Jan. 5, 2013
Big Rapids, Mich -- - Michigan State fell to Ferris State on the road Saturday evening, 3-0, its second consecutive loss. Jake Hildebrand made 28 saves, allowing two or fewer goals for the 10th time in 12 starts. Winger Garrett Thompson scored twice in a four-minute span and added an empty netter in the final minute to record the hat trick.
MSU falls to 5-12-3 on the year, and is 4-9-1 in CCHA play. The Spartans have played a majority of their games on the road this season, and are 2-9-2 in games away from Munn Ice Arena.
The teams battled through more than 30 scoreless minutes to open play. Each team managed seven shots in the opening period. An opportunistic Ferris State team broke up the scoreless draw at 11:38 of the second period. With RJ Boyd in the box on a crosschecking call, the Bulldogs looked for a good chance on a rush. Hildebrand got tied up with his own defender and was tripped up in the crease, putting him down for the count Garrett Thompson made a heads-up play by from the right corner, putting the puck off a prone Hildebrand's back for the extra-man tally.
Thompson followed that with a breakaway tally at 15:17 to give the home team a 2-0 lead. Thompson took an outlet pass from Jason Binkley and powered over the blue line, barreling in on Hildebrand. His snipe found its target as the Winger potted his second of the game and eighth of the season.
The Spartans had their best chance of the period just after the second Ferris goal, when Chris Forfar put a nifty spin-move shot that just sailed over the crossbar. MSU had just seven shots in the frame compared to 16 for their hosts.
The Spartans looked good in the third period, buzzing in their offensive zone and playing an aggressive pace that saw them outshoot their hosts 9-2 over the first half of the period. Despite some good looks, Ferris goalie CJ Motte was on his game, turning away shot after shot as he pursued his third shootout of the season. Hildebrand headed for the bench with 80 seconds remaining in regulation in favor of an extra skater, but Motte denied the Spartans a goal and finished the game with 23 saves. Thompson finished his hat trick with an empty-net tally in the waning seconds, sending the Spartans to their fourth shutout against this season. Ferris State netminder CJ Motte was impressive in his own end, making 23 saves.
"What I'm unhappy about is some fundamental things ," explained head coach Tom Anastos in his post-game interview. "We have to hit the net when we have good shots. Their first goal was kind of lucky, but the second goal came on a chance the other way after we missed the net on a good scoring chance. You have to hit the net, and be ready to get second and third chances - we're not giving ourselves those opportunities to create offense."
MSU has won just one game since the Dec. 10 victory over Michigan - the Spartans have gone 1-7-2 since, the lone victory a 3-1 win at home over Ferris State on Dec. 15. Matt Berry had his four-game goal-scoring streak snapped in the shutout loss.
The Spartans, who have played just seven of their 20 games on the season at home this season, get just their second CCHA home weekend of the year when they host third-ranked Notre Dame next week.