Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State Bulldogs fell 6-5 in overtime at home to the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Wednesday (Dec. 30) inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena in non-conference action.
Ferris State junior forward Ethan Stewart had three points in the effort for the Bulldogs, while sophomore forward Jason Brancheau picked up a goal and an assist for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs leapt out to a 3-0 lead in the first period when freshman forward Mitch Deelstra scored his team-leading third goal of the year on a drag move for a 1-0 Bulldog lead at 6:58 of the first. Stewart picked up his first assist of the year on the goal while Brancheau picked up his third.
At 8:19, Ferris State potted their second when Stewart banged in a rebound for his second goal of the year at the right goal post. Sophomore forward Cade Kowalski (1) and defenseman Max Finner (1) earned the helpers on the line rush goal for the 2-0 FSU lead.
At 15:47 of the first, junior forward Jake Transit finished a one-timer on a shorthanded two-on-goalie break for his first goal of the year. Stewart earned his second assist of the night and season on the play for a 3-0 Bulldog lead.
The Wildcats responed with three straight goals, first Vincent De Mey on the power play at 1:05 of the second period, followed by Michael Van Unen on the man advantage and De Mey again at 15:11 of the middle frame.
Late in the second period, Ferris State responded to retake the lead. Senior forward Coale Norris hammered a one-timer past NMU goaltender Connor Ryckman on a two-on-goalie rush on a slick feed from junior forward Justin Michaelian (3). Norris picked up his second goal of the year, while sophomore defenseman Blake Evennou earned his third for a 4-3 Bulldog lead.
The Wildcats again fired twice, both goals by AJ Vanderbeck, on the power play at 8:10 of the third period and on a breakaway at 14:47 of the third for a 5-4 Wildcat lead.
With 33 seconds to go, Brancheau ripped a shot over Ryckman's shoulder and off the back-bar, which initially was waved off. The Wildcats scored in the ensuing scramble when Connor Marritt finished an empty net tally, but upon review, Brancheau's shot was confirmed a goal, for his first collegiate marker. Ferris State freshman forward Antonio Venuto picked up his first collegiate point, an assist on the play, while sophomore defenseman Jake Willets added his first of the year for the 5-5 tie.
In overtime, the Wildcats won the game with 33 seconds remaining when Joseph Nardi fired in his second goal of the year for the 6-5 final.
In goal, Salmenkangas took the loss for Ferris State on 28 saves, while Ryckman got the win on 30 stops. The Wildcats went 3-5 on the power play while Ferris State finished 0-3. Ferris State had a 35-34 advantage in shots on goal for the night.
The Bulldogs take on nationally #7 ranked Bowling Green at 3:07 pm ET on Saturday (Jan. 2) to open Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play at Ewigleben Ice Arena.