Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team opened its Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) road series at nationally seventh-ranked Notre Dame by beating the Fighting Irish 3-1 in the Compton Family Ice Arena on Friday (Jan. 25) night in South Bend.
The victory represents Ferris State's sixth win in its last seven contests and came before a crowd of 5,022 fans along with a nationwide television audience on CBS Sports Network.
With the win over the league co-leader, the Bulldogs moved into third place in the league standings and Notre Dame dropped to fourth overall. Western Michigan leads the league after Friday's games with 36 points, Miami is second with 35 points and FSU third with 34 points.
Notre dame struck first 6:34 into the first as Anders Lee registered his 14th goal of the campaign on a shot in front of the Bulldog net. Assists were credited to Sam Calabrese and Mario Lucia.
However, early in the second, the Bulldogs knotted up the game at a goal apiece when senior forward Kyle Bonis registered his team-leading 12th goal of the season and seventh power play marker of the year from just inside the bottom of the circle. Both junior wing Garrett Thompson and sophomore defenseman Jason Binkley had touches on the puck to pick up the assists.
Ferris State took its first lead of the night as sophomore forward Dominic Panetta notched his second goal in as many contests at 12:19 of the second. Freshman Dakota Klecha passed the puck from across the ice and Panetta was able to put his stick on it from the opposite side close to the net. FSU's Nate Milam also earned an assist on Panetta's second career goal, which would prove to be the game winner.
The Bulldogs tacked on their final goal with 34.3 seconds to play on an empty-netter from Bonis, who recorded his 13th of the year and second of the night with the assists credited to senior center Travis Ouellette and sophomore goaltender CJ Motte.
Motte earned the game's first star as he made 32 saves, which included 16 in the second period. The win was his 12th of the season as FSU improved to 13-9-3 overall and 11-7-1 in league action.
Notre Dame fell to 15-10-0 overall and 11-6-0 in the CCHA with the setback. Steven Summerhays stopped 22 Bulldog scoring chances in net for the Irish.
Ferris State was outshot 33-25 for the game, but the Bulldogs killed off all four of Notre Dame's power play chances and converted once in four tries on Bonis' initial goal. FSU was called for six penalties totaling 20 minutes with the Irish whistled five times for 10 minutes on the night.
The game winner for Panetta marked the second consecutive contest in which he has produced the game-winning lamplighter.
The triumph was also Ferris State's fourth in the last five contests versus Notre Dame and FSU improved to 43-25-6 all-time versus the Fighting Irish with the victory. It was Ferris State's 26th series' win in South Bend.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday (Jan. 26) in the series finale with the puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) at the Compton Family Ice Arena. It will mark the final league regular-season matchup between the two teams.
After this weekend's series, the Bulldogs return home to host Western Michigan in the final CCHA series against the Broncos at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) both Friday and Saturday nights and potential sellout crowds are expected for the rivalry series.
Due to high demand and the fact the Bulldogs have sold out nine of their last 16 regular-season contests dating back to last season, the FSU Athletics Ticket Office will offer expanded hours. The box office will be open on Sunday from 12-4 p.m. (ET) and also remain open until 7 p.m. (ET) Monday thru Wednesday of this coming week.
Bulldog fans can purchase two tickets for the price of $25 for the Western Michigan series until Wednesday at 3 p.m. or while supplies last. All promotional ticket purchases must be made thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office in person or by calling (231) 591-2888.