BIG RAPIDS – On the heels of an embarrassing 5-0 loss to Ferris State on Friday night, the Michigan Wolverines overcame an early goal allowed to defeat the Bulldogs in a shootout after playing to a 3-3 tie.
Ferris State scored less than a minute into the series finale when Jason Binkley knocked in a juicy rebound past starting goaltender Steven Racine. But unlike Friday’s rout, the Wolverines didn’t buckle after giving up the initial tally. Instead, they fought back — quickly and repeatedly.
The first counterstrike was another rebound goal, this one from Michigan senior captain A.J. Treais off an assist from senior forward Lindsay Sparks, moved to the top line after the Wolverines had struggled to generate offense lately.
“We have pretty good chemistry,” Sparks said of his new line mates.
Treais’ equalizer was quickly followed by a Boo Nieves goal, just over two minutes later. Nieves crashed the net to give his team a lead for the first time since Nov. 21.
Only 30 seconds after that goal, the Wolverines opened up a two-goal advantage when Sparks took a pass from senior alternate captain Kevin Lynch and tipped it into the back of the net.
But after Michigan entered the first intermission with a 3-1 lead, things soon began to unravel for the Wolverines and Ferris State’s Kyle Bonis took over.
Bonis carried the puck himself from center ice to behind the Michigan net. He then wrapped around Racine and finished off the play, pulling the Bulldogs to within one. A Michigan goal was waved off because it was ruled Sparks batted the puck in with his hand. The period ended with Ferris State buzzing offensively and the Wolverines clinging to the 3-2 lead.
Bonis continued his takeover when he sent a snipe from the left circle past Racine’s glove, knotting the game at three apiece with 13:33 remaining in regulation. The teams exchanged opportunities in the game’s waning minutes, but neither could deliver the finishing blow.
After a scoreless overtime, Michigan and Ferris State took to a shootout to award the extra CCHA standings point up for grabs.
Nieves was first to shoot, and he snuck one past Bulldog netminder C.J. Motte five hole. But Ferris State’s Cory Kane responded with a goal of his own. Bonis and Lynch were both stopped by Racine and Motte, respectively, and then the next shooters for both teams scored, advancing the shootout to sudden death.
Junior forward Luke Moffatt lit the lamp and Ferris State’s Eric Alexander couldn’t muster a shot, and the Wolverines grabbed the extra point in a hostile road environment.
“I thought we played harder and better than last night,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We finally got some puck luck.”