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The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team came into this Thursday's (Jan. 27) matchup with Michigan State needing a victory to maintain a hold for fourth place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) standings and the Bulldogs were successful in a 2-1 win over the Spartans at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
The contest, which was televised live on FS Detroit, saw Ferris State get all of the scoring needed with a pair of first-period goals. Michigan State would tally its lone lamplighter with 4:59 remaining in the game to make the outcome in question right to the final horn.
Ferris State snapped a four-game losing streak with the win while improving its record to 12-12-4 overall and 9-10-3-2 in CCHA play. Michigan State drops to 10-13-4 overall and 6-11-2-0 in the league with the loss.
The Bulldogs wasted little time in striking first as junior center Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan) netted his fifth goal of the season just 2:32 into the opening period. Junior defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville) fed a pass up the ice from the Bulldogs' zone to Johnston, who outraced two Michigan State skaters and deked MSU goaltender Drew Palmisano for back-handing the puck into the Spartans' net for a 1-0 Ferris State lead.
Ferris State made it a two-goal advantage later in the first period as the Bulldogs were successful on a power play. Senior defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City), a candidate for Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player, registered his seventh goal of the season with 5:46 left in the frame. A Michigan State skater tried to clear along the boards, but junior defenseman Brett Wysopal (LaGrange Park, Ill.) was able to intercept the puck in the neutral zone. An alert Redmond picked up the puck by Wysopal's skate and skated into the Spartans' zone between two opponents and wristed a shot from inside the right circle past Palmisano into the far corner of the MSU goal.
The score remained 2-0 in favor of Ferris State up until the last five minutes to be played when Michigan State struck on the man advantage. MSU's Daultan Leveille tipped in the puck off a rebound at the 15:01 mark into the period. The Spartans, who outshot the Bulldogs 10-5 in the third period, were unsuccessful in several attempts to tally the equalizer as Ferris State held on for the victory to earn three points in the league standings and 32 for the season to date.
Senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) earned the win with 19 saves and was tabbed as the game's second star second only to teammate Zach Redmond. Nagle, who's also a Hobey Baker Award candidate, improved his season record to 12-10-4 in net. Drew Palmisano (7-12-3) made 27 stops for the Spartans, who converted one of six power plays while Ferris State was successful once in four such attempts.
Ferris State would claim a 29-20 lead in shots for the game as the Bulldogs captured victories in three of the four regular-season meetings between the two teams this 2010-11 campaign.
Ferris State is now idle until next weekend, Feb. 4-5, when the Bulldogs take on the Alaska Nanooks in a two-game CCHA series at Fairbanks, Alaska. Both games will begin at 11:05 p.m. (EST) from UA's Carlson Center.
Notes: Three of Ferris State's last five outings have been one-goal games . . . The Bulldogs are now 8-3-2 on the season when scoring first and 5-1-0 when leading after the opening period . . . Pat Nagle picked up his 12th win this season (12-10-4 record) which matches a career single-season high in victories established a season ago (12-10-3 mark) . . . Zach Redmond tallied his career-best tying third game-winning goal of the season in 22 contests with the deciding marker versus Michigan State. The Bulldog captain potted three game-winning lamplighters in 40 outings last season . . . This season's regular-season finale between the two in-state teams was televised by FS Detroit, which also aired the Dec. 4 game at MSU . . . Ferris State earned its first home win over the Spartans in the month of January as the Bulldogs are currently 1-5-0 in home encounters for the first month of a calendar year.