Todd Pococke (Saginaw) had his first two-goal game of his career and Zach Redmond (Traverse City) registered a goal to go with two assists as the nationally 12th-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team stretched its unbeaten streak to 10 straight as the Bulldogs tallied a 4-3 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) victory over Western Michigan this Saturday (Dec. 12) night at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Ferris State, which is now 8-0-2 in its last 10 outings, improved to 13-3-2 on the season and 8-2-2-2 in the CCHA. The Bulldogs presently compiled 28 points in league action this campaign. Moreover, FSU remained undefeated at home with its 11th consecutive decision to tie a school single-season record for most home wins in a row.
Pococke, a junior left wing, accounted for the contest's first two scores with a pair of first-period power-play lamplighters. Pococke netted his third of the year at 8:28 into the game off a rebound shot by senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia). The puck ricochet off a WMU player's skate which Pococke put in five hole. Zach Redmond, a junior defenseman, picked up the second assist after feeding a pass up to Riley, who skated into the Broncos' zone and proceeded to go from right to the left side.
FSU pushed its lead to 2-0 4:23 later when Pococke produced another power-play marker. Junior defenseman Scott Wietecha's (Wolverine Lake) shot from high in the slot area was tipped into the Western goal by Pococke. Redmond notched his second helper of the night on the tally. Ferris would strike again for the third time in the opening stanza with Redmond connecting on a power play opportunity. The Bulldog blueliner scored his second of the season with a shot from the slot which found its mark between the pads of Western Michigan goaltender Riley Gill. Scott Wietecha shot the puck from the right circle which hit off freshman center Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan) and went behind the WMU net. Senior right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) was able to gain control and put the puck out in front of the Bronco goal to Redmond as the hosts led 3-0 following the first 20 minutes of play.
Western Michigan would come back in the second period on back-to-back goals from J.J. Crew to shrink the Bulldogs' lead to 3-2. Crew redirected a shot for his first score at 9:59 on a power play and then slipped a shot from outside the crease thru sophomore goaltender Taylor Nelson's (Regina, Saskatchewan) pads for WMU's second goal with 1:30 left to go in the stanza.
Sophomore right wing Derek Graham (Schoolcraft) would account for what proved the game-winning goal early in the third period. The scoring play developed when senior defenseman Matt Case (Plymouth, Minn.) put the puck off the boards which Graham collected and skated down the right side of the rink from the Bulldogs' zone. Graham, who chalked up his second goal of this season, proceeded to fire a shot from the right side of net which went off Gill into the Western goal. However, the Broncos would get to within a goal (4-3) with 4:15 remaining in the contest as Cam Watson scored.
Ferris State, which outshot the Broncos 45-29 for the game, were able to hang on for the victory as Taylor Nelson (9-1-1) concluded with a 26-saves performance. Riley Gill turned away 41 shots for Western Michigan, which falls to 6-9-3 overall and 2-9-3-1 in league play as a result of the setback. FSU was productive on the power play, going three-of-eight while WMU converted one of five chances.
Ferris State is now idle until 2010 when the Bulldogs start off the New Year taking part in Wisconsin's 21st annual Badger Hockey Showdown (Jan. 2-3) at UW's Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. FSU, which claimed consecutive Badger Hockey Showdown championship titles in 2003 and 2004, will go up against the Yale Bulldogs in one semifinal-round matchup while host Wisconsin takes on Merrimack in the other semifinal tilt.
Notes: Ferris State's 13-3-2 record this 2009-10 season represents the program's best start since the 1979-80 campaign when the Bulldogs started out with a 14-4-0 mark. The school-record setting 2002-03 team, which posted a 31-10-1 overall ledger, was 13-5-0 in its initial 18 outings . . . Blair Riley extended his current points streak to six games with an assist in the contest and has totaled a combined 11 points (6-5=11) during that span . . . Todd Pococke's two-point (2-0=2) effort equalled his season-high, which was previously set in a 6-1 victory over Connecticut (10/17) on a goal and an assist . . . Ferris State has outshot its opponent in its last six contests to date (234 to 161) . . . The Bulldogs have outscored the opposition 37-16 during its current 10-game unbeaten streak, which includes a 16-8 second-period advantage and 11-5 in the third period . . . The unbeaten string represents Ferris State's longest since 2002-03 when the Bulldogs reeled off 12 straight victories (2/1/03-3/21/03).