Ferris State Posts 3-1 Victory Over Western Michigan In CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal Opener

Senior Pat Nagle, a 2010-11 CCHA First-Team selection, made 31 saves in Friday's 3-1 triumph at Western Michigan in a CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round Series opener.
Senior Pat Nagle, a 2010-11 CCHA First-Team selection, made 31 saves in Friday's 3-1 triumph at Western Michigan in a CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round Series opener.

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The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team took its first step toward a second consecutive trip to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Championships with a 3-1 game-one victory over Western Michigan this Friday (March 11) evening in a CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round series matchup in Kalamazoo, Mich., as senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) made 31 saves and sophomore center Travis Ouellette (Windsor, Ontario) tallied a pair of goals.

Ferris State, the tournament's fifth seed, improved its overall record to 18-14-5 while fourth-seed Western Michigan falls to 16-11-10 overall on the season.  The Bulldogs are now one win away from clinching the best-of-three second-round tourney series and punching their ticket to the CCHA Championships next weekend (March 18-19) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich., for the second year in a row. 

The first 8:29 of the contest before a crowd of 2,660 fans at WMU's Lawson Ice Arena was scoreless until freshman center Cory Kane (Irvine, Calif.) fired a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle which went top shelf, short side over Western Michigan goaltender Jerry Kuhn's shoulder to give Ferris State a 1-0 lead.  Senior defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake) would pick up his first of two assists on the night with a helper on the Kane goal, which occurred at the 11:31 mark.

Western Michigan would tie the game up at 1-1 in the second period with their lone score of the night at 5:21 into the frame.  Mike Leone found the Bulldog net with a shot from above the slot which sailed above Pat Nagle's right shoulder for the equalizer.  

The final two scores belonged exclusively to Ferris State, thanks to a pair of back-to-back lamplighters by Travis Ouellette.  The Bulldog forward would record his seventh goal of the season on a Ferris State power-play opportunity with a nifty backhanded shot between the left goal post and Jerry Kuhn's pad off of junior defenseman Brett Wysopal's (LaGrange Park, Ill.) rebound shot with 3:30 remaining in the second period.  Scott Wietecha also had a hand in the Ferris goal with his second helper of the game and would register his second point of the evening.

Travis Ouellette's empty-net lamplighter in the third period, his eighth goal of this campaign, secured the Bulldog win with 39 seconds remaining to be played in the game. 

For the contest, Western Michigan outshot Ferris 32-29 and was unsuccessful in four man-advantage opportunities while the Bulldogs converted one of three power-play chances.  WMU netminder Jerry Kuhn (9-6-6) totaled 26 saves, including 11 second-period stops, in the loss.      

Pat Nagle (18-12-5) was chosen as the first star of the game while Travis Ouellette earned the contest's second star for their noteworthy performances.  Nagle, a 2010-11 CCHA First-Team pick and a finalist for the 2010-11 CCHA RBC Player of the Year Award, stopped 13 shots in the second period and 10 more in the third.

Ferris State and Western Michigan will face off again this Saturday (March 12) in the second game of their CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round series, starting at 7:05 p.m. (EST) in Kalamazoo, Mich.  The Bulldogs can claim the tourney-elimination series with a win and advance to the 2011 CCHA Championship Semifinals next Friday, March 18, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.

Notes: Travis Ouellette has recorded three consecutive two-point game outings to date after his two goals at Western Michigan.  He has generated a combined six points (3-3=6) during that span . . . The Bulldogs haven't allowed a power-play goal in their last four contests, which includes 13 scoring chances for the opposition . . . Ferris State's 18 victories this season represents a tie for the eighth-most single-season victories in the program's history and a fifth-place tie for the highest wins output during head coach Bob Daniels' Bulldog coaching career . . . Brett Wysopal extended his point streak to a season-high five games with an assist in tonight's game and has accumulated a combined six points (0-6=6) in those five outings . . . Pat Nagle notched his 18th win of this season (18-12-5 record) which is the second most in FSU history only to Mike Brown's 30 victories (30-10-1 record) in the 2002-03 campaign.