The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team was able to get back on the winning track as the Bulldogs utilized a pair of short-handed goals to knock off nationally 16th-ranked Western Michgian, 3-1, this Friday (Nov. 19) evening in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) contest at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Ferris State, which improved to 6-5-2 overall and 3-4-2-2 in the CCHA with the league decision, will take on Western Michigan this Saturday (Nov. 20) at 7:05 p.m. (EST) in the weekend series finale at Big Rapids. Tickets are available by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or ordering online at www.startickets.com.
The Bulldogs continued to perform well in front of the home crowd by notching their fifth victory inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena this season to date. FSU also extended its current home unbeaten streak to four straight (2-0-2) with the win. Western Michigan had its three-game unbeaten string snapped as the Broncos fell to 6-3-2 overall and 2-2-1-0 in the CCHA with the setback.
Ferris State claimed the early 1-0 lead at 4:20 into the contest as senior Mike Fillinger (Grand Ledge) scored his second goal of the season albeit of the short-handed variety unassisted. Western Michigan turned the puck over in the neutral zone as a Bronco skater attempted to flip the puck to the bench side, but Fillinger alertly intercepted the pass and skated into the Broncos' zone before firing a shot toward the WMU goal from the top of the right circle. Fillinger's shot went into near corner of the opposition's net past the gloveside of Broncos' goaltender Nick Pisellini.
FSU was able to hold its slim advantage until 5:39 remaining in the second period when Chase Balisy potted his fourth goal of the year midst a Western Michigan power-play opportunity. Kyle O'Kane skated into the left circle within the Bulldogs' zone and put the puck over cross ice to Balisy, who was positioned on the right edge of the FSU goal crease for the equalizer.
The tie would last for only less than three minutes later as junior defenseman Brett Wysopal (LaGrange Park, Ill.) netted his first goal of the year with a successful wrist shot from the slot area. Sophomore right wing Eric Alexander (Kentwood), who would be denied twice from scoring in the contest with two shots hitting the crossbar, fired one of them from the left circle dot which caromed off the WMU goal crossbar into the far corner. Senior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) was able to track down the loose puck in the corner and fed a centering pass right on the money to Wysopal in the slot and the Bulldog defensemen promptly fired the puck to Pisellini's stick side to give Ferris a 2-1 lead after two periods of action.
Ferris State added an insurance goal in the third period with 11:52 remaining in the contest as Mike Embach tallied the Bulldogs' second short-handed lamplighter of the night. Embach registered his third goal on the season on a pass from senior center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) as the Bulldog forward put a shot on the Western net which was able to get through the inner left half of the goal to make it a 3-1 score.
Ferris State, which ended up outshooting Western Michigan 22-19 for the game, received a solid performance from senior Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) in net. The Bulldogs netminder would receive first star of the game recognition by stopping 18 of 19 shots faced in the encounter. His counterpart, Nick Pisellini concluded the game by turning away 19 FSU shots.
Mike Fillinger and Brett Wysopal were chosen as the second and third stars of the game for Ferris State, which spoiled the return of Bulldog alumnus Jeff Blashill in a Western Michigan head coaching capacity.