On a night where the 1966 national championship team was honored the Michigan State Hockey team (2-6-0) finished up a six game home-stand Saturday night with a 4-1 loss to the Ferris State Bulldogs (3-8-1).
For the second straight game the Spartans found themselves down early. On a power play Ferris State forward Mitch Maloney tipped in a shot from the blue line past Spartan goalie Ed Minney to put the Bulldogs up 1-0 eight minutes into the first period of play.
The Spartans had a great chance to tie the game with eight minutes remaining in the period. Forward Sam Saliba walked into the Bulldog zone with nobody to stop him but Ferris State goalie Justin Kapelmaster. Saliba’s shot went off iron and the game remained at a 1-0 lead for the Bulldogs.
The 1-0 lead for Ferris State held throughout the rest of the first period however the Spartans led the Bulldogs in shots on goal after the first period by a tally of 10-8.
It was not long into the second period before the Bulldogs had a chance to increase their lead….and they did. In a five on three situation ,after a couple of Spartan penalties, Ferris State forward Gerald Mayhew found the top left corner of the net to increase the Bulldog’s lead to 2-0 two minutes into the second period.
It only took the Bulldogs 40 seconds later to add another goal. While still on the power play Bulldogs defenseman Joe Rutkowski found the back of the net for his first goal of the season to increase Ferris State’s lead to 3-0.
The Spartans finally found the net with 12 minutes remaining in the second period and showed some life. On a power play of their own Spartan forward Villiam Haag waited in front of the net for a pass, finally received it, and buried a shot past Kapelmaster for his third goal of the season. The Bulldogs lead was trimmed to 3-1.
The Spartans had many chances throughout the rest of the period to draw even closer to Ferris State. Nobody had a better chance than forward JT Stenglein. With seconds remaining in the period Stenglein and Mason Appleton came into the Bulldogs zone on a two on one. Stenglein received a pass and had a wide open net but unfortunately whiffed on the shot and the scoring opportunity had closed.
After two periods of play the Bulldogs led 3-1 but MSU still controlled shots on goal with a tally of 21-15.
With one minute remaining in the game Ferris State forward Corey Mackin added an empty net goal to affectively end it at 4-1.
Ed Minney had a solid game in between the pipes for the Spartans finishing with 23 saves on 27 shots.
Every Bulldogs goal other than an empty netter came on the power play against a MSU penalty unit that killed 16-19 penalties in the last five games. After the game Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos stated that the penalty unit was, ” too easy and they executed.”
The Spartans are now 0-6 on the season when not being the first team to score in a game.
MSU got a needed boost both at the offensive and defensive ends of the ice with the returns of Mason Appleton and Jerad Rosburg from injury. After the game Anastos stated that he felt ” Jerad looked like he had been out awhile and thats expected. And for Mason you cold tell that he has been out too and both are playing at less than 100%.”
A struggling MSU power play unit had seven opportunities in the game and were only able to convert on one of them. Anastos talked about the struggling power play unit after the game stating, ” sometimes we are looking for too perfect of a play and too perfect of a shot. We have to do a better job finding seams to get pucks to the net and outnumbering people.”
The Spartans and Bulldogs will meet again Saturday Nov 12 in Big Rapids, MI for the second leg of their home and home series .