Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey squad carried the play with a big edge in total shots, but fell short on Friday (March 1) night as Lake Superior State scored a pair of late empty-net goals to pick up a 5-2 triumph over the Bulldogs in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play at Taffy Abel Ice Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Bulldogs notched 47 shots on goal in the game and were deadlocked heading into the final period of action before falling short in the weekend opener against the Lakers. Bulldog defenseman Joe Rutkowski had a pair of assists in the contest for FSU while freshman netminder Roni Salmenkangas made 34 saves on the night.
The loss ended the Bulldogs' postseason playoff hopes as FSU will wrap up the 2018-19 campaign on Saturday night (March 2) in the series' finale versus LSSU.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring at 12:25 of the first period when Lucas Finner found the back of the net for a power play goal assisted by Rutkowski. The score stood for slightly more than a minute as Lake Superior State responded at 13:52 when Ashton Calder scored in unassisted fashion.
LSSU grabbed its first lead at 5:48 of the middle frame when Yuki Miura gave the Lakers a 2-1 edge on a goal aided by Alec Semandel and Bryan Basilico.
However, Ferris State answered midway thru the period when senior forward Corey Mackin notched his 99th career collegiate point with the equalizer assisted by Rutkowski and sophomore forward Coale Norris.
The 2-2 tie remained heading into the third when Semandel regained the lead for the Lakers with an early goal at 2:07 that was assisted by Pete Veillette and Hampus Eriksson.
Ferris State had opportunities and outshot the Lakers 17-16 in the third, but could not knot the game up as LSSU's Nick Kossoff finished with 45 saves on the night. LSSU added two empty net goals late from Diego Cuglietta as the Bulldogs pulled the goaltender in an attempt to send the contest to overtime.
Overall, FSU held a 47-39 edge in total shots for the night, including a 20-11 margin in the second period alone. FSU went one-of-three on the power play and held LSSU scoreless in five attempts with the man-advantage.
The two teams will square off again on Saturday starting at 7 p.m. (ET) in Sault Ste. Marie.