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Ground and Pound

Dawg Pound overwhelms the Spartans in a gritty sweep

by Published: Jan 23, 2013

I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and Score: Ferris State junior right wing Andy Huff celebrates the fourth goal of the game against Michigan State. The Bulldogs swept the Spartans for a home-and-home series. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and Score: Ferris State junior right wing Andy Huff cel­e­brates the fourth goal of the game against Michigan State. The Bulldogs swept the Spartans for a home-and-home series. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

Ewigleben Ice Arena was packed tight in the Bulldogs’ final sea­son series against the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday, Jan. 19.

The Bulldogs would not dis­ap­point, com­ing off of a Friday night 2–1 win over the Spartans.

Ferris would play much of the game with just 10 for­wards, yet the banged up Bulldogs exploded as five dif­fer­ent Bulldogs scored in the 5–2 win to com­plete the sweep.

The Bulldogs lost junior defense­man Scott Czarnowczan in the process after being dumped in his own cor­ner. Trainers tested Czarnowczan for a con­cus­sion, but did not release word on the injury that night. Ferris men’s hockey head coach Bob Daniels listed him as doubt­ful for next weekend.

Ferris sopho­more for­ward Dom Panetta’s first career goal proved to be the game win­ner 11:41 into the sec­ond period.

Panetta received the puck near his bench and shot a knuck­le­ball of a puck through a crowd that found its way past Spartans’ fresh­man goal­tender Jake Hildebrand.

“I didn’t even know I had scored,” Panetta said. “I just saw it go in and won­dered if some­body tipped it. Then every­body came at me and I real­ized I scored.”

The weight off the shoul­der was no light one. Panetta had taken his lumps for his long goal drought.

“Well, I haven’t scored a goal in two years,” Panetta said. “So there’s quite a bit of pres­sure there. My team­mates are always in my ear about it, pok­ing fun. But now I don’t have to lis­ten to it anymore.”

The sweep was the sec­ond of the sea­son and first at home. Ferris’ first sweep this sea­son came against Bowling Green State in a November road series.

Sweeping the Spartans may prove to be a turn­ing point for the Bulldogs, as it allows Ferris to pull into first in the CCHA if they can man­age a sweep of Notre Dame next weekend.

“It’s really big; we have some really big games com­ing up with Notre Dame and Western Michigan com­ing in here the next week,” Daniels said. “You can move a lot in a week­end with a sweep.”

Meanwhile, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have mired through a 1–5 slump, which included being swept by the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks at home last weekend.

The Bulldogs were beat up against Michigan State, but they expect to receive a gift next week­end. Daniels listed junior right wing Justin DeMartino, sopho­more right wing and left wing Justin Buzzeo and senior cen­ter Matthew Kirzinger as prob­a­ble for next weekend’s road series.

The Irish still sit atop the CCHA, though they have com­piled just a 7−5−0 mark at home. The Bulldogs sit fourth behind Western Michigan as they pre­pare to head to South Bend for a crit­i­cal road series with the first-place Irish.

At 10−7−1 in the CCHA, the Bulldogs have an oppor­tu­nity to vault into first place with eight games to go if they can sweep the Irish.

In con­fer­ence play, Ferris sopho­more goal­tender CJ Motte leads in min­utes played and has posted a con­sis­tent 2.00 goals against aver­age, good for fifth in the con­fer­ence. His .938 save per­cent­age is third best in the CCHA.

This is where the Bulldogs have their biggest edge over the Irish. Notre Dame goal­tender Steven Summerhays is near the top in most cat­e­gories, but Motte has played over 250 more minutes.

Individually, Notre Dame has three play­ers in the top 10 in scor­ing, includ­ing New York Islanders’ draft pick and CCHA lead­ing goal scorer Anders Lee, who has nine goals this season.

Comparatively, Ferris State’s junior left wing Garrett Thompson is sec­ond in CCHA scor­ing with eight goals.

The Bulldogs have a 4–5-1-road record, which they’ll need to improve upon if they hope to stand atop the league in pur­suit of a sec­ond straight CCHA Championship.

The matchup should be close and hard-fought. The Bulldogs enter the week­end two points behind first-place Notre Dame.