The 2009-10 Ferris State University men's ice hockey team won their fifth contest of the season and are off to the program's best start since the 2002-03 campaign following a 4-1 non-league win over Robert Morris Saturday (Oct. 24) evening at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Ferris State, which has now won its past four contests to date, improves to 5-1-0 overall on the season with the decision.
The Bulldogs netted the game's first goal at 8:22 of the second period. Junior right wing Todd Pococke (Saginaw) netted his second of the season after taking a pass from senior defenseman Matt Case (Plymouth, Minn.) and wristing the puck past Robert Morris' goaltender Eric Levine. However, the Colonials would draw into a 1-1 tie only 23 seconds later as Scott Kobialko tallied on an odd-man rush.
Both teams remained deadlocked, but only for 1:12 later as junior center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) chalked up his first goal of the year on an assist from junior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.). The Bulldogs would increase their lead to two goals with 7:28 left to go in the second period as a result of sophomore center Derek Graham (Schoolcraft) slipping a pass up and across the ice to freshman left Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan), who took the pass just inside the blueline and skated hard to the net where he was able to put the puck into the right side of the net for his second of the year. The Bulldog forward would go on to receive second star of the game recognition.
The final two-plus minutes of the contest saw Robert Morris alternate pulling its goaltender for the extra attacker and Ferris State was able to capitalize with 22 seconds remaining when senior right wing Aaron Lewicki (Livonia) put the game out of reach as he took a Mike Embach feed and pitched in an empty net goal.
Junior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) earned the decision in improving to 2-1-0 overall on the year after stopping 18 of 19 Robert Morris shots to garner the game's first star. Eric Levine, who was making his season debut, had a busy night for the Colonials as he racked up 48 saves, including 20 second-period stops, in 58:05 minutes between the posts.
Derek Graham and Mike Embach both registered multiple-point games for Ferris State, which would claim a decisive 52-19 shots on goal advantage for the contest. The Bulldogs outshot the visitors in all three frames, which included a 23-6 margin in the second 20 minutes of action.
Ferris State remained perfect at home this season to date at 4-0 as the Bulldogs' overall record is the program's best since the historic 2002-03 campaign when FSU won eight of its first nine outings en route to a school-record 31-10-1 season.
Ferris State will seek to continue its winning ways next weekend, Oct. 30-31, as the Bulldogs make the trek to Fairbanks, Alaska for their Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) opening series. FSU and the Alaska Nanooks will meet twice in a two-game set with opening faceoff scheduled for 11:05 p.m. (EDT) both nights.
NOTES: FSU's 5-1-0 record to start this season represents the program's best since the 2002-03 season in which the Bulldogs compiled a school-record 31-10-1 overall mark . . . The FSU Blueline Club's Power Play For Cancer was held in conjunction with the contest with all proceeds going toward the purchase of a digital mammography machine. FSU players had the pink cancer ribbon patch displayed on their helmets while various members of the hockey staff donned the pink ribbon . . . Ferris State outshot Robert Morris 99-47 in the series . . . Senior defenseman Matt Case extended his current point streak to three straight (1-3=4) with a helper in the contest . . . The Bulldogs have chalked up 62 team points, including 22 goals, in their first six contests this season. A season ago in its initial six encounters, FSU accumulated 53 points with 20 coming on lamplighters.