The state of Michigan's top two teams squared off this Friday (Jan. 14) evening in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) showdown and nationally seventh-ranked Michigan overcame a two-goal deficit to register a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the 19th-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team at UM's Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The setback overshadowed a standout performance from senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield), who keep the Bulldogs in the contest with a season-high 37-saves performance. Nagle, a 2010-11 Hobey Baker Award candidate as the nation's top collegiate player, displayed his talents in front of 6,854 fans with double-digit stops apiece in all three periods.
With the setback, Ferris State is 11-9-4 overall on the season which includes an 8-7-3-2 CCHA ledger.
Ferris State accounted for the contest's first two scores, taking a 1-0 lead following the opening period of play. Freshman left wing Garrett Thompson (Traverse City) scored his fourth of the season on a backhanded shot to the right side of the Wolverine net off a deflection. Senior center Nate Hennig (Macomb) would claim an assist as his shot from the left circle went off UM goaltender Shawn Hunwick out to Thompson, who was battling for position with a Michigan skater just above the crease area. Junior right wing Aaron Schmit (Grafton, Wis.) also received a helper on the Thompson goal.
The Bulldogs would tally for the second time at 3:37 into the second period as a result of junior defenseman Chad Billins' (Marysville) goal on the power play. Billins netted his fifth of the season after taking a pass from freshman defenseman Scott Czarnowczan (Macomb) high above the circles and putting a shot on net from below the right circle dot. The puck found its way to the far corner of the Wolverines' goal to give Ferris State at 2-0 advantage. Nate Hennig chalked up his second assist of the night and was the lone Bulldog skater to record a multiple-point game effort.
However, Michigan would come back with three unanswered goals to claim a 3-2 lead after two periods. Lee Moffie tallied on a shot from high above the left circle to put the Wolverines on the scoreboard at the 5:42 mark and then 3:01 later, Brandon Burlon scored to tie the game at 2-2 on a wrist shot from near above the left circle. Chris Brown's goal with 1:02 remaining in the period on a put back off an initial stop by Bulldog netminder Pat Nagle gave the hosts a one-goal advantage thru 40 minutes of play. Michigan concluded the frame holding a 15-7 lead in shots on goal, which included 26-19 for the game at that point.
Michigan concluded the contest with a 40-31 shots on goal advantage. The Bulldogs converted one of two power plays while the Wolverines were unsuccessful on six man-advantage opportunities. For UM, goaltender Shawn Hunwick ended up with 29 stops as the Wolverines improve to 14-6-4 overall and 11-4-1-0 in the CCHA. Michigan continued its dominance over the Bulldogs at Yost with its ninth straight victory in the all-time series between the two in-state teams.
Ferris State will close out the weekend's CCHA home-and-home series this Saturday (Jan. 15) at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The puck will drop at 7:08 p.m. (EST) for the Comcast Television contest. A few tickets are still available for this top matchup in the CCHA by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or ordering online at www.startickets.com.The Bulldogs prevailed 2-0 in a three-round shootout following a 2-2 overtime tie in their most recent home appearance against the Wolverines back on Oct. 29.
Notes: The last four series meetings have been decided by one goal or less . . . Nate Hennig recorded two assists in the contest and upped his seasons points total to a team second-most 12 points (6-6=12) in 21 outings . . . Pat Nagle's 37 saves in the contest represented a season game-high, eclipsing his 36 stops in a 1-1 overtime tie versus top-ranked Miami (Ohio) earlier this campaign (Nov. 6) . . . Chad Billins, the game's third star, posted his 11th point (5-6=11) of this season in 24 outings with a power-play marker. Billins' 11 points equals his output from the previous two seasons - 2-9=11 in 2008-09 and 3-8=11 in 2009-10 . . . The game was televised live on the CBS College Sports Network . . . This Saturday's (Jan. 15) series finale at Ferris State will be aired live by Comcast Television and Bulldog hockey fans are encouraged to wear white as part of the "White Out" promotion.