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The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team came into this Friday's (Nov. 5) weekend Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) series opener looking to knock off the nation's number-one ranked Miami (Ohio) RedHawks and the Bulldogs accomplished their mission as sophomore right wing Matthew Kirzinger's (Leroy, Saskatchewan) second-period goal was the difference in a 3-2 victory before a crowd of 1,396 fans at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Ferris State, which improves to 5-3-1 overall and 2-2-1-1 in the CCHA this season, earns three league points with the noteworthy victory. The Bulldogs are now 4-2-1 in their last seven outings to date. Miami, which occupies the top placing in all three major collegiate hockey polls this week, drops to 5-2-2 overall and the RedHawks are now 3-1-1-1 in CCHA action. With the setback, MU has its six-game unbeaten streak come to an end.
A season ago (Nov. 13), Ferris State also square off against number-one ranked Miami on the RedHawks' home ice and came away with a 1-0 shootout win following a 2-2 overtime tie in the series opener and then notched another shootout decision (2-1) in the finale as a league-record 22 skaters participated in the shootout after a 1-1 overtime deadlock.
Miami tallied the game's first goal at 3:06 into the contest as Andy Miele netted his fifth of the year off a rebound on a shot by Carter Camper which deflected off senior goaltender Pat Nagle's (Bloomfield) pads. Miele positioned on the left side of the goal promptly put the puck into the Bulldogs' goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The RedHawks held their one-goal advantage until a little over 10 minutes later when senior left wing Mike Fillinger (Grand Ledge) scored his first goal of the season with a short-handed lamplighter. Fillinger netted the goal at the 13:20 mark after senior defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake) cleared the puck in the FSU zone around the boards out to junior center Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan). The Bulldog skater outraced a Miami defender and picked up the puck in the neutral zone before attacking the RedHawks' net. Johnston's shot hit the cross bar and caromed off to Fillinger on the opposite left side and the Bulldog winger scored just inside the post before MU netminder Cody Reichard could recover.
Ferris State would proceed to take a 2-1 lead with 1:31 remaining in the opening 20 minutes of play as sophomore left wing Kyle Bonis (Lindsay, Ontario) registered his fourth goal of this season with a shot from inside the left circle. Senior center Nate Hennig (Macomb) won the faceoff and the puck lay momentarily still before an alert Bonis rushed into the circle and one-timed a shot which caught Cody Reichard by surprise.
Miami's Andy Miele struck for the second time with another goal, his sixth on the year, just outside the crease at 10:28 of the second period as the RedHawks pulled even with the Bulldogs at 2-2. But, Ferris State showed determination and perserverance as the Bulldogs bounced right back and tallied what proved to be the decisive score with 5:37 remaining in the second frame. FSU capitalized on Miami being two skaters down due to penalties and the Bulldogs made the most of the five-on-three opportunity with Matthew Kirzinger racking up his second lamplighter of the campaign. The scoring play developed as senior defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) passed the puck across to senior center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) on the left side, who carried the puck into the RedHawks' zone. Menke skated around the left circle near the goal line where he put a cross ice pass in front of the Miami net to Kirzinger, who fired a shot which appeared to hit off Cody Reichard's glove into the goal for the winning tally at 14:23.
In the third period, neither team was able to connect as both squads finished with five shots on goal apiece and the Bulldogs would prevail 22-18 for the game.
Pat Nagle (5-2-1) accumulated 19 saves, including eight second-period stops, to earn the victory while Cody Reichard (4-1-0), the 2009-10 CCHA Player of the Year, stopped 16 Bulldog shots on goal.
Following the game, Andy Miele was named the game's first star while a pair of Ferris State skaters, Matthew Kirzinger and Kyle Bonis, earned second and third star honors, respectively.
The two teams will faceoff again this Saturday (Nov. 6) in the series finale at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, starting at 7:05 p.m. (EDT). For tickets, please call (231) 591-2888 or order online at www.startickets.com.