The nationally 13th-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team moved into a tie for second place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) standings as the Bulldogs snapped their five-game winless streak with an exciting 2-1 triumph over Lake Superior State this Saturday (Feb. 13) night at LSSU's Taffy Abel Arena in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The victory gives Ferris State 43 league points in the CCHA as the Bulldogs improve to 18-10-4 overall and 12-8-4-3 in the league with the decision. FSU also moves into a tie with Michigan State for second place in the CCHA standings as the Spartans were idle this weekend.
Ferris State scored the contest's first two goals with junior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) and senior center Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.) lighting the lamp for the Bulldogs while junior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) came up with some huge stops down the stretch to preserve the win.
The opening 20 minutes of action were scoreless as Lake Superior State ended the stanza maintaining a 10-9 edge in shots. The first period was well played on both ends with only one penalty called and both netminders made some key stops.
Mike Embach, who was making an appearance on Ferris State's top forward line, put the Bulldogs on the board first with 6:05 remaining in the second period. Embach tallied in the slot on a back-handed shot while falling to the ice as the puck beat LSSU goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson's glove side for this sixth goal of the season. Senior defenseman Matt Case (Plymouth, Minnesota) helped set up the power-play score with a shot from above the right circle which caromed off the pads of Mahoney-Wilson to an opportunistic Embach. Senior right wing Aaron Lewicki (Livonia) also had a hand in the power-play score with a cross ice pass up to Case.
Ferris State would quickly increase its lead to 2-0 just 58 seconds into the third period as Casey Haines netted his ninth of the season and second of the series en route to earning first star of the game kudos. Senior left wing Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) notched his team-leading 31st point of the campaign on assist while sophomore defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville) also picked up a helper. Riley gained possession of the puck in the neutral zone and fired a shot below the left circle dot on Mahoney-Wilson, who came out to contend the shot. The shot rebounded of the LSSU goaltender and Casey Haines rushed the net to put in the rebound for what proved to be the game winner. Lake Superior State would gain one back on a power-play lamplighter of its own as Will Acton scored from between the left circle and the crease on a nifty back-handed feed pass thru just above the shaded area from John Scrymgeour at 4:45 of the period. The final two minutes of the third period were certainly climatic as LSSU appeared to score the equalizer with 1:59 remaining in the game but the referee quickly waved at off and video review reinforced the call of the puck not crossing the goal line. Then with 1:48 to go, the Bulldogs were whistled for a penalty by sophomore defenseman Brett Wysopal (LaGrange Park, Ill.) to put the Lakers on the power play for the remainder. LSSU pulled its netminder for the extra attacker and had several solid scoring chances in the final minute.
Ferris State concluded the game with a 30-25 shots advantage. Brian Mahoney-Wilson (13-10-5) ended the contest with 28 saves and Pat Nagle (9-7-1), the game's second star, turned away 24 Laker shots.
Next on tap for Ferris State is a two-game home-and-home league set versus the nationally-ranked Michigan State Spartans next weekend, Feb. 19-20. The Bulldogs open the series hosting MSU on Friday (Feb. 19) at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich., starting at 7:05 p.m. (EST). The two in-state teams will face off again on Saturday (Feb. 20), but this time at MSU's Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich. The opening puck drop is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. (EST). Ticket information for the Bulldogs' two remaining 2009-10 regular-season home games is available by calling the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.