Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team earned a split on the weekend after posting a 3-1 triumph over the Ohio State Buckeyes in Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) action on Saturday (Jan. 12) night inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena in the series finale between the two teams.
The Bulldogs, who suffered a 3-1 setback to Ohio State in the opener on Friday night, bounced back with a strong first period to seize control in Saturday's contest before a near-capacity crowd of 2,350 fans.
The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead late in the first period as senior center Travis Ouellette scored his fifth goal of the season just 32 seconds before freshman wing Dakota Klecha scored his fourth goal of the campaign. Ouellette notched the first goal of the evening from the right circle at 13:33 after junior wing Garrett Thompson found the stick of junior defenseman Scott Czarnowczan, who made the pass to Ouellette for his fifth goal of the year. The assists were Thompson's eighth of the season and Czarnowczan's sixth.
Then, at 14:05, Klecha slid the puck past Ohio State goaltender Brady Hjelle's right skate from the far side of the net after sophomore wing Justin Buzzeo won the faceoff and earned his third assist of the campaign.
Following a scoreless second period, Ohio State's Max McCormick registered the Buckeyes' first goal of the night to close the gap to 2-1 at the 7:54 mark of the final frame when he notched the puck over Bulldog sophomore goaltender CJ Motte's left shoulder after it had bounced off the back wall. The feed came from Al McLean and was also assisted by Tanner Fritz.
However, senior wing Kyle Bonis sealed the Bulldog victory with just 24.3 seconds remaining in the final period when he skated through the neutral zone with the puck and scored the third and final goal of the evening on the Buckeyes' empty net in unassisted fashion. It was his team-leading 10th goal of the year.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 10-9-3 overall and 8-7-1 in the CCHA while surging back into a fourth-place tie with the Buckeyes in the league standings. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes dropped to 8-9-5 along with a 7-4-3 record in the CCHA.
Motte was in net for a total of 59:55 and recorded 25 saves while Hjelle played 59:13 between the pipes and also made a total of 25 saves for the Buckeyes. FSU posted a slim 28-26 edge in total shots for the night, which included a game-high 17 in the opening period.
The Bulldogs had six penalties for a total of 12 minutes and the Buckeyes had two penalties for a total of 17 minutes. FSU was unable to convert on two power-play opportunities, but the Bulldogs' penalty kill unit held OSU to an 0-for-6 showing with the man-advantage.
The win was the Bulldogs' third in the past four outings to date this season and also marked FSU's third victory in the last four contests versus Ohio State. Overall, FSU has now won or tied six of the past eight meetings between the two teams.
This weekend's series was the final regular-season competition between the Bulldogs and the Buckeyes in the CCHA.
Following the victory, Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels was recognized on the ice as the area's Northern Lights Award recipient for sports and recreation. The award annually recognizes local community members for their community service accomplishments.
The Bulldogs will be back in action next weekend (Jan. 18-19) as they take on the Michigan State Spartans in a league home-and-home series. Friday's contest will take place at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing and be televised live on Fox Sports Detroit with opening faceoff set for 7:35 p.m. (ET).
Meanwhile, the two teams will travel back to Big Rapids for Saturday's game at the Ewigleben Ice Arena, which begins at 7:05 p.m. (ET). It will represent the fourth and final meeting between the two schools this season and the last trip to Big Rapids for the Spartans in league regular-season play. FSU departs for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and MSU moves to the Big Ten Conference next season.
Tickets for Saturday's home contest can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office, which is open Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. (ET) to 5 p.m. (ET) with extended hours on Wednesday until 7 p.m. (ET). In addition, tickets can also be bought online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737. For more information, please call (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.