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Monday, January 20, 2014

Mavericks stampede past Ferris State

By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer

For the first time in a long time, Ferris State experienced a weekend that they'd soon like to forget.

Aside from being swept for the first time since last March's CCHA Quarterfinal against Ohio State, the Bulldogs also had a strong gravitational pull toward the penalty box that inhibited their on-ice production.

Minnesota State pieced together a 6-2 decision over their counterparts in the series opener, netting two of those goals while on the power-play.

After seeing the Mavericks light the lamp twice within a 17-second span early in the first, forward T.J. Schlueter cut the deficit in half off a feed from linemate Andy Huff just past the midway point of the frame.

A score by Johnny McInnis with 5:50 elapsed in the second gave Minnesota State a but of breathing room until defenseman Brandon Anselmini brought Ferris State within one with under nine minutes left in the stanza.

Matt Leitner made it a 4-2 affair before the end of the frame and after surrendering another McInnis goal 1:35 into the third, Bulldogs' head Coach Bob Daniels pulled goaltender C.J. Motte in favor of backup Charles Williams.

Despite surrendering a power-play marker to J.P. Lafontaine, Williams finished the night with 12 saves on 13 attempts in relief duty. In his 41:35 of ice time, Motte yielded five goals on 25 opportunities.

Seven roughing penalties were assessed throughout the game, six of which came on matching minors. Little did the fans know that that sort of rugged play was just a preview of the things to come in Saturday's finale.

While Ferris State's came up short in their opportunity to salvage a split in their 4-3 loss to the Mavericks, the bigger story is the mayhem that unfolded at the 8:15 mark of the third period.

Just 19 seconds after McInnis scored the eventual game-winner, a scuffle broke-out between Bulldogs' defenseman Justin DeMartino and Minnesota State's Teddy Blueger behind the net that would set-off a line-brawl.

After order was restored, DeMartino and Motte were shown the gates, as was Zach Stepan and Blueger. Earning 10-minute misconducts on the Ferris State side were Ryan Lowney, Corey Kane and Zach Dorer, with Bryce Gervais and Carter Foguth being assessed the same penalties for Minnesota State.

The Bulldogs finished the contest with a season-high 119 penalty minutes on 23 infractions, 90 of which came during the melee.

Freshman Seth Adams gave Ferris State their only lead of the game with his second goal of the campaign at the 10:11 mark of the first.

Early in the third, senior forward Andy Huff evened-up the score at 2-2 before the Mavericks fired back with a pair of power-play goals.

With 7:02 left in regulation, Kenny Babinski finished off a pass from Jason Binkley to pull the Bulldogs within one.

Motte stopped 31 of 35 shots prior to his ejection, with Williams collecting three saves in the final 11:20.

At the other end of the ice, Cole Huggins had 32 stops to his credit.

Ferris State (17-5-3 overall, 12-2-2 WCHA) travels to the Upper Peninsula this weekend to square off with Michigan Tech (7-13-6 overall, 5-7-4 WCHA), whom they previously swept.

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