Big Rapids, Mich. - A two-goal night from senior forward Sean O'Rourke powered Ferris State to an exciting victory over defending league champion Minnesota State in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play by the score of 7-4 on Friday (Nov. 6) night at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.
Along with O'Rourke's performance, FSU junior forwards Jared VanWormer and Gerald Mayhew each also posted three points apiece in the victory during the Bulldogs' best offensive showing of the 2015-16 season to date.
The Bulldogs got on the board first when sophomore forward Andrew Dorantes found a feed from sophomore forward Tyler Andrew that was centered the circles, and ripped it past Minnesota State goaltender Jason Pawloski at 1:59 of the first period. Freshman forward Corey Mackin also dangled a defender to find Andrew as both tallied assists on the play.
Minnesota State responded at 13:40 of the first period on the power play when C.J. Franklin found himself wide open in front of Ferris State freshman goaltender Darren Smith off of an assist from Casey Nelson.
However, Ferris State answered less than three minutes later when Mayhew scored on the power play from senior defenseman Simon Denis on a shot that snuck between Pawloski's pad and the post. After a lengthy review, Mayhew's goal stood and the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The Mavericks elected to pull Pawloski in favor of veteran Cole Huggins between the pipes following the first period.
Minnesota State's Bryce Gervais scored at 6:50 of the second period to tie the game on a breakaway after a pass from Nelson broke the WCHA's leading goal scorer from a year ago free.
But, the Bulldogs regained the lead at 3-2 at 8:06 of the middle frame when O'Rourke scored his first goal of the year from VanWormer and sophomore forward Zach Szajner.
Junior forward Kyle Schempp put the Bulldogs ahead by two on the power play in the third period when Mayhew stepped in front and slid a pass across to a driving Schempp, who made it 4-2 at 5:48 of the third. Mackin had his second assist of the night on Schempp's goal.
Minnesota State erased the two-goal deficit quickly as Nelson scored on the power play at 7:54 of the third to cut the lead to one before Max Coatta tied it driving hard to the net at 9:51 of the third from Jaden Schmeisser.
The tie lasted less than 50 seconds, though, as O'Rourke found a puck on the door step and managed to finesse it past Huggins at 10:39 of the third. VanWormer and Szajner received assists on the game-winning goal.
Junior forward Chad McDonald gave the Bulldogs their second two-goal lead of the night when VanWormer found him on a breakaway. McDonald streaked past his defender and backhanded a shot low to the blocker side to beat Huggins and put the Bulldogs ahead 6-4 at 12:36 of the third.
Senior forward Matt Robertson then iced the game with an empty-net goal at 18:26 of the third from Mayhew and sophomore defenseman Tyler Dorantes, for Ferris State's fourth goal of the period, and final marker of the game.
Special teams played a major role for both teams as Ferris State went 2-6 on the man advantage with the Mavericks finishing 2-8 overall. The Bulldogs took 11 penalties for 22 minutes with the Mavericks taking nine penalties for 18 minutes.
Minnesota State finished with 38 shots to Ferris State's 27 and outshot FSU 18-11 in the third despite the fact the Bulldogs notched four of the six goals scored in the final period of play.
Smith got the win for Ferris State, improving to 3-0-1 on the season, as the freshman made 34 saves on 38 shots. Huggins took the loss for Minnesota State, allowing four goals on 21 shots in 38:43 of play.
The win was FSU's first over the Mavericks since joining the WCHA as the Bulldogs broke an eight-game skid against Minnesota State.
The Bulldogs and the Mavericks hit the ice again on Saturday (Nov. 7) night to finish the weekend and regular-season series between the two teams starting at 7:07 p.m. (ET).
Tickets for Saturday's series' finale are on sale and can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office, online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737. Visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for additional information.