Senior center Nate Hennig staked Ferris State to a two-goal lead early in the third period and the Bulldogs went on to a 4-2 win over St. Lawrence in the first game of a two game weekend series between the Saints and Ferris State in Big Rapids, MI Friday night.
The Bulldogs improve to 2-1-0 on the season while the Saints will take a 0-1-2 record into the Saturday night rematch.
Ferris State, which went 15-3-2 as part of a 21-win season a year ago, never trailed in its home opener, although the Saints did tie the game in the first period and were in the thick of it until freshman Garrett Thompson deflected a blocked shot over sprawled SLU goalie Matt Weninger with 5:26 to play in regulation to give Ferris a 4-2 lead.
Matthew Kirzinger opened the scoring for Ferris State as he scored on an extra attacker goal just 2:29 into the game, taking a pass from Todd Pococke and sneaking the puck between Weninger and the post. The Saints could have been in big trouble early, but were able to kill off the ensuing power play under new rules this season which still award the power play even when a goal is scored with a penalty being indicated.
Junior Jacob Drewiske tied the game for the Saints at 16:15 as he took a goal mouth pass from Rick Carden and tucked the puck between the post and goalie Pat Nagle's pads to make it 1-1 after one period. Sophomore Matt Dyer also assisted on the first Saint goal of the game.
Dyer played both defense and forward in the game as the Saints went with a hybrid lineup due to a number of injuries to forwards.
"We gave it a pretty good effort against a good team," said Saint coach Joe Marsh. "We had to play some players in some different positions and went with seven defensemen, but I thought we were competitive and we were in it right down to the end."
Ferris State regained the lead on a three-on-one break at 6:12 of the second period when Cory Kane picked up a loose puck after it had banged off the pads of a Saint defender and took off on a three-on-one. Weninger anticipated a pass and Kane put a shot inside the far post for his first of the year to make it a 2-1 game after two periods.
Hennig then took advantage of another bounce off a defender's pads as the puck caromed right onto his stick at the right faceoff dot and he whipped a shot under the crossbar from Derek Graham with the second period just 2:01 old.
The Saints were still in it when freshman Greg Carey picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and sent senior Nick Pitsikoulis in all alone. Pitsikoulis faked the goaltender and snapped a shot through the five hole to make it a 3-2 game with his first of the year at 5:15, but the Saints couldn't find the equalizer and Ferris iced it when Thompson tipped the tumbling puck off the block over Weninger at 14:34.
Weninger finished with 20 saves for the Saints while Nagle made 21 as Ferris had a slight 24-23 edge in shots on goal. Each team went scoreless in four power play chances in the game and the Saints have now killed off 12 straight opposing power plays.