Two goals by sophomore Travis Ouellette (Windsor, Ontario) and a lamplighter by three other Ferris State University men's ice hockey team skaters helped propel the Bulldogs to a 5-2 non-league decision over the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers this Friday (Feb. 11) evening in a weekend series opener at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Ferris State captures its fourth straight victory as the Bulldogs improve to 15-12-4 overall this season to date. The three-goal win doesn't apply to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) standings as the Bulldogs remain fifth place with 38 league points and an 11-10-3-2 league mark.
FSU took a 2-0 lead in the first period on back-to-back goals by Travis Ouellette. The sophomore center scored his fourth of the season at 11:03 into the contest on a whirling shot inside the slot which went five hole through UAH goaltender Clarke Saunders' pads. Ouellete would strike again about four and half minutes later on a four-on-three Bulldog power-play advantage with his second of the game and fifth of this campaign by tallying from the left side area into the opposite side top shelf. Alabama-Huntsville would get one of the Ferris State goals back as the Chargers' Joey Koudys connected on a shot as the puck just made it thru between senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) and the right corner post of the FSU goal. Koudys posted his 10th of the season with 3:23 remaining in the opening frame after Ouellette had potted his goal 1:03 seconds earlier.
The contest remained a one-goal affair until late in the second when Ferris State produced consecutive goals within a two-minute span. Senior right wing Todd Pococke (Saginaw) recorded his second of the year with 2:37 to go in the period as his shot from above the left circle found its way into the Chargers' net to give the host Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. Then with 58 seconds remaining in the period, sophomore left wing Kyle Bonis (Lindsay, Ontario) skated into the UAH zone and fed a perfect cross ice pass from inside the right circle to fellow sophomore right wing Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan), who was driving hard to the Chargers' net. Kirzinger was alertly able to get a stick on the sliding puck while falling down to notch his sixth goal of the year as the Bulldogs would claim a 29-16 lead in shots through 40 minutes of play, which included a 16-7 margin in the second period.
Alabama-Huntsville, which drops to 4-25-4 overall with the loss to Ferris State and holds the current distinction of being the only independent in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey, would collect its second and final goal of the game with 15.9 seconds left in the second period on a goal by Mac Roy. The Chargers would fight an uphill battle the remainder of the way and would conclude the night being outshot 45-20 by the Bulldogs.
Senior defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake), who finished second only to Travis Ouellette in the three stars of the game, scored his second of the season and as many in his last two outings with a lamplighter at the 15:15 mark. Wietecha's one-timer midst a four-on-three FSU man-advantage situation from above the left circle earned him a multiple-point game performance.
The matchup between the two teams was a physical one as Ferris State was whistled seven times for 33 minutes in penalties while Alabama-Huntsville was assessed 16 minutes on eight penalties.
In goal, Pat Nagle (15-10-4) recorded 18 saves in a winning effort while Clarke Saunders (4-14-0) took the loss despite turned away 40 shots, including 15 in the third period.
Twelve different Ferris State skaters registered at least a point in the non-league triumph while Travis Ouellette, Scott Wietecha, and Zach Redmond all turned in multiple-point game efforts.
Ferris State will go up against Alabama-Huntsville again this Saturday (Feb. 12) in the series finale at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. (EST) and tickets for the non-league tilt can be purchased by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or ordering online at www.startickets.com.
Notes: The Bulldogs are 4-2-1 in non-conference games this season, which includes a 3-0-0 home mark . . . Scott Wietecha has scored a goal in FSU's last two games to date - at Alaska (Feb. 6) and versus Alabama-Huntsville (Feb. 11) . . . Pat Nagle, a 2010-11 Hobey Baker Award candidate, moved into a tie for second place on FSU's all-time wins leader list with his 42nd career victory (42-38-10) and equals Rob Hughston's (1981-84; 42-53-7) career victories output . . . Pat Nagle is 4-0-1 with a 1.38 goals-against average (seven goals allowed) and a .939 saves percentage (108 saves) in five non-league appearances this campaign . . . FSU improved to 8-4-3 at home this season with tonight's victory and is undefeated at home against Alabama-Huntsville in the five such matchups . . . The Bulldogs' 45 shots on goal this evening represents a season best, surpassing the team's 38 shots in this season's opener (Oct. 7) at Alabama-Huntsville . . . Senior center Nate Hennig (Macomb) received a game disqualification in the first period of tonight's contest and will be forced to sit out this Saturday's (Feb. 12) series finale versus the Chargers.