Bulldog hockey finished their regular season after being swept by the Lake Superior State Lakers.
The Bulldogs (12-18-4) dropped their final two games against the last place Lakers (9-23-2) in a 3-2 overtime loss and a 4-2 loss. These two losses add up to a five game loss streak, which lands the Bulldogs in sixth place in the CCHA.
The Bulldogs began Friday’s contest with a Laker goal to put them down 1-0. In the second frame, freshman forward Caiden Gault capitalized on the power-play to tie the game 1-1. Halfway through the third period, senior captain defenseman Matt Slick put the Bulldogs on top, 2-1, with 10 minutes left to play. The Bulldogs ceded a game-tying goal three minutes later making the score 2-2. The Bulldogs were caught off-guard and allowed a Laker breakaway in overtime which allowed former Bulldog Jake Willets to bury his own rebound to win the game for the Lakers.
Head coach Bob Daniels had no issue with the Bulldogs’ performance and understood the overtime mishap.
“It was a story of a pretty good game by us,” Daniels said. “I actually thought we played pretty well … In overtime, our guy blew a wheel. Mitch Deelstra just fell. What are you gonna do? Bradley Marek had a really good opportunity just before that in front of the net. All in all, the guys played hard. I thought we carried the play for the most part.”
Daniels also added that they would “get after it tomorrow.”
The first eight minutes of the first period in Saturday’s game displayed an offensive battle as the Lakers and Bulldogs traded four goals. The Lakers struck first, but Ferris followed with a tying goal by Deelstra. The Lakers scored again for the lead, however, it was quickly erased by Marek’s second tying goal on the power play. Scoring did not pick up until the third period when the Lakers went up 3-2 and then sealed the game on an empty net goal for a 4-2 Bulldog loss.
In the loss, Marek did not feel like they were outplayed.
“We outplayed them and just didn’t get the outcome we needed,” Marek said. “We need to be more confident in scoring goals and play how we know we can play. Big and fast is [the] game we need to play. We can’t go in playing soft.”
With the conclusion of the regular season, the Bulldogs have their sights set on the CCHA playoffs.
Heading into their final game of the regular season, the Bulldogs still had a chance to win home ice. A Bulldog regulation win, Bemidji State regulation loss and a Northern Michigan regulation loss would have rocketed the Bulldogs to fourth place, where they would have gained home ice.
As it is, the Bulldogs sit in sixth place following their losses and will go on the road to play Bowling Green. This season, the Bulldogs are 5-6-3 on the road and 2-1-1 against the Falcons.
The best-of-three series in the CCHA quarterfinals will begin on March 3 at Bowling Green.