November 15, 2013

Two Late Goals Help Ferris State Hockey Force Tie & Hold Onto First Place In WCHA


Highlights
Press Conference

Big Rapids, Mich. - Two goals in the final two minutes of a wild third period enabled the nationally 14th-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team to hold onto solo possession of first place and remain unbeaten in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action following a 3-3 overtime tie with Bowling Green on Friday (Nov. 15) night inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids.

Ferris State led the series' opener between the two rivals 1-0 entering the third and final period of regulation before the Falcons scored three-straight goals to take a 3-1 lead with less than five minutes remaining.

However, the Bulldogs fought back as senior Garrett Thompson scored an even-strength goal with just under two minutes to play. FSU then pulled junior goaltender CJ Motte for the extra skater and FSU's Cory Kane came thru in the clutch as he scored the equalizer with only nine seconds left on a deflection in front of the net.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the five-minute overtime period despite the fact each team posted three shot opportunities on net. As per WCHA rules, the overtime deadlock stands as a tie and no shootout was played.

The first period between the two former Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) opponents was scoreless with Bowling Green holding an 11-6 edge in total shots over the opening 20 minutes of play.

In the second period, the Bulldogs took the game's initial lead when freshman Chad McDonald notched his second goal of the year in unassisted fashion on a short-handed tally only 2:20 in the period.  The score stood up the rest of the frame with BGSU again outshooting the Bulldogs by a 15-9 count.

Then, in the third period, the Falcons finally capitalized. Connor Kucera scored five minutes into the final stanza to tie the game up at a goal apiece off assists from Mike Sullivan and Pierre-Luc Mercier.

The Falcons took their first lead of the night at 13:10 when Cam Wojtala posted his third lamplighter of the season off a feed by Adam Berkle to give BGSU a 2-1 edge with just under seven minutes remaining.

The lead then grew to two goals at 15:14 of the third as Brent Tate scored on a deflection near the net for his fifth goal of the campaign. Assists were credited to Falfs Freibergs and Dajon Mingo.

Ferris State battled back, though, as Thompson pulled FSU within a single goal at 18:04 on an even-strength marker. His fifth goal of the season came off the sticks of linemate Justin Buzzeo and senior captain Scott Czarnowczan.

Finally, at 19:51, with the crowd on its feet, Kane notched his third lamplighter of the year to tie the game up as both Czarnowczan and Buzzeo recorded their second helpers of the night in the extra-skater situation.

Motte made 37 saves in net for the Bulldogs as BGSU recorded a 40-31 advantage in total shots. By virtue of the tie, he remained unbeaten in goal for FSU this season by improving to 7-0-1 on the year. He had 11 saves in the first period before making 15 in the second, eight in the third and three in overtime.

On the opposite side, Bowling Green's Tommy Burke stopped 28 Bulldog scoring chances with six saves in the first 20 minutes followed by eight in the second, 11 in the third and three in the final five-minute OT session.

Neither team was able to score on five power-play chances each as both teams totaled five penalties for 10 minutes in the box.

With his game-tying goal, Kane picked up first star of the game honors while Thompson tallied the second star and McDonald notched the third in front of a home crowd of 1,706 fans, which included the school's 38th consecutive sellout of the "Dawg Pound" student section.

Ferris State moved to 7-2-1 on the year and ran its unbeaten string to six-straight games with the overtime tie. FSU is now 4-0-1 in the WCHA and holds onto first place in the WCHA heading into Saturday night's series' finale.  BGSU is now 5-3-3 and 3-1-1 in league action.

The Falcons entered the weekend series tied with Bemidji State in the WCHA for second place with both teams trailing FSU by two points in the league standings.

Friday night's tie continued what has been a close rivalry between the two programs. By virtue of the tie, the Bulldogs are now 55-55-21 all-time versus the Falcons although Ferris State had won 13 of the previous 17 matchups entering the game.  The two teams played each other seven times in 2011-12 before squaring off four times against each other a year ago.

Saturday's matchup begins at 7:07 p.m. (ET) inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena and continues a six-game homestand for the Bulldogs, who will also host Alaska next weekend (Nov. 22-23) in Big Rapids.

Single-game tickets for all FSU home contests this season are currently on sale and can be bought online at StarTickets.com, by calling 1-800-585-3737 or purchased in person at the FSU Athletics Ticket Office. The ticket office will open on Saturday at noon.  For more ticket information, fans can visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com or call (231) 591-2888.

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