Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team opened a busy week of action by pulling out a hard-fought 3-2 non-conference road victory over the Mercyhurst Lakers on Tuesday (Oct. 15) night in Erie, Pa.
The Bulldogs remained unbeaten all-time against the Lakers with the win at the Mercyhurst Ice Center and will return home with a 2-1 overall record after three-straight road contests to open the 2013-14 campaign.
Ferris State, which was picked to finish second this year in the Bulldogs' debut season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), fought back from a one-goal deficit early in the opening period to notch the win.
Mercyhurst struck first at 5:08 of the opening period as Stephen Hrehoriak notched a power-play goal on a backdoor play that resulted in a shot past Bulldog junior goaltender CJ Motte. Both Nick Jones and Ryan Misiak picked up assists.
The Bulldogs responded approximately 10 minutes later when the fourth line combination of sophomore Kenny Babinski along with true freshmen Chad McDonald and Seth Adams combined to tie the contest up at a goal apiece. Babinski notched his first goal of the year with a rebound try while both Adams and McDonald picked up their first collegiate points on the assist.
Ferris State then took its first lead of the night at 8:46 into the second period when senior forward Garrett Thompson fired a low hardshot from the slot into the back of the net off assists from forwards Connor Schmidt and Justin Buzzeo.
FSU added another goal nearly 30 seconds later when senior Justin DeMartino hammered a slapshot past the Lakers' Jimmy Sarjeant to the top right corner following a line change. Fellow senior Cory Kane was credited with the helper on the shot.
The Lakers trimmed the two-goal margin to a single score 53 seconds into the final period as Matthew Zay tallied an unassisted goal, but the Bulldogs were able to hold onto the lead down the stretch. Motte made a critical save in the final minute of the contest to help preserve the victory.
Ferris State held a slim 27-24 edge in total shots, which included 11 in the opening period to go with seven in the second and nine in the third. Meanwhile, the Lakers recorded nine shots in the first frame, four in the middle period and finished with 11 shots in the last period.
The Bulldogs were unable to capitalize on six power-play tries while Mercyhurst finished one-for-six with the man-advantage. Both teams totaled six penalties for 12 minutes in the box each.
Motte recorded 22 saves for the Bulldogs in improving to 2-0 in net this season with Sarjeant stopping 24 Ferris States scoring chances for the Lakers in 58:29 of ice time.
Thompson paced the Bulldogs with four shots in the contest and the trio of DeMartino, Buzzeo and Adams all had three shots apiece. Zay had a contest-best five shots for the Lakers.
By virtue of his game-winning goal, Thompson picked up the game's first star while Zay claimed the second star and Motte earned the third for the Bulldogs.
With the loss, Mercyhurst dropped to 0-3 overall this campaign as they had dropped back-to-back games in the highly-competitive Ice Breaker Tournament to open the year last weekend.
Ferris State improved to 6-0-1 all-time versus Mercyhurst with the win and won for the third time in as many tries at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. The trip to Erie was FSU's first since winning back-to-back games in 2005.
Mercyhurst entered the year coming off a 19-win season a year ago in which the Lakers also reached the Atlantic Hockey title game.
The Bulldogs return home to host St. Lawrence in FSU's home-opening series this Friday and Saturday (Oct. 18-19) evenings at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids. Both non-league contests start at 7:07 p.m. (ET).
Friday night's home opener is free to all FSU students with a valid ID card while saturday's game will serve as the Bulldogs' first "Pink In The Rink" contest presented by General Mills-Yoplait. Ferris State will don pink jerseys for the game and all fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness with proceeds from the event benefiting the Susan P. Wheatlake fund.
Tickets for all 2013-14 Bulldog home regular-season hockey games can be purchased in advance at StarTickets.com, by calling (800) 585-3737 or in person at the FSU Athletics Ticket Office inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex. The box office is open Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) with extended hours until 7 p.m. (ET) on Wednesdays throughout the season.
The ticket office will also open on Saturday at 12 p.m. (ET). For additional ticket information, please call (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for a complete pricing structure.