The nationally 19th-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team did something no other Bulldog team had ever accomplished against Michigan State in their all-time series as FSU registered its first shutout win in a 3-0 triumph this Tuesday (Nov. 23) in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) tilt at MSU's Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich.
Ferris State, which improves to 7-5-3 overall and 4-4-3-2 in CCHA action this season with the decision, was able to keep the Spartans off the scoreboard back in the 2000-01 campaign (Dec. 8) with a 0-0 overtime tie at Big Rapids, Mich. The two teams had skated against each other 107 times previously before this evening's notable accomplishment. The Bulldogs also won for the first time on the Spartans' ice since 2006 (Jan. 24) in a 2-1 triumph.
Michigan State lost for the third straight time as the Spartans drop to 4-6-3 and 2-6-1-0 in the CCHA this campaign.
Junior defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville) put Ferris State up 1-0 at 15:25 of the opening period with his third goal of the season. Senior center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) picked up a loose puck behind the Michigan State net and fed a backhanded pass between his legs to senior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.). The Bulldog forward put a shot on net which hit off Spartan goaltender Drew Palmisano and MSU tried to clear the puck out away from its goal. However, Billins intercepted the pass out and fired a shot from inside the left circle line over Palmisano's left shoulder. The Bulldogs would hold an 11-5 lead in shots for the first period.
Neither team was able to tally a lamplighter in the second period as both squad produced nine shots on net apiece. Ferris State received a golden opportunity to make the contest a two-goal affair but senior left wing Mike Fillinger (Grand Ledge) was denied by Palmisano on a clear breakaway attempt with a little over 13 minutes remaining in the frame. At the other end, senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) made several highlight reel stops in the period as part of his 27-saves on the night to keep the Spartans from tallying the equalizer.
The Bulldogs, despite being outshot 13-7 in the final 20 minutes of the game, were successful in increasing their lead to 2-0 as sophomore right wing Eric Alexander (Kentwood) netted his first lamplighter of the season on a shot between the crease and right circle area. Alexander, who would go on to score another on an empty-net goal with 43 seconds left to be played, chalked up his first career multi-goal game effort. Freshman defenseman Scott Czarnowczan (Macomb) along with sophomore center Travis Ouellette (Windsor, Ontario) picked up assists on Alexander's first tally and Mike Fillinger was credited with a helper on the empty netter.
For the game, Ferris State was unsuccessful on two power-play chances while Michigan State failed to made good on four man-advantage opportunities. Each team accumulated 27 shots on goal while Pat Nagle and Chad Billins claimed first and second stars of the game, respectively.
Ferris State is now idle until Dec. 3-4 when the Bulldogs will take on Michigan State in a home-and-home league series. Ferris hosts the Spartans on Friday, Dec. 3, in a 7:05 p.m. (EST) contest at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids and tickets may be purchased by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or online at www.startickets.com. The Bulldogs then visit Michigan State Saturday, Dec. 4, in a contest which will be televised live on FS Detroit, starting at 7:05 p.m. (EST).