FSU blanks Michigan, 5-0

Bulldogs erupt for three second period goals for fourth straight win

BIG RAPIDS — While Michigan’s hockey program has gotten the best of its series with Ferris State through the years, the 100th meeting between the two teams on Friday belonged entirely to the Bulldogs.

After putting just four shots on net in the first period, Ferris State erupted for three goals in the second period to take control of the game in a 5-0 waxing of the Wolverines at Ewigleben Ice Arena. It was the fourth consecutive Central Collegiate Hockey Association win for FSU, which improves to 7-4-2 overall and 6-3 in the CCHA.

The Bulldogs got a pair of goals on the power play by Simon Denis and Eric Alexander midway through the second period after the two teams struggled to put any offense together early on. Freshman Matt Robertson added a third goal on a beautiful pass on the break from fellow freshman Kenny Babinski.

SIDE BY SIDE: Ferris State’s TJ Schlueter stays with Michigan’s Kevin Clare during the Bulldogs’ 5-0 win over the Wolverines. (Pioneer photo/Martin Slagter)

Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said the Bulldogs weathered a shaky first period and began to take control after his team’s second and third goals in the second period.

“In the first 10 minutes, I thought we kind of held on,” he said. “In the second period, when Eric Alexander got that second power-play goal and then another by Matt Robertson, I thought that was a pivotal moment. The third goal, to some extent, took some of the starch out of Michigan.”

The game remained scoreless after the first period of play, with neither team coming up with many scoring chances.

Ferris State’s best shot might have come late in the period on a power-play opportunity when Kyle Bonis had a wide open Travis Ouellette positioned in front of the net, but the senior was unable to knock it past Jared Rutledge.

Denis struck first for the Bulldogs on the power play with 13:37 left in the second on a nice pass from Justin DeMartino to make it 1-0. TJ Schlueter also assisted on Denis’ third goal of the season.

After a scary moment that saw Bonis hit the ice after being struck in the side of the head with a puck, the Bulldogs took control of the game thanks to another power-play goal. Alexander, who made his presence felt in his first game back from injury, redirected a shot by Garrett Thompson in front of the net to make it 2-0 with 4:52 left in the second.

Alexander, who replaced Bonis on the power play, said he wanted to keep momentum going in FSU’s favor. The Bulldogs finished 2-for-6 on the power play, while limiting Michigan to 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

“I usually don’t play on the power play, so I wanted to make the most of it,” he said. “I just wanted to help keep our success going on (the power play). I got a good stick on it and slipped it in there.”

After battling a foot injury in recent weeks, Alexander said he was excited to return against a team like Michigan.

“My foot’s been feeling a lot better and what better team to come back against than Michigan,” he said. “They’re a big school with a lot of talent. I just wanted to play a solid game, but I was pumped to get on the scoreboard and help the team win, because it’s a big weekend for us.”

The Bulldogs continued to pour it on to close out the second period on Robertson’s first collegiate goal with 2:06 remaining.

The freshman, who hails from Rohnert Park, Calif., said he didn’t understand the magnitude of Friday’s game until he stepped out on the ice.

“I’m not from Michigan, so I didn’t really understand how big this game would be until I stepped on the ice,” he said. “I got a great feed from Kenny Babinski. I was able to settle (the puck) down and put it in.”

Meanwhile, the Ferris State defense kept the dangerous Wolverine offense away from the net, allowing just 11 shots on goal through two periods. CJ Motte continued his impressive play with his second shutout of the season, making 27 saves, including 16 in the third period.

“The second period kicked in, and for whatever reason, the game changed,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We couldn’t kill those penalties. I thought we were doing a pretty good job, but then bang-bang, they get two power play goals, so those are tough goals (to give up).”

FSU’s freshmen struck again to make it 4-0, when Dakota Klecha rebounded a shot in front of the net past Rutledge with just under 14 minutes remaining. The goal was assisted by freshmen Sean O’Rourke and Robertson.

Daniels said the freshmen continue to impress while logging heavy minutes.

“The Thanksgiving break came at the right time for us,” he said. “We had overplayed a lot of the freshmen. When they came to Ferris, I don’t think they signed up for that many minutes. I think the break did the freshmen a world of good.”

Thompson made it 5-0 on a shorthanded goal with a little more than two minutes remaining. Thompson’s fourth goal of the season was assisted by Ouellette.

Saturday’s series finale at Ewigleben Ice Arena is sold out. The Bulldogs will look to sweep Michigan for the first time in a weekend series since 1985, with the opening face-off set for 7:05 p.m.

View more photos from this game at our photo gallery!

 

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