February 3, 2012

FSU Hockey Ties NMU In OT & Drops Shootout

Highlights 
Billins Post Game
Binkley Post Game

Big Rapids, Mich. – The sixth-ranked Ferris State University ice hockey team skated to a 5-5 overtime tie against the 19th-ranked Northern Michigan Wildcats in Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) play on Friday (Feb. 3) night before dropping to a 1-0 shootout decision at the Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich.

With the tie, the Bulldogs are now 17-8-4 overall and 11-6-4-(1) in CCHA play. They also kept their unbeaten game streak alive, which is now at nine games in a row. The Wildcats are 12-9-5 overall and 7-8-5-(3) in conference action.

FSU's single point in the game gives the Bulldogs 38 total points in the league standings and Ferris State ranks second in the CCHA following Friday's play.  The Bulldogs are only a single point behind Western Michigan.

The Wildcats struck first 2:52 into the contest as Stephan Vigier scored an even-strength goal.

Less than two minutes later, at the 4:23 mark, Bulldog junior forward Kyle Bonis  (Lindsay, Ontario) evened the tilt at one goal apiece with a back-hander from the circle to score on the power play. Sophomore Scott Czarnowczan (Macomb) and rookie Jason Binkley (Powell, Ohio) received the helpers.

The Bulldogs notched the next goal at the 7:29 mark of the first when sophomore Garrett Thompson (Traverse City) tallied his seventh goal of the year with senior defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville) and freshman defenseman Simon Denis (Burnaby, British Columbia) getting the assists.

The Wildcats tied the score at 2-2 as Reed Seckel scored an even-strength goal. Their top scorer, Tyler Gron, and Kyle Follmer assisted on the goal.

FSU ansered 1:58 into the second period as junior forward Eric Alexander (Kentwood) got the breakaway and held the puck as the Wildcat netminder came out to challenge him. With patience, Alexander waited and snuck the puck right behind their goalie. Denis and Nate Milam (Westland) picked up the assists.

NMU's Gron scored a pair of goals at the 14:33 and 16:55 mark to make the score 4-3 to end the second period.

With a slap-shot from the top of the circle, FSU senior Chad Billins scored a power-play goal, which was the Bulldogs third man-advantage goal of the game, only 2:54 into the third period. Junior forward Matthew Kirzinger (Leroy, Saskatchewan) and senior forward Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan) assisted on the goal that made the score 4-4 overall.

CJ Ludwig beat Bulldog goalie Taylor Nelson on the low glove side to make the score 5-4 at the 5:18 tally of the third period.

However, at the 10:13 mark, senior forward Aaron Schmit (Grafton) made a beauty forehand backhand move on a breakaway to beat the Wildcat goalie and score his fourth goal of the season to tie it back up for the Bulldogs.

The score remained 5-5 through the end of regulation and the five-minute sudden death overtime. Per league rules, the game then went to a shootout. The Bulldogs were unable to convert in their three shootout opportunities as NMU won the shootout 1-0 for the extra league point.

Nelson made 26 saves in net for the Bulldogs and his record is now 13-4-2 on the year. On the other side of the ice, NMU's Reid Ellingson made 22 saves and is currently 4-5-4 overall.

The Bulldogs' power-play went three-for-five on the night. The Wildcats went one-for-four with the man advantage. FSU took four penalties for eight minutes compared to NMU's five infractions for 10 minutes in the box.

The two teams will square off tomorrow (Feb. 3) to conclude the two-game series at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.  The puck will drop at 7:35 p.m. (EDT).

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