Ferris State continued its strong play on Friday night in Big Rapids. Phil Lewandowski scored twice, while goaltender Mike Brown turned in another solid performance to lead the Bulldogs to a 6-3 victory.
Western Michigan coach Jim Culhane was asked if Ferris State was the real deal.
“I think it’s obvious,” he said. “When you are able to put up six goals, I think it shows how good you are.”
Western Michigan started the scoring early. Shaun Rose got his first goal of the season off a nifty pass play from Brett Rumble at 6:51 of the first period to make it 1-0.
Ferris answered shortly after its first power play ended. Lewandowski parked himself at the side of the net and one-timed a pass from Mike Kinnie past goaltender Scott Foster at 9:51.
Lewandowski then got his second goal of the night at 18:29. Bringing the puck into the attacking zone on his own, Lewandowski went around the Western defense and roofed the puck over the sprawling goalie to make it 2-1.
It didn’t take long for Ferris to open up a two-goal lead. Mike Kinnie wristed a shot past Foster at 1:56 to make it 3-1. Western responded 35 seconds later when Jeremy Cheyne made a beautiful pass to Jeff Campbell. Brown dove over to make the save, but was too late as Campbell fired the puck into the open net.
Greg Rallo got the Bulldogs their two-goal cushion again while on the power play as he tipped a pass from Troy Milam past Foster at 9:26 to make it 4-2.
At that point, Culhane put Mike Mantua in net.
“I felt we needed a change,” Culhane said. “I was hoping that would spark the team.”
It did just that as Western Michigan turned up the heat on Brown. After Brown made a couple of key stops and watched a shot on a breakaway attempt that hit the post, Ferris State scored again at 19:10. Jeff Legue drove a slapshot past Mantua to make it 5-2.
“That was a big turning point in the game,” Culhane said. “We hit the post when it was 4-2, and then they come back and go up by three goals.”
The last period got more chippy and physical as the Broncos showed their frustration, but Ferris didn’t back down as the refs let the play continue for the most part, and Simon Mangos added a shorthanded goal at 8:14 to make it 6-2.
Near the end of the game, both lines on the ice came together for a scrum in the Ferris State zone. Penalties were called, but no suspensions were handed out.
Andrew Dwyer chipped in a goal while FSU was serving a five-minute major to round out the scoring at 19:26.
Despite the loss, Culhane was optimistic. “We are going to take every advantage we can into the next three games at home and see what we can do,” he said.
“I thought our penalty kill played very well today,” Bulldog coach Bob Daniels said. “That was something we worked on last week, and tonight we were very aggressive.”
Ferris State will try to break its 0-8-0 record at Lawson, traveling to Kalamazoo on Saturday to face the Broncos.