The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team hoped for a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) series split with Northern Michigan coming into this Saturday's (Jan. 22) matchup, but the Wildcats received solid goaltending and timely goals to complete the sweep with a 3-1 decision over the Bulldogs at NMU's Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.
With the loss, Ferris State drops to 11-12-4 overall and 8-10-3-2 in the CCHA this campaign while Northern Michigan improves its overall record to 11-11-4 overall and 9-7-2-0 in league play. The Bulldogs dominated most of the contest but the outcome would not end in their favor as Ferris State dropped its fourth consecutive game to date. Although the result was disappointing, the play of the Bulldogs was encouraging after FSU suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to the Wildcats in Friday's (Jan. 21) series opener.
The Bulldogs would trail 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes of action as a result of Northern Michigan goals by Andrew Cherniwchan and Justin Florek. Cherniwchan netted a lamplighter at the 13:03 mark of the first on a back-handed shot off a rebound for the contest's intial score. The Wildcats would quickly add to their lead as Justin Florek tallied 3:11 later after FSU senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) came out of the net to play the puck between the circles but Florek's shot beat the netminder. Ferris State, which trailed 12-11 in shots for the first frame, did manage to create a number of scoring opportunities but was unable to convert on those chances.
Ferris State would cut its two-goal deficit into half early in the second period as junior right wing Aaron Schmit (Grafton, Wis.) converted for his third goal of the season on a blast from inside the left circle. Schmit was able to strip the puck from a Wildcat skater within the circle in the host's zone and put one into the far right corner of the NMU net for the unassisted marker at 4:32 into the stanza. The Bulldogs, who would claim a commanding 12-1 shots on goal advantage in the second frame alone, continue to generate several chances to net the equalizer but were thwarted as Northern Michigan goalie Reid Ellingson denied Ferris State each time.
In the third period, Ferris State continued to apply offensive pressure as the Bulldogs would hold a 10-5 edge in shots and ended up with a 33 to 18 lead for the game. Northern Michigan would net its third score of the game with 1:49 remaining as Wade Epp was credited with a goal as the puck deflected off a Bulldog skater's glove for the final margin. A key to the Wildcats' win was the performance of Reid Ellingson (7=7-2), who turned aside 32 shots while Pat Nagle (11-10-4) stopped 15 shots for the Bulldogs in the loss.
Ferris State returns to the ice this Thursday (Jan. 27) evening as the Bulldogs host the Michigan State Spartans in a CCHA contest at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The puck will drop at 7:35 p.m. (EST) and fans have a special BOGO (Buy One, Get One) opportunity in which one adult ticket may be purchased for the regular price of $16 and the second ticket is free of charge. This ticket offer is only redeemable by visiting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office. For more information, please call (231) 591-2888. This offer isn't redeemable online or on the day of the game. Also offer not valid for previous sales.
Notes: Pat Nagle is 24 saves shy of tying Craig Lisko (1989-93; 2,165 career saves) for fifth place among Ferris State's all-time saves leaders. Nagle has currently accumulated 2,141 stops in 89 career appearances for a 24.1 saves per outing average . . . The Bulldogs are 0-4-1 in their last five meetings against Northern Michigan . . . Ferris State has posted 30 shots on goal or more in a game 11 times this season, which includes three of its last four contests . . . FSU has been outscored 22-12 in the first period this season but has outshot its opponent 257-206 in the opening 20 minute of action . . . Aaron Schmit has netted a goal in three of the last four games in which the forward has registered a point.