Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team recorded a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Michigan State Spartans in Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) action on Friday evening (Jan. 27) before a sellout crowd of 2,493 fans at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.
The nationally 10th-ranked Bulldogs improved to 16-8-3 overall and 10-6-1 in conference action with the triumph. Meanwhile, the Spartans fell to 12-10-4 overall along with 8-6-2 in the CCHA.
After a scoreless first period, the Spartans struck first with a power-play goal at the 15:48 mark of the second period. Matt Berry got the goal after a slapshot from Tim Buttery rebounded into traffic in front of the Bulldog net. Will Yanakeff also earned an assist.
Ferris State responded with just 18 seconds left in the second period when senior captain Chad Billins (Marysville) registered his fourth goal of the season on the power play. Freshman defenseman Simon Denis (Burnaby, British Columbia) and senior forward Derek Graham (Schoolcraft) each were awarded with the helpers. The goal extended Billins' point-streak to four games.
FSU scored again at the 13:20 mark of the third period as rookie forward TJ Schlueter (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied his fourth goal of the season. The helper went to Graham, his second of the game. The goal was the Bulldogs' game winner, which is the first game-winning goal for the freshman. Graham is on a current five-game point streak, which started when he made the switch from defenseman to forward.
The FSU power-play unit went one-for-three on the night wile Michigan State scored one power-play goal with four man-advantage situations. The Spartans took four penalties for an eight minute total compared to the Bulldogs' five infractions for 10 minutes in the box.
Bulldog senior netminder Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) tallied 24 saves in the win. The victory improved his record to 12-4-1 on the year. MSU's goalie, Will Yanakeff, received the loss despite his 28-save performance.
The two squads will battle again on Saturday (Jan. 28) evening with the puck dropping at 7:05 p.m. (EDT). Fans will be able to get special autographs on one-of-a-kind placards provided by the FSU Copy Center after the contest. Seniors Jordie Johnston and Nelson along with sophomore Andy Huff will be the featured players.