Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally 16th-ranked Ferris State University men's hockey team suffered a 4-2 setback against nationally 7th-ranked Western Michigan in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association series' opener before a sellout crowd of 4,018 fans at the Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo on Friday (Dec. 7) night.
The Broncos took the opening game of the two-game weekend series by scoring the final two goals after the Bulldogs had tied up the game in the second period.
Western Michigan tallied the first goal of the night on even-strength at 14:36 of the opening period when Mike Leone notched his first goal of the season from the left circle past Bulldog sophomore goaltender CJ Motte's glove with the assists coming from Ben Warda and Dan DeKeyser.
However, just over two minutes later, the Bulldogs were able to tie the game at 17:01 of the first period when junior wing Garrett Thompson scored his fifth goal of the campaign. Sophomore wing TJ Schlueter and sophomore defenseman Jason Binkley earned the assists.
Western Michigan then took a 2-1 lead at 11:56 of the second period as Dane Walters scored for the Broncos on the power play. Both Kenney Morrison and Dennis Brown received assists on the goal.
Senior center Travis Ouellette scored Ferris States' second goal of the night at 13:59 of the second period on the power play to tie the contest back up at 2-2 with the puck coming off the sticks of Thompson and Binkley. The lamplighter marked Ouellette's fourth of the season.
WMU quickly responded and took a 3-2 edge when Walters scored the Broncos' second power play goal of the evening at 18:03 of the second frame. Chase Balisy and Shane Berschbach picked up the helpers on Walters' second goal of the night.
Morrison then gave the Broncos a 4-2 advantage only 57 seconds into the third period when he scored the final goal of the evening with Berschbach and Balisy earning the assists again.
Motte totaled 28 saves on the evening while Western Michigan goaltender Frank Slubowski made 13 saves. The Broncos led the shots by a count of 32-15 on the night.
The Bulldogs had four penalties on the night for eight minutes with the Broncos picking up five penalties for 10 minutes. The Bulldogs were able to score one power play goal on five opportunities while the Broncos scored twice in four tries with the man-advantage.
With the setback, the Bulldogs dropped to 7-5-3 overall and are now 6-4-1 in the CCHA. Meanwhile, the Broncos improved to 9-3-1 overall and 6-2-1 in league play.
The two teams will be back in action again on Saturday (Dec. 8) night at Lawson Ice Arena in the series finale with the puck dropping at 7:05 p.m. (ET) in Kalamazoo. Saturday's game can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.