By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer
In their quest to capture the WCHA regular season title, the No. 4 ranked Ferris State Bulldogs hit a bump in the road this past weekend after suffering a pair of losses to Alaska.
Following Minnesota State's sweep over Lake Superior State, the two squads are tied for first place with 38 points apiece heading into the final weekend of conference play before the WCHA Tournament.
The Nanooks' sense of relentlessness was visible from the get-go, compiling a 3-0 lead in the first 33 minutes of Friday's game before the Bulldogs could muster a response. A hooking call against Alaska allowed Ferris State to capitalize, with senior forward Andy Huff blasting the puck in from the right faceoff dot at the 15:41 mark courtesy of a Ryan Lowney feed.
Garrick Perry padded Alaska's lead with under eight minutes to go in the third to make it a 4-1 affair, but the bigger story came shortly thereafter when misconducts were handed out to Dakota Klecha and Dominic Panetta for their roles in roughhousing with Nolan Youngmun and Josh Erickson. Earlier in the period, Klecha and Erickson were both assessed matching minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Ferris State netminder C.J. Motte had 15 saves in 19 opportunities, while rival Sean Cahill was successful in stopping 36 of 37 shots faced.
The series finale was a far cry from the night before, with more scoring and less penalties being dished out.
Senior Cory Kane put the Bulldogs up first with a short-handed marker just 3:41 into the opening frame, only to be countered minutes later by Cody Kunyk's 18th goal of the campaign.
The score would be deadlocked 1-1 until midway through the middle stanza, when Trevor Campbell gave the Nanooks their first lead of the game by finishing off a pass from Michael Quinn and Colton Beck. Not the be outdone, Lowney answered back with under six minutes remaining to keep Ferris State in contention after 40 minutes of play.
Optimism on the Bulldogs side however would fade quickly in the third, thanks to a trio of goals by Alaska within a 15-minute span to make it a 5-2 affair.
Kane provided an assist on Huff's goal with 12 seconds remaining, but Ferris State was unable to avoid the sweep.
Motte (22-7-3 overall) had 36 saves compared to Cahill's 24.
The Bulldogs (23-9-3 overall, 18-6-2 WCHA) close out the regular season this weekend with a pair of games at home against Lake Superior State (16-17-1, 12-14-0). Prior to the start of Saturday's game, Ferris State will honor their senior class of Scott Czarnowczan, Justin DeMartino, Huff, Kane and Garrett Thompson.