Big Rapids, Mich. - Despite a second consecutive night in which the Ferris State University men's ice hockey squad found itself ahead in the contest, the Bulldogs dropped a chance to sweep the Minnesota State Mavericks on Saturday (Nov. 7) evening by a final score of 3-2 at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena.
The Mavericks came out firing on all cylinders after allowing seven goals in the series' opener on Friday evening, scoring only 1:39 into the game when Zach Stepan pushed one past Bulldog freshman goaltender Darren Smith. Jordan Nelson and Zeb Knutson had assists on the goal.
Ferris State responded well, though, as the Bulldogs tied the game on the power play when senior forward Kenny Babinski scored his third goal of the year at 6:44 of the first period. Sophomore forward Andrew Dorantes added his fourth assist of the year with junior defenseman Ryan Lowney notching his second on FSU's first goal of the night.
Ferris State freshman forward Corey Mackin then banked home his third goal of the year after Lowney hit him with the initial shot at 9:33 of the second period to give FSU a 2-1 edge. Both Lowney and Dorantes each tallied their second assists of the evening. The goal happened during four-on-four play.
However, Casey Nelson tied it at 2-2 for the Mavericks at 11 minutes of the second period from Sean Flanagan and Ryan Schwalbe.
The Bulldogs next pinned the Mavericks in their own zone for over a minute, but Minnesota State's Michael Huntebrinker was able to finally take the puck down the ice in a 2-on-1 situation. He faked a shot and passed it underneath freshman defenseman Ryker Killins, finding Knutson, who scored his first goal of the season to give the Mavericks a 3-2 lead at 17:29 of the second period.
The third period ended scoreless and the Mavericks earned two points on the weekend to remain atop the WCHA with the weekend split against the Bulldogs.
Smith (3-1-1) took the loss in net for Ferris State, making 30 stops of 33 Minnesota State shots in the effort. It was Smith's third consecutive start for the Bulldogs. Smith has now made 30 or more stops in his last three games and 29 or more in all of his starts this season.
Cole Huggins (2-5-0) got the victory for the Mavericks and his fourth in as many career starts against Ferris State. Huggins took the loss the previous evening in relief of Jason Pawloski.
Ferris State fell to 4-4-2 overall with the loss and is now 3-3-0 in the WCHA.
The Bulldogs will log some mileage next weekend as FSU takes a trip to Anchorage, Alaska, to take on the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13-14. Both games are set for 11:07 p.m. (ET) puck drops.