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Fast Start Propels Ferris State to Win 4-3 Over Michigan

CJ Motte gave up a goal to his younger brother Tyler, but got the last laugh in a 4-3 win
CJ Motte gave up a goal to his younger brother Tyler, but got the last laugh in a 4-3 win
Ferris State Athletics

There was a full and raucous crowd on hand at Ferris State's Ewigleben Arena, and they didn't have to wait long to make themselves heard . #9 Ferris State scored twice in the game's first 1:03 to jump out to an early lead on #8 Michigan. The Bulldogs would add another goal before the end of the first frame. The Wolverines would mount a comeback, but came up just short, losing 4-3 to the Bulldogs.

Kyle Schempp caught the Michigan defense on a line change and beat Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort just 27 seconds into the game. Following a turnover by the Michigan defense, Chad MacDonald extended the lead at the 1:03 mark to make it 2-0. Freshman Mitch Maloney would score his first career goal on a breakaway at 15:53 in the first period to send the Bulldogs to the locker room up three goals.

Michigan's comeback began early in the second period, when Tyler Motte tipped in a puck past his brother, Ferris State goalie CJ Motte to cut into Ferris State's lead. The Wolverines applied heavy pressure throughout the second period, and had multiple opportunities to bring the score within one goal.

The turning point in the game came late in the second period. Michigan had a quality opportunity to score while a power play, but Tyler Motte was robbed by his older brother, and Ferris State quickly transitioned up the ice and Chad MacDonald scored shorthanded, his second goal of the game, changing what potentially could have been a 3-2 game into a 4-1 lead for Ferris State.

Ferris State would need every bit of that three goal in the third period. Travis Lynch scored Michigan's second goal at 3:45 of the third period, and Evan Allen jammed home a rebound at 15:09 to cut Ferris State's lead to 4-3. The Wolverines would get a power play with 1:11 left in regulation, and would get a few chances to tie the game, including a nice shot by freshman Dylan Larkin from the slot that was turned away by Motte, but they could not find the tying goal, and Ferris State earned the huge non-conference win over a ranked opponent.

Notes:

-I said before the game that Ewigleben is an incredibly tough place to play, and they were good for the two early goals tonight. They had their team ready to go from the opening puck drop, while Michigan found themselves down two goals before they were even into the game.

-After building the big lead, Ferris State went into a defensive shell, and while that's not a terrible strategy with an above average goaltender like CJ Motte, holding a talented team like Michigan off the board for such a long time when you spend that much time in your own zone is extremely difficult. They really caught a break on that late second period Michigan power play that turned into a shorthanded goal, because I don't think they would have been able to park the bus and hang on with just three goals for the entire third period.

-It was a really impressive debut for Michigan freshman Zach Werenski. He was all over the ice, including really making his presence felt on the offensive end. Strangely, it looks like he'll get a lot more opportunity to show off his offensive skill set than he would have at the NTDP this year, which should only help raise his NHL Draft stock.

The bad news is that the rest of the Michigan defense looked plagued by the same problems that hurt them last year. The turnover on Ferris State's second goal was ugly, and a defenseman got beat one-on-one badly on the back-breaking fourth goal.