A three-goal third-period output ended a scoreless affair up until that point as the nationally 12th-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team was able to extend its unbeaten streak to nine straight with a 3-0 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos this Friday (Dec. 11) night in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) home-and-home series opener at WMU's Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich.
The victory improves Ferris State's record to 12-3-2 overall and 7-2-2-2 in the CCHA to date this campaign. Furthermore, the Bulldogs are now 7-0-2 in their last nine encounters.
The contest was scoreless through the first two periods as Ferris State registered a 25-18 shots on goal lead, which included a 12-8 opening-frame advantage. The Bulldogs continued to apply the offensive pressure on WMU goaltender Riley Gill and would connect 19 seconds into the third period on a goal by senior center Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.). The game's initial score occurred with senior right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) gained possession of the puck on a Bronco turnover in FSU's zone and passed over to senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia), who fed a streaking Haines on the right side. Haines took the pass from Riley and fired the puck from above the right circle past Gill's gloveside into the near post.
Western Michigan received an opportunity to tally the equalizer midway through the third period but the Bulldogs' penalty-kill unit was able to overcome a five-on-three Broncos' power-play advantage. FSU would then notch an all-important second goal with 10:10 remaining in the contest as Blair Riley scored his team-leading 14th of the season on a breakaway as he deked Gill for the score. The Bulldogs would then strike for the third time just 1:33 later as junior Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) produced his third of the year on a shot from inside the left circle after taking a cross ice pass from sophomore Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan). Junior right wing Nate Hennig (Macomb) also earned a helper on the Ferris' lamplighter.
Junior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) chalked up the shutout win for the Bulldogs turning away all 22 shots on goal in improving his season mark to 4-2-1. Riley Gill took the loss for Western Michigan with a 34-saves night.
Ferris State posted a 37-22 shots on goal lead for the game, which featured a 12-4 lead in the final frame.
Ferris State will make its final appearance of 2009 this Saturday (Dec. 12), entertaining Western Michigan in the finale of this weekend's CCHA home-and-home series at Big Rapids, Mich. The puck will drop at 5:05 p.m. (EST) inside FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena and tickets may be purchased by calling the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.
Notes: Ferris State's top forward line of Blair Riley, Casey Haines, and Cody Chupp have combined for 50 points this season in 14 games. The line has compiled a 10-2-2 record . . . The Bulldogs have now posted a shutout for the second time in their last three outings after holding Nebraska-Omaha scoreless in a 2-0 win a week ago (Dec. 4) . . . In the nine-game unbeaten streak, Ferris State has outscored its opponent 33-13 in that stretch . . . FSU won for the fifth time in the last seven meetings against Western Michigan and is 5-1-1 in that span.