The 11th-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team continued their success in Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) play as five different skaters tallied a goal in propelling the Bulldogs to a 5-2 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this Saturday (Jan. 9) evening in a weekend league series opener between the two teams at UND's Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind.
With the win, Ferris State improves to 15-4-2 overall and 9-2-2-2 in CCHA action this season as the Bulldogs are now 10-1-2 in their last 13 appearances.
Scott Wietecha's goal gave Ferris State a 1-0 lead at 6:08 into the opening period play on a blast from above the left circle which sailed past Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson's glove side. Wietecha netted his first lamplighter of the season during a Bulldog five-on-three power-play advantage after taking a cross ice pass from junior defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City). Senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) also picked up an assist on the game's initial score. Junior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) turned in a solid first-period performance with some clutch saves as the FSU netminder stopped all nine Irish shots on goal.
Notre Dame would quickly even the score up at 1-1 as the Irish tallied 49 seconds into the second period on a rebound shot by Kevin Deeth. A slapshot from the point by Brett Blatchford caromed off Nagle to Deeth, who was positioned between the right circle and the crease. Deeth promptly directed the puck into the Ferris net to Nagle's glove side. However, the contest didn't remain tied for long as Ferris State regained its one-goal lead (2-1) when senior right wing Aaron Lewicki (Livonia) potted his sixth goal of the year with 14:23 left in the frame. Junior center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) took the puck into the Notre Dame zone and put a shot on Johnson from inside the right circle which hit off his pad to Lewicki, who was directly above the crease and netted the go-ahead score. The Bulldogs would tack on their second goal of the period and increase their advantage to 3-1 on a Zach Redmond tally, his fourth of the year, just 1:15 later proceeding the visitor's second marker midst an even-strength situation. Redmond produced his second point of the night with a shot from below the blueline after senior right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) won the faceoff. Notre Dame once again narrowed Ferris State's margin to a goal at 3-2 with 3:09 remaining as a result of Ian Cole's rocket shot from inside the right circle which Nagle never saw the puck.
Ferris State controlled play in the third period as the Bulldogs outshot the hosts by an11-3 margin while producing two more goals in building their lead to 5-2. Justin Menke lighted the lamp for his fifth goal of the campaign at the 8:58 mark as junior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) and Scott Wietecha both garnered an assist. The final score of the contest would come with 6:02 left in the game on Mike Embach's one-timer from the slot area off a faceoff pass by Aaron Lewicki.
Pat Nagle (6-2-1) earned the victory with an 18-saves performance while his counterpart, Mike Johnson totaled 26 stops in absorbing the loss for the Irish. Ferris State would conclude the contest by having a 31-20 shots on goal advantage. Both teams were one-of-four in power-play opportunities.
Ferris State and Notre Dame will square off again this Sunday (Jan. 10) in the series finale, beginning at 4:05 p.m. (EST) inside the Joyce Center at South Bend, Ind.