The Ferris State Bulldogs opened their 2005-06 season on the road, where they faced non-conference competitors at the Mutual Omaha Stampede. The Bulldogs fell 4-2 to the University of New Hampshire on Friday night, but earned a 5-2 win over Army on Saturday, courtesy of an offensive effort led by Matt Verdone (pictured).
Friday started strong enough for Ferris. Despite New Hampshire getting on the board early in the game, the Bulldogs quickly retaliated. Less than two minutes after the UNH goal, Eric Vesley tied it up for Ferris. Dan Riedel and Adam Welch assisted. Midway through the first stanza, Ferris took the lead on an Adam Miller power-play goal, assisted by Zac Pearson and Brian Yandle.
However, Ferris couldn't preserve the lead for long. UNH scored three unanswered goals in the second period, with two coming on the power play.
Ferris State goaltender Derek McIntyre finished with 24 saves. Jeff Pietrasiak stopped 21 shots for UNH.
Saturday gave the Bulldogs - and one Bulldog in particular - a chance to shine, as they faced off with the Army Black Knights in the tournament consolation game.
Reidel got things started by notching a power play goal with a little help from Mark Bomersback and Greg Rallo. Then with fifteen seconds left in the first period, with Ferris one man down, Verdone banged in his first goal of the evening. Pearson and Andrew Winnick assisted. Verdone lit the lamp again in the second period off a Brendan Connolly assist to put the Bulldogs up 3-0.
Army got on the board in the third period on a Bryce Hollweg power play goal, but three minutes later, it was back to the Matt Verdone show. He capitalized again on the power play to for his third goal of the night, and Pearson and Chris Zarb were credited with the assists.
But a hat trick wasn't enough for Verdone. He notched one more even-strength goal with help from Pearson and Connolly.
Brady Dolim gave Army its second goal late in the third, but Verdone's efforts clearly had their intended effect and Ferris claimed the 'W.'
In his first start, Ferris freshman goalie Mitch O'Keefe had 11 saves. Brad Roberts had 29 saves for the Black Knights.
The Bulldogs travel to Lake Superior State this weekend for a pair of CCHA games.