BIG RAPIDS — With Ferris State leading the Michigan hockey team 2-1 heading into the third period Saturday night, it looked like the curtain was about to come down on the Wolverines’ chance at a late-game rally and a weekend sweep.

It looked like last weekend against Alaska, when Michigan came from behind with a minute and a half remaining in regulation, before losing in a shootout to the Nanooks.

This high-pressure scenario was nothing new for the Wolverines (9-8-1-0 CCHA, 14-11-1 overall), who desperately need wins this late in the season if they want to finish in the top-four in the CCHA standings and secure a first-round playoff bye.

And at the 17:22 mark of the final frame, Michigan had its chance on the power play to net the equalizer.

Sophomore David Wohlberg wheeled a shot on net from the right corner, and senior Brian Lebler — who was stationed just outside the crease — was Mr. Johnny-on-the-spot as he got the outside part of his stick on the puck and redirected it into the net.

It looked like the Wolverines would head to overtime for the second time in just as many weekends.

But that’s when senior Steve Kampfer went to the box for holding, giving the Bulldogs a last-minute hoorah to grab the go-ahead goal. After a scramble in front of Hogan ensued, the puck slid into the low slot, and Bulldog forward Zach Redmond fired a wristshot that just squeaked past junior goaltender Bryan Hogan’s five-hole, sealing the 3-2 victory for Ferris State with 24 seconds left on the clock.

“Overall, we knew Ferris would bounce back after losing three in a row,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “It was heartbreaking for our team after battling back from a deficit, and we tie the game in the last minute and a half. Then we take a penalty — a senior defenseman takes a bad penalty late, and we can’t kill it. It’s a tough pill to swallow.”

The teams combined for 18 penalties, with Michigan being called for eight minors. Penalties have plagued the Wolverines all year, which is very uncharacteristic of Berenson-coached teams. And, once again, the penalties proved to be costly against the Bulldogs.

But it wasn’t just the penalties that hindered Michigan, considering the officiating was equal for each team. According to senior captain Chris Summers, the Wolverines lost many of the one-on-one battles all over the ice, which may have been the deciding factor in the team’s first regulation loss in six games.

“I thought we did a great job (Friday) of winning the battles and the races to the puck, but tonight we weren’t quite there,” Summers said. “And that’s just a mental ability, knowing that you’re going to out-will the person you’re playing against. Tonight, we didn’t have it and on those few chances, that was exposed.”

The previous night against the Bulldogs (11-5-2-2, 17-7-2) the Wolverines carried the play to the No. 9 team in the country. Michigan shut down Ferris State’s top line of Casey Haines, Blair Riley and Todd Pococke — who account for 35 percent of the Bulldogs’ total offense — and held all three off the score sheet.

Sophomore Luke Glendening grabbed two tallies for the Wolverines in their 2-0 win at Yost Ice Arena as Hogan netted his third shutout of the season. Michigan was whistled for just three minor penalties in the game, the difference between a possible weekend sweep and a disappointing split — losing three points in the process.

“Too many penalties — if there’s a game that’s well officiated one night, you can bet against it the next night,” Berenson said. “Or it’s going to be altogether different. I’m not blaming the officials, I just thought there were way too many penalties.”

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