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A part of Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) history now belongs to the Ferris State University men's ice hockey team as the Bulldogs registered a 2-2 overtime tie against nationally 16th-ranked Western Michigan this Saturday (Nov. 20) evening at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich., before falling 5-4 to the Broncos in what represents the league's highest-scoring shootout to date.
The shootout, which was Ferris State's third of this season, featured nine goals scored between the two West Michigan rivals and surpassed the four previous shootouts (3-2 scores). Prior to this shootout result, the Bulldogs were successful in their previous two this 2010-11 campaign with a 2-0 home decision over nationally-ranked Michigan (Oct. 29) and a 3-2 home victory versus top-ranked Miami (Nov. 6). FSU can also lay claim to being involved in the longest CCHA shootout which occurred last season (Nov. 14) on the road against Miami (Ohio) in which a combined 22 skaters participated in a 2-1 Bulldog triumph.
With the tie, Ferris State earned a league point as the Bulldogs claimed four of six points in the two-game set from Western Michigan. FSU is currently 6-5-3 overall with a 3-4-3-2 ledger in the CCHA while Western Michigan stands at 6-3-3 overall and 2-2-2-1 in league competition to date.
FSU appeared on its way to notching its third shootout win in as many such opportunities by connecting on its first two attempts as junior defensemen Chad Billins (Marysville) and Derek Graham (Schoolcraft) both scored lamplighters to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 edge in the three-round shootout. Following a miss by Ferris State on its third chance, Derek Roehl kept hopes alive for Western Michigan as he was able to slip the puck past the leg of FSU senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield), who was spreadout on the ice in an attempt to deny the visitors a tying marker. Both teams were successful on their fourth attempts and again on the sixth chance with sophomore right wing Matthew Kirizinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan) and Cory Kane (Irvine, Calif.) lighting the goal lamp for Ferris State, respectively. The Bulldogs' next shot attempt went wide to set up the stage for Western's Chase Balisy, who proceeded to skate in on Pat Nagle before firing the puck above the Bulldog netminder's left shoulder on his glove side for the deciding score.
Ferris State was on the verge of getting the brooms out for the series sweep, but it was not to be as Western Michigan tallied the equalizer with just 40.6 seconds remaining in regulation. The Broncos pulled their goaltender Nick Pisellini for an extra attacker and the move proved successful as Shane Berschbach scored from the slot near the left circle after teammate Danny DeKeyser's shot just inside the blueline deflected off a FSU skater. Berschbach wristed the puck to the near side past Pat Nagle's glove side.
Earlier in the third period, the Bulldogs snapped a 1-1 tie when freshman left wing Garrett Thompson (Traverse City) scored his second on the season at the 9:16 mark. Senior center Nate Hennig (Macomb) picked up a loose puck in the Ferris zone along the boards and skated toward the opposite end on the left side before sliding a centering pass from the bottom of the left circle over to Thompson, who was positioned just outside the crease on the opposite side of the WMU goal. The Bulldog forward, who would be selected as the contest's second star, put the puck into the Broncos' net near side past Pisellini's glove to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.
Western Michigan connected first as the Broncos' Chase Balisy scored 8:35 into the game to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. Kyle O'Kane backhanded a pass to a streaking Balisy, who reached out in the slot for the puck which hit off his stick right between the pads of Bulldog netminder Pat Nagle. WMU held its one-goal margin for the remainder of the first and virtually all of the second, except for one split second as Ferris State's Mike Fillinger netted his third goal of the season during a Bulldog man-advantage situation. With one-tenth of a second left in the second frame, Fillinger put in a rebound off Pisellini's pad to the near side to knot the score up at 1-1 as an official's review of the call was confirmed via video replay. The scoring play transpired as sophomore center Travis Ouellette (Windsor, Ontario) chased down the puck in the left corner and passed out to senior defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake) near the blueline. Wietecha fired a wrister toward the Broncos' goal high above the left circle which bounced off the Western goalie to Fillinger.
Ferris State, which was outshot 32-25 by Western Michigan, went one-of-three on the power play while the Broncos were denied all five of their chances.
Pat Nagle (6-4-3) turned away 30 shots in playing all 65 minutes while Nick Pisellini (5-2-3) made 23 saves in 64:53 minutes of action between the posts for Western Michigan.
The Bulldogs will now get set to take on the Michigan State Spartans this Tuesday, Nov. 23, in a CCHA tilt at MSU's Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich. The puck will drop at 7:08 p.m. (EST) for the contest which will be shown live by Comcast Television.