Ferris steals one from Tech
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Michigan Tech outplayed No. 3 Ferris State on both ends of the ice for most of the game yet came away with a 3-2 loss Saturday in WCHA play. Bulldogs netminder C.J. Motte totaled 44 saves, and the Huskies had a goal disallowed in losing their second straight one-goal setback to FSU.
Shots on goal favored Michigan Tech 46-20.
“What can you say? You can’t ask for any more from a hockey team than to come into the building of the No. 3 team in the country and play like we did,” said coach Mel Pearson. “It was a spirited effort by our guys, and I don’t think I’ve been more proud of a team than this one in my 30-some years of coaching.”
Despite Tech jumping out with a seven of the first nine shots on goal in the game, it was Ferris getting on the board first.
T.J. Schlueter was the recipient of a bounce off a skate to him at the front of the net, where he beat Jamie Phillips.
Tech appeared to have tied the game nine minutes into the second period. Blake Hietala centered a pass to the front of the net, where Motte made an initial save. Brent Baltus poked a loose puck under Motte into the net, but the official skated in with his arms up. After a review, the goal was not allowed because of a premature whistle by the referee.
Instead of a 1-1 game, FSU made it 2-0 with a shorthanded tally. Kenny Babinski and Chad McDonald worked a two-on-one breakaway to score with 4:59 left in the second.
Less than 90 seconds later, Alex Petan officially broke up the shutout. The sophomore put a wrist shot past Motte while on a 5-on-3 power play. Shane Hanna made the cross-ice feed to Petan, and Ryan Furne also picked up an assist.
Tech finished with 21 shots on goal in the second period alone, but went into the intermission trailing 2-1.
FSU’s Justin Buzzeo gave his team another two-goal lead with 3:29 left when he poked a loose puck past Phillips in the third.
Pearson elected to put out the extra attacker with 2:41 left, and it eventually paid off. David Johnstone fired a shot from a sharp angle on the left goal line past Motte with 54 seconds remaining.
The Black and Gold couldn’t get the equalizer despite more time with the extra skater in the Bulldogs zone in the final moments.
Motte stopped 14 shots in the first, 20 in the second and 10 more in the third to improve to 17-1-3 on the season. Phillips posted 17 saves in his third consecutive start for the Huskies.
Tech has now played in 13 consecutive games decided with a tie or one-goal.
“Motte was the difference in the game,” said Pearson. “We have to persevere, hang in there and stick together.
“I like this team. We’re playing well right now. It’s going to be a good series when they come to our place in two weeks.”
Michigan Tech (7-13-6, 5-7-4 WCHA), which has a bye week in its schedule Jan. 17-18, will host Ferris State (17-3-3, 12-0-2 WCHA) in its next games Jan. 24-25.