Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State men's ice hockey squad moved into solo possession of first place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) standings as the Bulldogs posted a 4-3 win over Michigan State to sweep the Spartans on Saturday (Jan. 28) evening insidethe Ewigleben Ice Arena.
The win gives the Bulldogs a 17-8-3 overall record, which includes an eight-game unbeaten streak. Ferris State is now 11-6-3-(1) in conference action and holds sole possession of first place in the league by a point over Ohio State and Western Michigan. The Spartans fell to 13-11-4 overall and stand at 8-9-3 in the CCHA.
This marks the first weekend series sweep over MSU since 1990 and the first-time ever the Bulldogs have recorded two wins over the Spartans in the same weekend in Big Rapids.
Michigan State opened the scoring 4:07 into the game with senior Mike Merrifield getting the goal.
Less than two minutes later, at the 6:03 mark, Bulldog senior forward Derek Graham (Schoolcraft) scored his ninth goal of the season on a power play to tie the game one apiece. Junior Kyle Bonis (Lindsay, Ontario) and rookie defenseman Jason Binkley (Powell, Ohio) picked up the helpers. The goal extended Graham's multi-game point streak to six.
The Bulldogs struck again with 36 seconds remaining in the first period as sophomore forward Cory Kane (Irvine, Calif.) found the back of the net. Seniors Aaron Schmit (Grafton, Wisc.) and Chad Billins (Marysville) earned the assists.
FSU scored again 2:49 into the second period when senior forward Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan) notched his 15th goal of the season. Junior forward Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan) dished the puck to Johnston, who jammed it past the Spartan goaltender.
MSU pulled within a single goal at the 8:45 minute of the second period when Brent Darnell tallied a marker to make the score 3-2 in favor of FSU. Torey Krug and Dean Chelios were credited with the assists.
Greg Wolfe tied the game at 3-3 for the Spartans with 1:32 remaining in the second period as Brett Perlini shot a wrister, which was deflected in by Wolfe.
Finally, FSU junior forward Travis Ouellette (Windsor, Ontario) scored the Bulldogs' game-winning goal on a power-play opportunity 1:56 into the third period. Graham and Billins earned the assists.
In net for the Bulldogs was senior Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan), who tallied 19 saves in the win. His record improved to 13-4-1 on the year. He made 10 saves in the second period.
In between the pipes for Michigan State was senior Drew Palmisano, who totaled 25 saves in the loss, including a 10-save second period.
FSU was two-for-eight on the power play and held Michigan State to no man advantage goals. The physical game saw MSU in the box for 18 minutes on nine penalties. Ferris State served 10 penalty minutes on five infractions.
The Bulldog team will be on the road next weekend (Feb. 3-4) as they compete against Northern Michigan in a two-game series in Marquette, Mich. The puck will drop at 7:35 p.m. (ET) for both contests at the Berry Events Center.