It was a sweet victory for Ferris State, but it was far from easy. Troy Milam scored the game winner on a two-on-one at 11:51 of the third period to lead the Bulldogs to a 4-2 victory over Bowling Green, giving them sole possession of their first-ever CCHA regular-season title.
“It is such a sweet victory,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “It is good to get it out of the way tonight. It just wouldn’t have been fitting to share the championship. What an incredible feeling.”
Of course, two quick strikes in the opening period always helps matters. Matt York skated into the slot and wristed a shot past Bowling Green goaltender Jordan Sigalet at 1:05 to make it 1-0.
Greg Rallo then chipped in a goal 17 seconds later. Simon Mangos passed the puck up to Rallo, who broke in on Sigalet all alone. While being hooked from behind, Rallo chipped the puck over Sigalet’s left shoulder to make it 2-0 at 1:22.
With the home team reeling, Bowling Green dug deep to put pressure back on Ferris State. Chris Pedota wristed a shot that Mike Brown stopped, but Mike Falk was on the doorstep to shoot the puck into the open net at 15:46 and make it 2-1.
Both teams had their chances in the second period, but it was Bowling Green which scored to tie the game. Mark Wires collected a rebound on the doorstep and chipped it upstairs over the outstretched glove of Brown to make it 2-2 at 4:23.
“You have to give credit to Jordan Sigalet,” Bowling Green coach Scott Paluch said. “Normally, when you give up two quick goals like that, it is hard on a goalie’s psyche. He came through for us tonight.”
The third period was owned by the Bulldogs as they outshot Bowling Green 14-2. Sigalet stopped four odd-man rushes in a row before Milam scored to give FSU the lead. Jeff Legue scored an empty-netter to clinch the victory and the CCHA title for Ferris State.
“It wasn’t until that third period when we woke up,” Daniels said. “Bowling Green is such a good team, and I think we underestimated them a little.”
“In a run-and-gun style of game, that benefits Ferris State,” Paluch said. “When it is a down low tight game I think that favors us a little bit. We let through just too many odd-man rushes in that third period.”
Ferris State will finish the regular season at Bowling Green on Saturday night.