A trip to the 2011 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Championships is up for grabs as the Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will play a league tourney quarterfinal-round series-deciding third game as a result of nationally-ranked Western Michigan's 3-1 triumph over the Bulldogs in Saturday's (March 12) game two held at WMU's Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (EDT) with the winner advancing to next weekend's (March 18-19) 2011 CCHA Championships at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. The four winners of the CCHA Quarterfinal-Round series will advance as Miami (Ohio) and Michigan locked up their trips with series-ending victories.
Game two resembled Friday's (March 11) quarterfinal-round series opener as one team would tally the contest's first two goals before the other tallied the third to get within a goal. An insurance marker on an empty-net lamplighter with about a minute or so left would seal the opposition's fate.
While Ferris State was successful in game one, it was Western Michigan's turn in the series' second game as the Broncos staved off elimination by potting the first two goals both in coming in the second period. Dane Walters put the Broncos up 1-0 with the extra attacker at the 10-minute mark on a delayed Ferris State penalty as the puck took a weird bounce off his stick in front of the Bulldog crease.
Western Michigan increased its lead to 2-0 with 4:46 to go in the second period as the Broncos converted on a power play as Danny DeKeyser unleashed a shot from just above the slot past Bulldog senior goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield), who finished the night with 28 stops. Nagle had to contend with traffic just outside the crease area as the puck went just above his right shoulder.
Trailing by two goals, Ferris State sliced its deficit in half as senior left wing Mike Fillinger (Grand Ledge) skated into the Bronco zone and put a wrist shot into the far high corner from inside the left circle. Fillinger's shot went to WMU goaltender Jerry Kuhn's glove side for his ninth goal of the season while sophomore center Travis Ouellette (Windsor, Ontario) earned an assist.
With time winding down in the contest, Ferris State pulled Nagle for the extra attacker and Western Michigan seized the opportunity by tallying an empty-netter as Trevor Elias scored with 55 seconds to go.
Pat Nagle (18-13-5) for Ferris State and Western Michigan's Jerry Kuhn (10-6-6), who made 30 saves and was the game's first star, turned in a number of crowd-pleasing stops to preserve the narrow-decided contest.
Ferris State (18-15-5 overall) and Western Michigan (17-11-10) each registered 31 shots on goal with the Bulldogs having a slim 10-6 edge in the third period. The 15th-ranked Broncos were one-of-two in power-play chances while Ferris State was unable to convert on its lone such opportunity.
Notes: The last time Ferris State was involved in a CCHA Tournament Series deciding third game was in the 2007-08 season (March 14-16) when the Bulldogs suffered a 2-1 setback at Notre Dame. FSU won the opener (2-1) before dropping a 6-3 game-two decision to the Fighting Irish . . . Travis Ouellette has compiled a combined seven points (3-4=7) in his current four-game points streak . . . With his lamplighter in tonight's contest, Mike Fillinger has currently chalked up a point in eight of his last 10 outings . . . Travis Ouellette has recorded 13 (5-8=13) of his 19 points (8-11=19) in 17 away encounters this campaign . . . Ferris State allowed its first power-play goal in four games as the Bulldogs had thwarted 13 previous man-advantage situations by the opposition prior to a second-period WMU tally.