The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team turned in arguably their top performance of this season as the Bulldogs skated to a 2-2 overtime tie against nationally top-ranked Miami (Ohio) before going on to win the shootout (1-0) this Friday (Nov. 13) evening in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) series opener before a near sold-out crowd of 3,332 fans at MU's Steve Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio.
Ferris State, which is now 7-3-1 overall and 2-2-1-1 in CCHA action to date, won the three-player shootout as junior defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) scored the only goal for either team. As a result, the Bulldogs earned a league point with the overtime tie and another by winning the shootout. The contest will officially be noted as a tie per NCAA rules.
The game was scoreless for the first 20 minutes as both teams combined for 19 shots on goal, but outstanding play by sophomore goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) - and a little puck luck as well - kept Miami off the board.
Ferris State broke the scoreless tie just 1:50 into the second period as senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) skated up the ice on a fast break and wristed a shot from the front of right faceoff circle which beat Miami goalie Cody Reichard. Zach Redmond chalked up his seventh assist on Riley's team-best seventh goal of the season by intercepting a Miami pass in the neutral zone and threading a cross-ice pass to Riley. The Bulldogs continued to control the play through the first 10-plus minutes of the period, but the RedHawks continued to probe offensively with numerous shots on Nelson, who denied every one with some highlight-reel stops. However, Miami would score the equalizer with only 1.3 seconds remaining in the stanza as the RedHawks' Joe Hartman scored on a short-hander with a slap shot near the blueline. The scoring play developed as Andy Miele stole the puck at the opposite blueline and skated up on the left side where he turned and flipped the puck over to Hartman.
The contest stayed tied at 1-1 until 4:38 left in regulation as Miami tallied the go-ahead goal as Curtis McKenzie tipped the puck into the Ferris State goal out in front of the crease area. The RedHawks appeared to have the game in hand, but that was before Blair Riley struck again for the Bulldogs with his second lamplighter of the contest and eighth of the year with 23.3 remaining on the board. Senior Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) recorded an assist on Riley's marker, who tapped the puck in five-hole off a scrum in front of the RedHawk net.
The Bulldogs had opportune chances in the five-minute overtime but were unable to convert as the teams proceeded to the three-player shootout. Miami lead Ferris State in shots on goal with a 32-to-21 advantage for the 65 minutes of action, which included a combined 21-14 lead in shots for the first two periods.
In the shootout, Taylor Nelson made pad saves on all three RedHawks' attempts while Ferris State was successful on its first opportunity as Zach Redmond wristed the puck above the Cody Reichard's glove right top shelf . Redmond's decisive goal, which represented FSU's lone one of the shootout, gave the Bulldogs two additional points in the CCHA standings.
Taylor Nelson (5-1-1), who received the game's third star, totaled 30 saves on the night in 64:35 minutes between the posts. Cody Reichard stopped 19 shots for the RedHawks, who are 8-1-2 overall and 5-1-1-0 in CCHA play.
The teams will meet again this Saturday (Nov. 14) evening at MU's Steve Cady Arena in Oxford. Gametime for the weekend league series finale tilt is slated for 7:05 p.m. (EST).
Notes: Blair Riley's eight goals this season in 11 games exceeds his seven-goals output in 37 contests a season ago . . . The Bulldogs are now 3-0-2 in their last five meetings against Miami. FSU skated to a 2-2 overtime tie at Miami last season (11/7) in the two-game set opener before falling 1-0 in a shootout . . . Ferris improved its record to 10-5-4 overall in November meetings against Miami, which includes a 6-3-2 road mark . . . Blair Riley has recorded at least a point in five outings this season with four of those being multiple-point game performances. He has tallied two goals in a contest on three occasions this season to date . . . The game was televised by the Ohio News Network (ONN) and shown on the NHL Network.