The 13th nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team suffered perhaps its most difficult loss of this season as the Bulldogs gave up two goals to Lake Superior State in the final 48.2 seconds in a 4-3 setback this Friday (Feb. 12) in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) showdown at LSSU's Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The Bulldogs came into the series opener in need of a victory and for most of the contest it appeared FSU was well on its way of coming out on top. However, not only did Ferris State's two-goal lead evaporate in the third period but the Bulldogs regained the upper hand with 57.6 seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, FSU was unable to hold its 3-2 lead as the Lakers struck twice within a 13-second span as the game-winning goal came with 35.5 seconds left on Will Action's lamplighter.
FSU's winless streak is now at five as the Bulldogs fall to 17-10-4 overall and 11-8-4-3 in the CCHA. Lake Superior State improves to 15-11-5 overall and 10-10-3-2 in conference play as the Lakers are snapped a four-game winless skid.
Senior center Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.) gave Ferris State a lift by scoring the go-ahead goal with 57.6 seconds remaining in the contest on a rebound shot by senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia). The FSU forward fired the puck through traffic in front of the net which bounced off LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson out to Haines in the slot. Haines fired it back on the Lakers' net as the puck squirted past Mahoney-Wilson for his eight goal of the season. But, Lake Superior State quickly regrouped as Rick Schofield scored his second of the game with 48.2 seconds to go on a rush toward the Ferris State net. The referee initially ruled no goal as the net came off but the call was reversed following a video review. LSSU would then win a faceoff in the Ferris zone and Will Action blasted one high above the slot into the right side of the Bulldog goal past sophomore goaltender Taylor Nelson's (Regina, Saskatchewan) glove side for the winner.
Ferris State accounted for the contest's first score with just under five minutes remaining in the first period as a shot by junior left wing Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) from near the goal line deflected off the right side post to senior center Aaron Lewicki (Livonia), who potted his ninth goal of the season. Lewicki fired the puck past LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson from inside the near left side of the right circle during a Bulldog power-play opportunity. The Lakers were close to netting the equalizer about 30 seconds later but a shot by Simon Gysbers from high above the right circle clanked off the opposite post as Ferris State was able to preserve its 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of action. LSSU did manage hold a 10-8 lead in shots for the opening stanza.
The Bulldogs maintained their 1-0 lead until 1:26 left in the second period as the visitors converted another power-play chance. Junior defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) netted the second Ferris State goal and sixth of the year on a shot from just above the right circle which sailed past Wilson-Mahoney until the upper left corner of the Lakers' net. The scoring play transpired after Taylor Nelson left the puck by the Bulldog net for junior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.), who skated into the Lake Superior State zone before passing the puck to Redmond from inside the right circle's outer edge. Both Embach and Nelson received an assist with the Ferris State netminder's helper representing the first of his collegiate career.
The start of the third period saw Lake Superior State quickly cut Ferris State's two-goal lead to 2-1 as Rick Schofiled tallied on a backhander only 44 seconds into the frame off Steven Kaunisto's shot which went off Taylor Nelson's right pad. LSSU proceeded to draw into a 2-2 tie with 5:20 remaining as Domenoc Monardo scored on a wide-open net just outside the right side of the crease.
Taylor Nelson (9-3-3) made 25 saves in a losing performance while Brian Mahoney-Wilson (13-9-5) claimed the victory with a 28-saves effort.
Ferris State and Lake Superior State will battle one another again this Saturday (Feb. 13) evening in the finale of the weekend league series at Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. (EST).
Notes: Aaron Lewicki netted his fourth career goal against Lake Superior State and has compiled five points (4-1=5) in 10 series appearances . . . The Bulldogs have outshot the opposition in their last three outings (128-83), but have a 0-2-1 mark . . . Ten (4-6=10) of Casey Haines' 25 points this season have occurred in the third period . . . Taylor Nelson earned his first career assist in 35 appearances at FSU . . . Zach Redmond's power-play goal marked his team-leading 13th power-play point of this campaign . . . Ferris State is now winless in its last five appearances at LSSU with a 0-4-1 mark and hasn't won on the Lakers' ice since March 2, 2007 in a 4-3 overtime league first-round playoff decision.