BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State used a massive second period to propel itself to a 5-0 league win over visiting Michigan on Friday night. The Wolverines’ loss dropped their road record to a disappointing 0-3-1.
Chances didn’t come easy for either team in the first period. But according to both Michigan coach Red Berenson and defenseman Mac Bennett, the Wolverines won the period, though the score stood 0-0 entering the first intermission.
“I liked our start again,” Berenson said. “I look back on this stretch of games and we haven’t played as well at the end, but we’ve played well at the start. Then the second period kicks in and for one reason or another, our game changes.”
Though Michigan (3-6-1 CCHA, 5-8-1 overall) recorded more shots than Ferris State in the first period, 7-4, the Bulldogs had the frame’s best opportunity when a forward found himself all alone with the puck in front of freshman netminder Jared Rutledge. But the move came too late as the Wolverine defense eventually cleared the puck away from danger.
But early in the second period, Michigan had a shorthanded breakaway with freshman forward Justin Selman. He kept the puck tight to his stick, but Ferris State goaltended C.J. Motte poked it away harmlessly.
The Bulldogs got the next chance on the night, and they made sure to capitalize on it. After a two-minute minor assessed to Michigan sophomore forward Phil Di Giuseppe, the Ferris State power play, ranked fifth in the country, struck on a wrister from the point from Simon Denis. Rutledge appeared to be screened by his own defenseman, junior Kevin Clare, and the slow shot slid in.
That’s when the floodgates opened as the initial goal led to two more in the period. Friday marked the sixth time this season that the Wolverines surrendered three goals in a frame.
The proven Bulldog power play struck again at the 15:08 mark when Eric Alexander gave Ferris State a two-goal lead. Only two minutes after that, Ferris State’s Matt Robertson notched a tally at even strength.
In the third period, the Bulldogs tagged Rutledge for two more. The first came off the stick of Dakota Klecha, his second of the year. But the final tally of the night came shorthanded, when Garrett Thompson scored on a breakaway.
Ferris State and Michigan, which has been outscored 10-1 in its last two games, will conclude their two game series on Saturday night at Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.
“We just have to stick to the process, and if we can do that and be mentally tough, we’re going to be in a good place,” Bennett said.
According to Bennett, the Wolverines have failed to put together a full 60 minutes of good hockey this season, and doing so could salvage a split.