Dog Days Are Over
Ferris State Falls Short On Power-Play Chances in Title Game Loss
by Avash Kalra/Staff Writer
TAMPA, Fla. After killing off every opposing power play in the NCAA tournament prior to the 2012 national championship game, Ferris State allowed a goal on Boston College's first man-advantage opportunity on Saturday night.
The goal, a Paul Carey deflection of a Brian Dumoulin shot that beat the Bulldogs' first team All-American netminder Taylor Nelson, would prove to be the game-winner as the Eagles won their third national championship since 2008 and their fifth in program history.
For Ferris, the significance of Carey's goal became magnified as the game proceeded. As every minute passed, urgency mounted as the Bulldogs failed to convert on their own power-play opportunities. Heading into the title game, Ferris State had converted successfully on 19.2 percent of its power plays.
But after two periods, while the Eagles were 1-for-1 on the man-advantage, the Bulldogs were 0-for-4.
"When they scored on theirs, it was a good play, and I thought we killed it fairly well up until the time they scored," said Ferris State's Bob Daniels, who reached his first title game at the end of his 20th year as head coach of the Bulldogs. "We weren't fretting about the penalty kill. The power play, we talked about, maybe if we had more time to prepare. But if you were going to score on BC, it was never going to be a beautiful goal. Because they don't allow that kind of time, the set-up time. It was going to have to be more of a quick strike goal.
"I did think we had a couple opportunities on the power play, but not as many as we would have liked. But again, that's just a credit to BC. I'm not sure anyone in the last two months has figured out how to solve that PK. And then when you do get a chance, [Parker] Milner's there in net."
Still, despite trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, the Bulldogs had another opportunity with an Eagle sitting in the penalty box. With Bill Arnold in the box for a roughing penalty, Ferris State had 1:36 to work with at the start of the third period, on a brand new sheet of ice with a 5-on-4 advantage.
And at the second intermission, understandably with the NCAA championship trophy still very much within reach, the Bulldogs talked strategy.
Said Daniels, "We talked about it. We thought the biggest part was just getting into the zone. We talked more about how to get in the zone and get possession of the puck because of the way they were forechecking. Almost always it seemed we had to dump it into their end. And so before we ever got a chance to set up, we wanted to get possession in their end. And they just made it really tough."
"We definitely didn't take advantage of the power plays," added senior forward and leading scorer Jordie Johnston. "In any game, that's going to kill you."
The numbers, as one would expect from the national champion Eagles after a dominant 19-game winning streak, were stacked heavily against Ferris State. Playing with the lead, BC was deadly all season — 21-1-0 when leading after the first period and an undefeated 25-0-1 when leading after two.
"They're so aggressive and they're so quick," said Daniels. "It's kind of a twofold problem for you. They're able to pressure you. Because of their speed, though, they're able to regroup really quickly. It doesn't give you an awful lot of time to set up. The other issue you have with them is on any turnover, they're look to score a goal. So even though you're on the power play, you've got to have your head up, too."
BC ended the season allowing just one power-play goal since the Beanpot championship game, a stretch of nearly 50 penalty kills.
In the end, missed opportunities for Ferris State contrasted with the converted chances by Boston College — from Carey's first period goal to freshman Johnny Gaudreau's brilliant third period rush that sealed BC's title.
Nevertheless, Daniels had no regrets after the most successful season in program history came to an end.
"I have zero regret about this, other than the fact that I would have liked to obviously get the title for the players," said Daniels. "But I have zero regrets in how they played and how they performed.
"Truthfully, I felt all our players played great tonight, and I'm exceedingly proud of each and every one of them."