Ferris State had an opportunity to gain a weekend Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) series split with league-leading Miami (Ohio), but the sixth-ranked Bulldog men's ice hockey team's comeback came up just short in a 5-4 loss to the RedHawks this Saturday (Jan. 16) at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Ferris State tallied two of the game's first three goals in the second period before second-ranked Miami went on a four-goal run to take a 5-2 lead just before the midway point of the third period. However, the Bulldogs chipped away at the three-goal deficit on back-to-back late third-period lamplighters to draw within a goal at 5-4 in the contest's final minute but had a low-percentage opportunity to net the equalizer with seconds left on the clock as time would expire.
The Bulldogs dropped their second straight decision and fell to 16-6-2 overall on the season which includes a 10-4-2-2 league mark. Miami improves to 15-4-5 overall and remains atop the CCHA standings with a 12-1-3-1 conference ledger.
Following a scoreless opening period which featured 10 shots on goal apiece, the next 20 minutes was a scoring race as both teams combined to produce six second-period scores.
Senior Matt Case (Plymouth, Minn.) put the homestanding Bulldogs on the board first as the defenseman recorded his second goal of the season at 8:54. Case was able to coralled the puck in the slot area and fired a shot while leaving his skates which proceeded to get past Miami goaltender Cody Reichard and give the Bulldogs the 1-0 lead. Miami would counter 20 seconds later on a Chris Wideman goal to even the count at 1-1.
Ferris State would regain its lead (2-1) just 14 seconds after the RedHawks' goal as junior left wing Mike Fillinger (Grand Ledge) registered his first of the campaign on a backhander just outside the left corner of the Miami goal off a rebound after senior right center Aaron Lewicki (Livonia) had fired on shot which deflected off a sprawling Reichard's pad. FSU maintained its one-goal cushion for about the next six minutes before the RedHawks netted their first of four consecutive goals, which featured three in less than a five-minute span against sophomore netminder and starter Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan).
Miami's Tommy Wingels potted a goal at the 15-minute mark on a shot from the left circle into the far corner of the Ferris goal to knot the contest up at 2-2. Then with 1:28 left in the second period, Jarold Palmer buried the puck on a Miami power-play to give the RedHawks a lead they would never relinquish. Less than a minute later, the visitors struck again as Alden Hirschfeld scored on a rebound to give Miami a 4-2 advantage going into the third period.
The initial eight minutes of the third period was quiet in terms of scoring before Miami would find the Bulldog net for the fourth straight time as Tommy Wingels lighted the lamp at the 8:15 mark for what eventually proved to be the game-winning marker. Despite trailing 5-2 at that point, the Bulldogs gave their fans a glimer of hope in a comeback attempt in the final 11:45 minutes of the game. Aaron Lewicki picked up his seventh goal of the season at 14:25 during a Bulldog power play with a poke in just outside the right side of the crease. Exactly five minutes later, Ferris pulled junior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) for the extra attacker and the move paid off as freshman right wing Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan) produced his seventh tally of this season to slice the Bulldogs' deficit to 5-4. FSU was unable to get any solid scoring chances in the time remaining in absorbing a defeat for the second straight night.
Taylor Nelson compiled 23 saves in the opening two periods before yielding to Pat Nagle (7-4-1), who took the loss and had 10 stops all in the third period. Cody Reichard (12-2-2)earned the win for Miami by totaling 29 saves in the contest, which included 13 in the second frame.
Ferris State has a home-and-home CCHA series with Michigan next weekend (Jan. 22-23), visiting the Wolverines on Friday (Jan. 22) in Ann Arbor, Mich., before returning home on Saturday (Jan. 23) to host Michigan at Big Rapids. Both contests will be televised live on CBS College Sports as the puck drops for each of those matchups at 8:05 p.m. (EST). For Ferris State hockey ticket information, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.