Post Game: Cencer
Big Rapids, Mich. - A pair of early goals lifted Bemidji State to a 2-1 triumph over nationally fourth-ranked Ferris State in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play on Saturday (Feb. 15) at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn.
The host Beavers struck twice in the initial seven minutes of the contest and held on the rest of the way as they split the weekend series against the league-leading Bulldogs. FSU had won Friday's opening game by a 4-1 count and saw its four-game win streak snapped with Saturday's setback.
The loss combined with Minnesota State's home victory over Alabama-Huntsville created a tie atop the WCHA standings as both FSU and MSU have compiled 34 points each to date. However, the Bulldogs do own two games in hand with six games remaining on their regular-season slate.
Despite the setback, Ferris State did officially clinch home ice for the first round of the WCHA Playoffs on March 14-16 in Big Rapids by virtue of the weekend split.
The host Beavers opened quickly against the Bulldogs as they rebounded from Friday's loss early in a big way. Radoslav Illo picked up his ninth goal of the season and second of the weekend only 1:57 into the game with assists credited to Ruslan Pedan and Danny Mattson.
Then, four minutes later, BSU increased its lead to 2-0 when Markus Gerbrandt recorded his 13th lamplighter of the campaign with an assist to Brendan Harms.
Ferris State trimmed the margin in half on a goal from senior forward Cory Kane at 15:01 of the opening period. The goal was Kane's ninth of the year and fourth in as many outings. It was assisted by both freshman wing Gerald Mayhew and senior forward Justin DeMartino.
Both teams netted 12 shots each in the opening period of play and had other opportunities as the game progressed, but neither team was able to score the rest of the way. FSU finished with a strong 33-17 edge in total shots as the Bulldogs tallied 12 in the second period and nine in the third while limiting BSU to only two shots in the middle period and three over the final 20 minutes of the contest.
While Ferris State held a decisive advantage in total shots, the Bulldogs were forced to play shorthanded much of the way as FSU was called for seven penalties totaling 25 minutes in the box compared to only two penalties for four minutes on the Bemidji State side.
Neither team was able to capitalize, though, with the man-advantage as FSU finished 0-of-2 and the Beavers went 0-of-5 with the man-advantage.
Bemidji State's victory was due in part to goaltender Andrew Walsh, who made 32 saves in improving to 7-11-4 on the year. He went the entire 60 minutes in net and totaled 11 saves in period one followed by 12 in the second and nine in the final frame.
Meanwhile, Bulldog junior goaltender CJ Motte stopped 15 shots in falling to 20-5-3 overall with the setback. His total included 10 in the opening 20 minutes of play.
All three stars went to the Beavers with Gerbrandt earning the first star by virute of his eventual game-winner. Walsh took the second star and Illo picked up the third.
With the loss, Ferris State fell to 21-7-3 overall this season along with 16-4-2 in the league standings. Bemidji State improved to 9-16-7 overall and 9-11-4 in the WCHA while moving into seventh place in the conference. The top eight teams at the end of the year receive playoff bids.
The win was Bemidji State's first in four tries against the Bulldogs this campaign as FSU captured three of the four regular-season meetings. The Bulldogs posted wins of 5-4 in overtime and 5-3 at home in November before capturing the victory in Friday's opening game of the weekend set.
Ferris State will return home next weekend to host Alaska-Anchorage on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 21-22) nights inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena with both games set for 7:07 p.m. (ET) starts. Advance tickets are on sale now and can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office, online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737.
Following next weekend's home series against the Seawolves, the Bulldogs travel to Alaska for a two-game series in Fairbanks on Feb. 28-March 1 before returning home to host Lake Superior State in the final weekend of regular-season play on March 7-8 in Big Rapids.