The Ferris State University men's ice hockey turned in one of the program's most dramatic finishes in recent history as the Bulldogs overcame a three-goal early third-period deficit to record a thrilling 6-5 overtime victory over Ohio State this Saturday (Nov. 21) night in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) series finale at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
As a result, Ferris State sweeps the two-game league set to earn six CCHA points and moves up into sole possession of third place in the standings with 16 conference points to date on the season.
Ferris State's game-winning goal with 21.9 seconds remaining in the extra session capped off the memorable comeback as senior center Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.) scored just above the crease on a pass from senior defenseman Matt Case (Plymouth, Minn.) from above the right circle. The puck bounced off Haines' back skate and went into the net which caught Ohio State goaltender Cal Heeter off guard as the OSU netminder was positioned tight to the near post.
The Bulldogs had trailed 5-2 early in the third period after Ohio State's Zac Dalpe scored his second goal of the contest at 2:45 into the stanza. While the prognosis of mounting a comeback to tie the game seemed highly remote at the time, Ferris State gradually chipped away at the Buckeyes' lead and tallied the equalizer with 50.3 seconds left on the clock in regulation as senior right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) netted his second goal of the night on his second power-play tally. A shot from senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) from the left circle rebounded out to Chupp who quickly backhanded the puck into the near post for the equalizer.
The contest started out with Ohio State dominating the first period with a pair of scores to take a 2-0 after the opening frame. The Buckeyes would proceed to go up 3-0 early in the second on Sergio Somma's second straight lamplighter. Ferris State would get one back at 8:54 when junior left wing Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) scored his third goal of the season with a shot on the right doorstep of the OSU net to the near post to make it 3-1. However, Ohio State would counter a minute later on a Zac Dalpe goal to get the visitors back to a three-goal lead (4-1).
A goal by freshman center Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan), his fifth of the year, during a delayed penalty advantage for the Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 4-2. Kirzinger would score at 12:31 of the second period on a one-timer from the left corner after taking a Matt Case pass from above the circles.
The third period, which like the preceeding frame featured a combined four goals, began with the Buckeyes increasing their lead back to three goals (5-2) on a Zac Dalpe score early in the stanza. FSU would bite back three minutes elapsed as Cody Chupp produced a power-play goal with a whirling shot from inside the right circle which found its mark to make the score 5-3. Chupp, who scored his third goal of the year on the marker, would then assist on the Bulldogs' next goal at 11:47 when Blair Riley put in a backhander from the inside portion of the right circle as the two almost collided going for the loose puck.
Junior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) started for Ferris State and went the first 23:33 minutes of action before yielding to sophomore Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan), who was in net for the duration. Nagle posted seven stops, all in the first period, while Nelson picked up the win (6-1-1) with 14 saves.
For the Bulldogs, Cody Chupp and sophomore defenseman Brett Wysopal (LaGrange Park, Ill.) both turned in three-point outings. Junior defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake) along with Casey Haines, Matt Case, Blair Riley, and Matthew Kirzinger all generated two points apiece.
Ferris State outgunned Ohio State by a 43-to-26 margin in shots on goal for the contest and also went four-of-six in power-play opportunties.
The win improves Ferris State to 9-3-2 overall and 4-2-2-2 in the CCHA as the Bulldogs not only not only extend their unbeaten streak to six straight (4-0-2), but also improved their home record to 8-0-0 on the season.
Ferris State is now idle until Dec. 4-5 when the Bulldogs resume their current league homestand against the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in Big Rapids. The two-game series will be conducted at the Ewigleben Ice Arena and tickets may be purchased by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.