.”
Stein had 31 saves for the Bulldogs in the victory.
Neither team scored in the first period. However, just 49 seconds into the second period, the Bulldogs would slip away for a 2-on-1 where freshman forward Bradley Marek scored. Later that period, Minnesota State took a boarding penalty. The Bulldogs did not waste the opportunity and Marek netted his second goal of the night for the 2-0 lead.
Not too long after that, the Bulldogs were penalized tripping, and Minnesota State scored on the power play to cut the lead in half. The second period quieted down and finished with a 2-1 Bulldog lead.
The Bulldogs entered the third and final frame with a one-goal lead. Stein recorded eight saves in the third to shut the door on a Minnesota State comeback. The Bulldogs emerged victorious, 2-1.
After his two goal performance, Marek talked about the plan to keep the momentum going into the next game.
“We just have to stay on the gas pedal,” Marek said. “We know they’re gonna come out hard. We know they have great coaching staff over there too and he’s gonna push them to be better every night. Tomorrow’s a new night but we have in the back of our minds what we know we can do.”
Daniels felt his team played a disciplined game, and that helped lead them to victory.
Ferris faced the Mavericks again on Saturday Nov. 6. They were unable to complete the sweep and dropped the second game 5-1.
Just 30 seconds into the game, Ferris freshman forward Zach Faremouth took a 5-minute major penalty for game misconduct, leaving the Bulldogs shorthanded early. The Mavericks fired nine shots on goal during their power play. However, the Bulldogs kept the Mavericks from scoring, fueled by senior goaltender Roni Salmenkangas’s nine saves.
“The game started out on the wrong foot,” Daniels said. “It was stupid five-minute major that we took. It took guys out of the game and messed up our lines. We got the kill, but we already started in the hole. I was furious. That’s a dumb penalty.”
Daniels felt his team lacked the discipline they showed the night before in their winning effort.
“We talked about discipline and how it worked for us yesterday, and its inexcusable,” Daniels said regarding the opening penalty in Saturday’s game.
Again, neither team scored in the first period. The Mavericks attempted 16 shots on goal compared to Ferris’s four.
At 3:53 in the second period the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead thanks to junior forward Dallas Tulik’s third goal of the season. Sophomore forward Mitch Deelstra and freshman forward Nick Nardecchia assisted on the goal.
The Mavericks were penalized for interference on the goal, but the Bulldogs could not capitalize on the ensuing power play. The Bulldogs were penalized at 7:59 for slashing, and the Mavericks capitalized with a power play goal.
Minnesota State scored on another power play at 15:41 in the second period, taking the lead 2-1. They tacked on another goal just 20 seconds later, extending their lead to 3-1. They held that lead into the third period.
The Mavericks were penalized early in the third period, but Ferris again failed to score on the power play. For the night, Ferris was 0-4 on power plays, compared to 2-5 for Minnesota State. Daniels felt his team spent too much time on the penalty kill.
Minnesota State increased their lead to 4-1 with a goal at 11:56 in the third period. They scored a final time at 18:49 to defeat the Bulldogs 5-1. The loss knocked Ferris’s record to 4-6 (3-2 CCHA).
In the closing seconds of the game, a scuffle broke out on the ice and resulted in another five-minute major penalty for Ferris, this time to junior forward Brenden MacLaren for game misconduct.
“I didn’t like how we ended the game either,” Daniels said. “That was another dumb penalty. We want to play hard to the end, but we don’t want to take a five-minute major.”
The Mavericks outshot Ferris 33-20, a big change from Friday’s contest where the shots were 32-30 in favor of Minnesota State.
Salmenkangas recorded 28 saves but gave up five goals.
“I thought Roni played better than to have a five-spot put on him,” Daniels said of Salmenkangas’s play. “I thought he played well.”
Ferris will look to get back in the win column when they head to East Lansing to face Michigan State on Thursday, Nov. 11 before returning home to face the Spartans on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 7:07 p.m