Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally second-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team was stunned by Bowling Green State as the Bulldogs fell 4-3 in overtime on Sunday night (March 10) against the Falcons in the deciding game of a best-of-three series in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Tournament Quarterfinal round at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.
The loss drops the Bulldogs to 23-11-5 overall. The Falcons, who will now advance to the CCHA Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena next weekend, improved to 14-23-5 overall on the year after upsetting top-seeded FSU in the second round of the tournament. BGSU entered the tournament as the bottom (#11) seed before knocking off sixth-seeded Northern Michigan and FSU in back-to-back rounds.
The Bulldogs, who claimed the CCHA Regular-Season Championship this year, suffered the setback despite building a 3-0 lead in the first period of the game. The three-goal stanza started 3:23 into the game when senior forward Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan) scored a goal with a backhander to get the puck past the BGSU netminder. Junior forward Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan) and sophomore forward Garrett Thompson (Traverse City) tallied the assists.
FSU senior forward Derek Graham (Schoolcraft) got on the score sheet next as he netted a power-play goal from the bottom left circle at the 13:59 mark of the period. Rookie defender Simon Denis (Burnaby, British Columbia) and senior goalie Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) picked up the helpers.
Freshman defenseman Jason Binkley (Powell, Ohio) tallied his first career Bulldog goal at the 17:19 mark of the first period to push the Bulldog advantage to 3-0 late in the frame. Kirzinger tallied his second point of the game as he notched an assist along with senior defenseman Brett Wysopal (LaGrange Park, Ill.).
The lone goal of the second period came from the Falcons' freshman Ryan Carpenter at the 5:59 mark, which made the game 3-1 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Falcons struck again twice in the third period to force the extra session as freshman Dan DeSalvo notched two even-strength tallies. His first goal came at the 4:43 mark and was unassisted. His second goal was scored at the 15:54 mark and tied the game 3-3 for the remainder of regulation.
DeSalvo concluded his hat trick 2:38 into the overtime period as he deflected a shot from Marcus Perrier that was headed wide of the net to lift Bowling Green State to the upset win.
The Bulldogs' Nelson made 33 saves in the loss, including a game-high 15 saves in the second period. On the other end of the ice, Andrew Hammond made 28 saves to earn the win for BGSU.
Ferris State sat in the penalty box for four minutes on two infractions. Bowling Green State was charged with four penalties for eight minutes in the sin bin.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs still have a strong shot at receiving an NCAA Division I Tournament bid for only the second time in school history. FSU will learn its fate when the NCAA Selection Show takes place next Sunday (March 18) at noon.