Thompson’s Trifecta

FSU junior nets hat trick in impressive 3-0 win over Michigan State

BIG RAPIDS – “Not too often you get a shutout from your second star,” Bob Daniels quipped as Ferris State goaltender CJ Motte exited the postgame press conference of a 3-0 win over Michigan State.

That was the case on Saturday, though, as junior left wing Garrett Thompson posted a hat trick on a first line that performed at a high level all evening against the overwhelmed Spartans to garner first star honors.

Motte took care of things on the defensive end, saving all 23 of the shots he faced in earning his third shutout of the season in front of a sellout crowd at Ewigleben Ice Arena.

TRIPLE THREAT: Ferris State left wing Garrett Thompson looks to put a shot on net against Michigan State goaltender Jake Hildebrand during his team’s 3-0 win over the Spartans. Thompson notched a hat trick to help FSU improve to 9-8-3 on the season. (Pioneer photo/Martin Slagter)

But even with Motte in top form, it was Thompson that stole the spotlight. Often overlooked with flashier linemates Kyle Bonis and Travis Ouellette sharing the ice, Saturday was Thompson’s time to shine, netting his seventh, eighth and ninth goals of the season in helping FSU improve to 9-8-3 and 7-6-1 in the CCHA. The Spartans dropped to 5-12-3 overall along with a 4-9-1 mark in the final season of the CCHA.

“It’s obviously a big accomplishment for myself, helping us in succeeding (Saturday),” Thompson said. “It’s nice to know I can contribute like that for the team. I feel like this is a big step forward for us starting the new year.”

Thompson netted two goals in the second period and a third in the game’s final minute with an empty net.

Even with the standout performance of Thompson, Daniels was clearly happy with the team’s all-around level of play.

“Boy it was nice to see our team play like that for 60 minutes,” he said. “(Following the game with Cornell in the Florida College

Hockey Classic) it was almost like where we left off last semester, where at times we played great, but we couldn’t sustain it for 60 minutes. I was really happy to see (Saturday) for 60 minutes, we played with a sense of urgency.”

The teams skated to a scoreless tie after one period of play with the shots knotted up at 7-7. Action moved quickly with neither team committing a penalty and without many stoppages in play.

Ferris State began to put some of its best offensive chances together toward the middle of the second period, although it would remain scoreless.

The Bulldogs’ top line of Kyle Bonis, Travis Ouellette and Garrett Thompson put together a number of those chances consistently on Saturday. FSU got on its first power play of the game and scored on a lamp-lighter by Thompson that he gathered and backhanded from behind the net to make it 1-0 with 8:22 left in the second. Ouellette and Scott Czarnowczan assisted on Thompson’s seventh goal of the season.

“There were actually a few opportunities I had earlier in the game from Bonis and Ouellette and I kind of beat myself up about it because they were such good opportunities,” he said. “I guess when the bounces are going your way, like they were with me (Saturday), I kind of saw the goalie out of position and threw it back at his feet.”

Thompson benefitted from another great pass on a breakaway, this time from Jason Binkley for his second goal in five minutes to make it 2-0 with 4:43 left in the second period.

“We’ve been practicing a little play of breaking out and then regrouping,” Thompson said of his second tally of the evening. “I saw the opportunity when Binkley had the puck to kind of go up and over, as we call it. He made a great feed to me, I kept skating and beat the defenseman.”

Thompson’s third and final goal came with just 34 seconds remaining on a cross ice pass from freshman Matt Robertson to make it 3-0.

Ferris State converted its only power play opportunity of the night, while the Bulldogs took just one penalty for the game.

Daniels credited his first line’s effectiveness to staying out of the penalty box on Saturday.

“One of the things was that was really a positive is that we only took one penalty (Saturday),” he said. “The reason that’s important is that we use (Ouellette, Thompson and Bonis) on our first line of the penalty kill as defenders. That’s a lot of time for those players killing penalties. You could see where they really benefitted from a good team discipline (Saturday).”

Motte credited the Bulldogs’ all-around effort on defense for making his job easy on Saturday, including Travis White, who returned from action for the first time since Oct. 26.

“I give a lot of credit to everyone else on the team,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many blocked shots there were in front of the net. We had a lot of good backchecking plays where we took away good scoring opportunities from them.”

By virtue of the victory, the Bulldogs also moved into a fourth-place tie with Ohio State in the CCHA standings as both teams now have 22 points in league competition. The two teams will collide next weekend as the Buckeyes visit the Ewigleben Ice Arena for a pair of league contests.

Action gets underway on both Friday and Saturday nights at 7:05 p.m. For more information on tickets call (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

 

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