BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - The nationally third-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team returned to home ice for the first time in nearly two months and scored a big third-period goal en route to a 1-0 shutout win over visiting Michigan Tech on Friday (Jan. 10) night before a sellout crowd at the Ewigleben Ice Arena.
The Bulldogs resumed Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action and opened the weekend series by beating the Huskies in the first contest between the two teams since 1995. A crowd of 2,490 fans were on hand as FSU remained unbeaten in WCHA play this season.
Senior forward Garrett Thompson scored on a slapshot 8:25 into the third period to break the scoreless tie and account for the only goal of the night as Ferris State moved to 14-1-3 in its last 18 outings this season. Senior captain Scott Czarnowczan and junior defenseman Travis White picked up the helpers on the game-winning goal. The goal was Thompson's team-leading 11th of the campaign.
Ferris State also received yet another stellar performance in net from junior goaltender CJ Motte, who stopped 29 shots in earning his third shutout victory of the year and second in the past four contests. The nation's winningest goaltender, Motte improved to 16-1-3 on the season with the triumph.
The Bulldogs, who had a nation-leading 16-game unbeaten streak snapped with a loss to Colgate in the Mariucci Classic Championship game last Saturday, rebounded in a big way on a special night in Big Rapids. The contest was FSU's first home game since Nov. 23 and the victory came in the squad's first league tilt since early December. The Bulldogs moved to 11-0-2 in WCHA competition this season with the win.
In addition, Ferris State welcomed back its vocal student section for the start of second semester classes next week with a special "Dawg Pound" appreciation night and former four-time Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Champion Darren McCarty was in attendance to promote his new book and sign autographs for fans on the memorable evening.
Despite being outshot 29-25 for the night, the Bulldogs accounted for the game's lone goal in the third period as Motte made nine saves in the opening period followed by eight in each of the final two periods of action.
On the opposite side, Michigan Tech received a solid performance in goal from Jamie Phillips, who totaled 10 saves in the opening 20 minutes to go with 11 in the second and seven in the final period.
Neither team was able to capitalize on the power play as Michigan Tech was stopped three times with the man-advantage and FSU could not convert in its lone attempt with the extra skater. Overall, the Bulldogs were called for five penalties totaling 10 minutes with Michigan Tech whistled three times for six minutes in the box.
Ferris State improved to 16-3-3 on the season with the win while Michigan Tech dropped to 7-12-6 overall and 5-6-4 in league play. The Huskies had entered the contest tied for fourth overall in the WCHA standings.
Prior to Friday night, the two teams had not played each other since 1995 when the Bulldogs scored a 4-3 victory. The matchup is expected to be one of the WCHA's top new rivalries in the years to come. Overall, Ferris State improved to 6-8-1 all-time versus the Huskies.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday (Jan. 11) evening in the series' finale at the Ewigleben Ice Arena with puck drop set for 7:07 p.m. (ET). Saturday's game is sold out as well although possible standing-room only tickets may be available at or near game-time on Saturday thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office.
Saturday's contest will represent the first time the two teams have played each other on back-to-back nights since 1985 as the Bulldogs go for the series' sweep and try to increase their lead in the WCHA standings. It will also mark FSU's last home game until the first week of February.
For those fans who do not have tickets to the contest, a live HD video and audio pay-per-view webcast will be available thru a conference agreement with WCHATV & America One and produced by Ferris Television.
It will also be carried live by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with Dominic Hennig and Dan Kowalski calling the play-by-play action. Pregame coverage begins a half-hour prior to puck drop. All links, including live video along with live internet statistics, will be available at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.