BIG RAPIDS, MICH. — Coming into Friday’s nonconference game with the Minnesota State men’s hockey team, Ferris State hadn’t beaten a Division I opponent all season.
The Bulldogs (1-17-1, 0-9-1 in WCHA) ranked last in the country in goals allowed per game at 4.26 and had already been swept by the Mavericks once this season.
None of that mattered, as the Mavericks had to fight for nearly 65 minutes to down the feisty Bulldogs 5-4 in overtime.
“I’m proud of the way we played,” MSU coach Mike Hastings said in a phone interview. “Even though we faced some adversity and had to play from behind at times, we still found a way to get it done, and I think that’s the sign of a good hockey team.”
The game entered the third period tied at 4 and stayed that way through the end of regulation. After dominating for almost the entire 3-on-3 overtime, Reggie Lutz fired a wrist shot home from the high slot with just 48 seconds remaining. Assists went to Riese Zmolek and Cade Borchardt.
MSU outshot Ferris State 41-11, but the Bulldogs were opportunistic when they got chances, while MSU left some goals on the ice.
At the end of the second, Hastings made the tough decision to pull starting goaltender Dryden McKay, who led the nation in almost every major goaltending metric entering the weekend.
McKay allowed four goals on 10 shots through two periods.
“It just wasn’t his night ... there isn’t anybody in the world that doesn’t happen to,” Hastings said. “It was about time we tried to give him a helping hand tonight.”
The MSU power play, which entered the series leading the nation at over 32%, went 1-for-7 in the game.
“You get the opportunities that we do as far as the amount of power plays that we had ... we’ll look at it, take a collective breath, and find a way to be better tomorrow,” Hastings said.
Along with Lutz, Jake Jaremko, Ryan Sandelin, Brendan Furry and Nathan Smith also scored for MSU.
In the final minute of the second, with the Mavericks trailing 4-3, Smith tied the game with a great individual effort, stickhandling from the corner through three defenders before eventually tucking the puck past goalie Roni Salmenkangas.
Smith played big minutes throughout the game and was one of MSU’s best players.
“That’s as big of an individual effort on the offensive side that I’ve seen from a player wearing our jersey this year,” Hastings said.
MSU (14-2-1, 10-0 in WCHA) finishes its series with Ferris State at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
Follow Kevin Dudley on Twitter @Dudley7Kevin.