Ouellette and Nelson Lift Bulldogs To Home-Opening Win

Cody Chupp (#8) and Taylor Nelson (#29) prevent a score during Friday's action versus Connecticut.
Cody Chupp (#8) and Taylor Nelson (#29) prevent a score during Friday's action versus Connecticut.

The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team received a pair of solid performances from underclassmen Travis Ouellette (Windsor, Ontario) and Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) as the Bulldogs skated to a 2-1 non-conference win over the Connecticut Huskies this Friday (Oct. 16) evening in FSU's 2009-10 home opner at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.

Ferris State improves to 2-1-0 overall this season as a result of the come-from-behind win on its home ice.

Connecticut, which was making its 2009-10 season debut, took a 1-0 lead with only 33 seconds remaining in the first period of play on right wing Daniel Naurato's first goal of the season.  Left wing Jim Gallahger gained control of the puck in the Bulldog defensive zone and was able to pass the puck over to center Sean Ambrosie, who skated behind the FSU net and directed the puck toward the slot area where Naurato fired a shot while falling down past Ferris netminder Taylor Nelson's stick side into the far corner of the Ferris State net.  

The Bulldogs, who were outshot 10-7 in the first 20 minutes, came back in the second period to register a 19-7 shots advantage while two of those resulting in goals.  Sophomore center Derek Graham (Schoolcraft) netted his first tally of the season at 3:34 into the frame with assists going to sophomore defenseman Michael Trebish (Yorkton, Saskatchewan) and freshman right wing Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskathewan).  The score remained knotted up for most of the stanza until Ferris State broke the tie with 1:31 to go during a power-play opportunity as freshman center Travis Ouellette deflected a shot from junior defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake) into the Huskies' goal for his second of the year.

Ferris State was able to withstand a UConn charge late in the third period as Nelson came up with some key saves, including preventing the game-tying goal with five seconds remaining on denial right in front of the Bulldog net.

Nelson would conclude the night with 26 saves, including 10 third-period stops, in picking up his second victory of the season.  Jeff Larson, who entered the game in midway through the second period as a result of an injury to starter Brad McInnis, was tagged with the loss despite a 24-saves performance.

Ferris State ended the game going one-of-seven on the power play while Connecticut was unable to convert in seven such chances.

The two teams will meet again this Saturday (Oct. 17) in the weekend series finale at 5:05 p.m. (EDT) in Big Rapids.  Tickets are available by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or via online at www.startickets.com

NOTES: The 2009-10 home opener was billed as "White-Out Night" in which all FSU students who were wearing white received free admission to the game . . . Freshman Matthew Kirzinger recorded his first collegiate point with a second assist of Ferris State's initial goal of the contest . . . Ferris State is now 5-0 against Connecticut in the all-time series between the two teams. . .  The Bulldogs' four freshmen - Matthew Kirzinger, Kyle Bonis, Eric Alexander, and Travis Ouellette have accounted for 35% (7-20) of the team's points production to date this campaign . . . FSU improved its record to 13-16-2 in home-opening contests with tonight's decision.