Five skaters tallied a goal for the nationally 11th- ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team as the Bulldogs produced a 5-1 win over Merrimack this Sunday (Jan. 3) evening to capture third-place honors at the 21st annual and final Badger Hockey Showdown Tournament at Wisconsin's Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.
Balanced scoring and solid goaltending were the keys for Ferris State as 12 players earned at least a point and junior Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) turned aside 23 Warrior shots in the contest while also garnering an assist. The victory improves the Bulldogs to 14-4-2 overall on the campaign as FSU is now 9-1-2 in its last 12 outings to date.
Senior right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) gave Ferris State the early lead as the Bulldog team captain opened the scoring 7:24 into the first period on a shot from above the right circle for his sixth goal of the season. His linemates, seniors Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) and Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.) each picked up an assist on the Chupp's goal. Riley gained possession of the puck behind the Merrimack net and skated into the right circle where he chipped a backhanded pass to Chupp, who fired a shot into the far corner of the Warriors' goal.
Blair Riley would extend the Ferris State advantage to 2-0 with 3:09 remaining in the opening frame on an unassisted tally, which marked his team-leading 15th of the season. Riley picked up a puck in the Merrimack zone and proceeded to skate around the back of the Warrior goal from left to right. The FSU left winger then backhanded a wrap-up around shot top shelf to MU netminder Joe Cannata's gloveside.
The Bulldogs pushed their lead to 3-0 at 2:35 into the second period when sophomore defenseman Aaron Schmit (Grafton, Wis.) tallied his first collegiate lamplighter on a shot from the inner hash marks of the right circle. A pair of freshmen, left wing Kyle Bonis (Lindsay, Ontario) and right wing Eric Alexander (Kentwood) both assisted on the FSU marker. Merrimack would get one back five minutes later to cut the Ferris lead to 3-1 as a result of an Adam Ross goal at the frame's 12:26 mark.
Ferris State would regain its three-goal margin (4-1) at 6:39 into the third period as junior center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) connected on a power-play goal. Menke's fourth of the year would come on a tap in front of the Merrimack goal as junior right wing Todd Pococke (Saginaw) and sophomore defenseman Brett Wysopal (LaGrange Park, Ill.) notched a helper. The final score would occur with 3:03 left in the game as junior defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) got into the scoring column with a wrister in the slot for his third of the season. Casey Haines along with Pat Nagle assisted on the late third-period insurance goal.
Casey Haines recorded his fourth multiple-point game performance of this season while Blair Riley notched his eighth such effort of the 2009-10 campaign.
Ferris State will resume Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) next weekend, Jan. 9-10, versus the nationally-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish at UND's Joyce Center in Notre Dame, Ind. The weekend league series opener gets underway Saturday (Jan. 9) evening at 7:05 p.m. (EST) before the two teams wrap up the two-game set on Sunday (Jan. 10) with the puck scheduled to drop at 4:05 p.m. (EST).
Notes: Ferris State won the third-place game in a holiday tournament for the second straight season after claiming third-place honors at Vermont's 13th annual Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup with a 2-1 shootout victory over Colgate after the two teams skated to a 3-3 overtime deadlock . . . Aaron Schmit, a Wisconsin native, netted his first collegiate goal with a second-period lamplighter . . . Blair Riley's squad-best 15th goal of this season represents a career single-season high, eclipsing his 14 lamplighters in 36 2007-08 contests. The goal also extended his current game points streak to eight with a combined 13 points (7-6=13) in that span . . . Ferris State improved to 9-1-2 in its last 12 contests as a result of the holiday tournament decision.