Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally third-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team wrapped up a weekend home sweep of visiting Michigan Tech in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action as the Bulldogs skated to a 3-2 triumph on Saturday (Jan. 11) evening before a sellout crowd of 2,490 fans inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena.
Ferris State scored the first two goals of the night and received a 44-save performance in net from junior goaltender CJ Motte in topping the Huskies to remain unbeaten in WCHA play this season. The first-place Bulldogs moved to 12-0-2 in conference action with the triumph and have now captured 26 of a possible 28 league points to date this year.
The Bulldogs, who topped MTU by a 1-0 count before a sellout crowd on Friday night to open the series, started quickly in the finale with a goal only 6:24 into the opening period from forward TJ Schlueter. It was his first goal of the campaign and came off assists from senior forward Andy Huff and junior defenseman Jason Binkley.
After taking the 1-0 advantage into the second period, the Bulldogs increased their lead to two goals at 15:01 of the second frame when sophomore forward Kenny Babinski notched his fifth marker of the year on a two-on-one short-handed goal assisted by a tremendous feed from freshman Chad McDonald. The assist was McDonald's eighth of the campaign.
However, Michigan Tech answered back quickly and trimmed the margin to a single goal at 16:22 of the second when Alex Petan tallied his 11th lamplighter of the year on a power-play shot assisted by Shane Hanna and Ryan Furne.
The 2-1 Bulldog lead stood up until 16:31 of the third and final period when junior forward Justin Buzzeo notched the eventual game-winner on a rebound shot to push the Bulldogs' lead back to two goals. His 10th goal of the season was assisted by McDonald and senior captain Scott Czarnowczan.
Michigan Tech pulled within a goal again when David Johnstone registered his third marker of the year as the Huskies pulled the goalie for an extra skater. The goal came at 19:06 with assists from Hanna and Petan, but the Huskies could get no closer as FSU held on for the victory.
Motte, who ranks as the nation's winningest goaltender, made 44 saves on the night as the Huskies held a decisive 46-20 margin in total shots. The junior standout made 14 saves in the opening period, 20 in a big second period along with 10 in the final stanza as he improved to 17-1-3 on the season.
On the opposite end of the ice, Jamie Phillips suffered the setback despite making 17 saves for the Huskies with six in period one followed by seven in the second and four in the third and final 20 minutes of competition.
Ferris State was called for seven penalties totaling 14 minutes on the night with MTU whistled four times for eight minutes in the sin bin. MTU capitalized once on four power-play tries with the Bulldogs held scoreless in two attempts with the man-advantage.
The Bulldogs ran their overall record to 17-3-3 on the season with the win while the Huskies fell to 7-13-6 this season. The weekend series marked the first time the two teams had met on back-to-back nights since 1985.
Ferris State hits the road for its next six outings as the Bulldogs visit the WCHA's second place team in Minnesota State next Friday and Saturday (Jan. 17-18) for a two-game league set in Mankato, Minn. Friday's opener gets underway at 8:37 p.m. (ET) with the finale set for Saturday night at 8:07 p.m. (ET).
The next home series for the Bulldogs is not until Feb. 7-8 when FSU entertains Northern Michigan in league action inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena. Advance tickets are on sale now and can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office, online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737.