Defending National Finalist Ferris State Suffers Opening Night Setback
Big Rapids, Mich. - Defending national finalist Ferris State could not pull out a road win in its 2012-13 men's ice hockey season opener as the Bulldogs suffered a 3-1 loss to the RPI Engineers on Friday (Oct. 12) night at Houston Field House in Troy, N.Y.
The nationally 11th-ranked Bulldogs struck first in the opener against Rensselaer as freshman forward Dakota Klecha notched his first collegiate goal at even-strength only 1:32 into the first period off assists from junior Cory Kane and senior Eric Alexander.
However, the Engineers responded to tie the contest up at a goal apiece 8:01 into the opening stanza when Mark McGowan tallied an even-strength goal off a feed from both Nick Bailen and Guy Leboeuf.
RPI took its first lead of the night at 11:18 of the second period when Ryan Haggerty found the back of the net to make it a 2-1 game. Matt Neal and Leboeuf both notched helpers on the go-ahead goal.
The final goal of the night came late in the contest at 18:29 of the third period as the Engineers iced the victory with a goal from Jacob Laliberte on the power play. Bailen and Brock Higgs earned the assists.
The Bulldogs held a 31-22 advantage in total shots for the night.
FSU totaled three penalties for six minutes in the box with the Engineers netting two penalties for four minutes overall.
Sophomore goaltender CJ Motte made 19 saves in net for the Bulldogs in his season debut. Meanwhile, Scott Diebold went the distance in net for Rensselaer and stopped 30 Bulldog scoring chances.
FSU finished 0-for-2 on the power play while the Engineers were 1-for-3 on the night.
The victory was the first-ever series' win for the Engineers over the Bulldogs as FSU held a 3-0 edge heading into Friday night's contest. It also marked the first meeting in Troy as all three previous contests had been played inside FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.
The Engineers are guided by a Bulldog alum in Seth Appert, who was a four-year letterwinner at Ferris State from 1992-96.
The contest was the first official regular-season outing for the Bulldogs since a 4-1 setback to Boston College in the 2012 national championship game played at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in the Frozen Four last April.
The two teams will wrap up the two-game series' on Saturday night with faceoff set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Houston Field House.
The Bulldogs will play their home-opening series against the Mercyhurst Lakers next weekend, Oct. 19-20, in Big Rapids. FSU will celebrate its historic national runner-up finish from a year ago by hoisting new banners inside the facility on Friday night prior to the game. Puck drop for both games is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET). It marks the first of three consecutive home weekends for the Bulldogs.
Tickets for all 2012-13 Bulldog home regular-season hockey games can be purchased in advance by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231)-591-2888 or online at StarTickets.com.