Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally second-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team suffered its first loss in nearly three months as the Bulldogs dropped a 3-0 decision to Colgate in the championship game of the 23rd annual Mariucci Classic on Saturday (Jan. 4) evening in Minneapolis, Minn.
The setback snapped the Bulldogs' nation-leading and school record 16-game unbeaten streak, which began following Ferris State's last loss on Oct. 18 at home in Big Rapids. It also represented the first loss of the year for standout junior goaltender CJ Motte, who now owns an impressive nation-leading 15-1-3 mark in net this campaign.
The Raiders, who have now handed FSU two of its three losses this season, opened the scoring with a pair of goals in the second period and tallied two power-play goals on the night in claiming the Mariucci Classic Championship in one of the nation's most prestigious events at Mariucci Arena.
Ferris State had advanced to the title contest by beating RPI in a 6-2 decision on Friday night while the Raiders pulled out a shootout win over nationally top-ranked Minnesota to reach the championship game and prevent a potential matchup between the nation's top two ranked teams in the Golden Gophers and the Bulldogs.
In Saturday's contest, the two teams battled thru a scoreless opening period and nearly two-thirds of the second frame before Colgate finally capitalized with the man-advantage at 14:26 of the middle stanza. Spiro Goulakos converted on a slapshot to the top shelf from the center with less than 25 seconds left on the power play to account for the initial score. Both Tyson Spink and Mike Borkowski picked up the helpers.
The Raiders then scored again a few minutes later when Mike McCann redirected a shot from the point into the net at 17:57 on a goal assited by Brett Corkey.
The final Colgate goal came midway thru the third and final period of action at 10:43 as Darcy Murphy produced the lamplighter on a rebound shot from the left point, which found the net under Motte's pad to account for the final margin. The power-play goal was assisted by Corkey and Andrew Black.
Ferris State, which played without senior captain Scott Czaarnowczan and senior forward Cory Kane on the weekend, was limited to only 19 total shots for the night compared to Colgate's 29 shots.
The Raiders also had success on the power play as they converted twice in six opportunities with Ferris State held scoreless in five tries with the man-advantage. Overall, the Bulldogs were called for six penalties totaling 12 minutes in the box compared to Colgate's five infractions for 10 minutes.
Motte made 29 saves for the Bulldogs in having his school-record unbeaten streak snapped while Colgate's Charlie Finn picked up the win to improve to 5-4-2 on the year. He made 19 saves in 59:33 between the pipes.
The Bulldogs were led offensively by fresman forward Kyle Schempp, who tallied three shots on the night. Freshman Chad McDonald along with forwards TJ Schlueter, Garrett Thompson and Matt Robertson all had two attempts apiece. Ryan Johnston had a game-high five total tries for the Raiders, who moved to 8-9-3 overall this campaign and also own a 5-3-1 mark in ECAC action.
Ferris State fell to 15-3-3 on the year with the loss. Currently, FSU's 15 wins are the most in the country and the Bulldogs also have the nation's best winning percentage in addition to holding the longest unbeaten streak prior to the setback. Ferris State is first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings with a 10-0-2 league record and has yet to drop a league game in its debut season in the WCHA.
The Bulldogs also entered Saturday's contest ranked first in the nation in the Pairwise and RPI rankings, which help determine the NCAA Tournament field at the end of the season. Ferris State and Colgate had split a pair of non-league games earlier this season to open the 2013-14 campaign in Hamilton, N.Y. The Bulldogs posted a 7-4 season-opening win in the series' opener on Oct. 5 before Colgate came back to earn the weekend split with a 1-0 triumph the following night (Oct. 6).
Ferris State, which was making its fifth-ever appearance in the Mariucci Classic, previously won the event in 1992-93 and also made appearances in one of the nation's most prestigious events in 2001-02, 2006-07 and 2010-11.
With the Mariucci Classic now complete, Ferris State returns to home ice on Jan. 10-11 as the Bulldogs resume WCHA action against the Michigan Tech Huskies and fans will be treated to a special guest appearance from one of hockey's all-time greats.
Former Detroit Red Wings' standout Darren McCarty will make a special appearance and be in attendance for the series' opener on Friday (Jan. 10) evening for a book signing and autograph session to promote his new book "My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star".
The puck is set to drop on both Friday and Saturday nights at 7:07 p.m. (ET) as the Bulldogs square off against the Huskies for the first time since 1995 as part of what many expect will be one of the top WCHA rivalries in years to come.
In addition to McCarty's special appearance, the Bulldogs will also hold a special "Dawg Pound Appreciation Night" on Friday, Jan. 10, that will include giveaways, a free postgame skate with Brutus, raffle prizes and more. The Ferris State University residence halls will be open for the weekend series.
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance as sellout crowds are expected for the Bulldogs' first home action since mid-November and limited tickets currently remain.
Fans can purchase advance tickets for the Michigan Tech series and save over the normal gameday rates by visiting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office located inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex. Bulldog fans can also purchase all regular-priced tickets in advance 24 hours a day, seven days a week online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737.
A complete pricing structure, holiday ticket office hours and additional information is available online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com and can be found by visiting the "tickets" tab. All promotional ticket offers are only available in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office. For additional ticket information, please call (231) 591-2888.