VanWormer Nets Overtime Goal, Bulldogs Advance to West Regional Final

VanWormer Nets Overtime Goal, Bulldogs Advance to West Regional Final

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St. Paul, Minn. — Overtime lasted just 18 seconds as junior forward Jared VanWormer sent the fourth-seeded Ferris State University men's ice hockey team past top-seeded and nationally No. 2 ranked St. Cloud State 5-4 on Saturday (March 26) in the Division I NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament's West Region Semifinal at Xcel Energy Center.

VanWormer finished with two goals and an assist, while fellow junior forward Gerald Mayhew had a goal and assisted on the game-winner. Freshman goaltender Darren Smith made 29 saves in a winning effort between the pipes for Ferris State.

The Bulldogs got on the board first when sophomore forward Mitch Maloney banged home a rebound for his sixth goal of the year, while senior defenseman Brandon Anselmini notched his 15th assist of the season on the play at 2:56 of the first period.

The lead lasted just 17 seconds, as Jacob Benson answered for the Huskies on a similar play to tie the game 1-1 at 3:13 of the first. Robby Jackson and Black Winiecki earned assists on Benson's goal.

Ferris State took a lead on a breakaway with just 23 seconds remaining in the opening frame, when VanWormer buried his first of the game and sixth of the season. Freshman forward Trevor Recktenwald earned his fifth assist of the year when he poked a loose puck past two Husky defenders to hit VanWormer in full stride.

Senior forward Kenny Babinski gave Ferris State their first two-goal lead of the game at 1:04 of the second when he scored his 10th goal of the season, ripping a shot from the right wing boards that got through St. Cloud State goaltender Charlie Lindgren.

Senior forward Matt Robertson and junior defenseman Ryan Lowney each picked up their 12th assist of the year on the goal.

At 4:56 of the second, the Huskies cut the Bulldog lead to 3-2 on the power play when Mikey Eyssimont scored his 13th of the year from Kalle Kossila and Ethan Prow. Eyssimont drove to the outside past a defender to the front of the net before ripping a shot past Smith.

The seesaw affair continued when the Bulldogs regained their two-goal lead at 12:01 of the second when Gerald Mayhew scored his 15th goal of the year, firing a shot from between the faceoff circles that beat Lindgren cleanly.

VanWormer added his 11th assist of the year on Mayhew's goal, hitting a Husky defender in the corner and working the puck back out to Mayhew who made it 4-2 in favor of FSU.

Eyssimont scored his second goal of the game at 4:38 of the third, again on the powerplay from Joey Benik and Kossila. Benik shot the puck off the end boards, and it fired back out to Eyssimont who was alone in front of a wide open net.

Benik then scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the year to tie the game at 11:29 of the third. Jimmy Murray and Jimmy Schuldt assisted on the play. Benik was open in front of the net where he roofed a shot past Smith.

Regulation ended in a 4-4 deadlock despite a late breakaway chance from Ferris State freshman forward Corey Mackin, and the game headed to overtime.

VanWormer wasted no time in the continuous sudden death overtime, scoring off of a rebounded shot from Mayhew just 18 seconds in. VanWormer's winner was his seventh goal of the year, while Mayhew earned his 23rd assist. The tally was also the Traverse City native's first winner of his junior campaign.

Ferris State moved to 4-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament first round games, as the Bulldogs have at least advanced to the Elite 8 in every visit to the NCAA Tournament in program history.

SCSU finished with 33 shots to FSU's 31. In between the pipes, Lindgren made 26 saves for the Huskies as he took the loss, falling to 30-9-1. Smith's 29 saves were enough for a Ferris State victory as the freshman moved to 17-9-5 in his inaugural campaign.

Ferris State's overall record is now at 20-14-6 on the season, notching their 10th 20-win season in program history. It is the seventh all-time the team has earned 20 wins under current head coach Bob Daniels.

The Bulldogs will take on the winner of Denver University and Boston University on Sunday (March 27) at 5 pm ET on ESPNU with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line. Stay tuned to for more information.