The winning ways for the Ferris State University men's ice hockey team continue as the Bulldogs won their fifth game in a row with a resounding 5-1 victory against the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers this Saturday (Feb. 12) night in a weekend non-league series finale contest at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Keying the Ferris State win were senior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.), who scored a pair of short-handed goals and had an assist, along with sophomore center Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan). Kirzinger assisted on three Bulldog lamplighters as Ferris State now has assembled a 16-12-4 overall record to date this campaign.
The Bulldogs' present five-game winning streak is the longest since a season ago when the 2009-10 squad reeled off six consecutive wins from Nov. 20 to Dec. 12.
Alabama-Huntsville, which was making its final appearance of this season, tallied the contest's initial goal as Tom Durnie converted with 1:02 remaining in the first period of play on a Chargers' power-play situation. Durnie's one-timer found its way between senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) and the right goal post to give the visitors a 1-0 lead going into the next period.
The second period featured three unaswered Ferris State goals as senior left wing Mike Fillinger (Grand Ledge), junior right wing Aaron Schmit (Grafton, Wis.), and Mike Embach all connected for the Bulldogs. Fillinger was able to tie the game at 1-1 with his seventh of the season coming at 4:58 into the second period on a nifty back-handed shot in front of the crease as sophomore right wing Eric Alexander (Kentwood) and Kirzinger both netted an assist. The game-winner would come a little over three minutes later when Aaron Schmit potted his fourth of the year on a shot from the left side of the UAH goal after sophomore left wing Kyle Bonis' (Lindsay, Ontario) wraparound attempt from the opposite side bounced off Charger netminder John Griggs' pad and skipped over to an opportunistic Schmit, who directed the puck into the visiting team's net.
Ferris State extended its lead to 3-1 when Mike Embach tallied a short-handed goal with 4:20 remaining in the period, which represented his sixth marker of this season. Matthew Kirzinger set up the play by taking the puck into the UAH zone on a two-and-one and then backhanding a pass over to a trailing Embach, who put a shot top shelf on the right side of the Charger net.
The Bulldogs continued their offensive onslaught in the third period with two more lamplighters, the first coming at 5:39 when junior center Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan) chalked up his sixth of the season on a blast from above the left circle which sailed into the upper right corner of the Alabama-Huntsville goal to make it a 4-1 contest. Mike Embach, who assisted on the prior goal, was on the receiving end for the second time during a Ferris short-handed situation and produced his seventh goal of the campaign with a shot from outside the crease on a Matthew Kirzinger helper to give FSU a four-goal advantage with 2:51 remaining and the eventual decision. Embach and Kirzinger would claim first and second star of the game recognition, respectively as the Bulldogs would post a 31-24 lead in shots.
In goal, Pat Nagle (16-10-4) turned in a another commendable performance with 23 saves in the complete-game win while John Griggs (0-8-1) turned away 26 shots in absorbing the defeat.
The series finale was yet another physical one between the two teams as a total of 18 penalties for a combined 69 minutes was assessed.
Ferris State will now gear up for a two-game Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) matchup versus the nationally-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish this upcoming weekend, Feb. 18-19, at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids. Both league encounters will start at 7:05 p.m. (EST) in what represents the final regular-season home appearances for the Bulldogs this 2010-11 season. Tickets for both games are currently on sale by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or ordering online at www.startickets.com. This Saturday's (Feb. 19) regular-season home finale will be Bulldog Hockey Senior Night as the 2010-11 squad pays tribute to its eight senior student-athletes.
Notes: Nine different Ferris State skaters tallied at least a point highlighted by four different goal scorers . . . Mike Fillinger has a current four-game point string with a combined four points (2-2=4) in that span . . . Matthew Kirzinger's three points (all assists) marked a career game-high . . . Eric Alexander extended his points streak to four games with an assist and has five points (1-4=5) in those four outings. He will be required to sit out this Friday's (Feb. 18) game against Notre Dame as a result of receiving a game disqualification in the third period . . . Mike Fillinger's goal was his 12th point this season (7-5=12) in 28 encounters and the forward is one shy of matching his career season-best 13 points (9-4=13) set in 31 games in the 2007-08 campaign . . . Ferris State has scored five goals or more against Alabama-Huntsville five of the nine series meetings between the two schools and currently holds a 7-2-0 all-time series advantage.