Big Rapids, Mich. – A hat trick from junior forward Garrett Thompson lifted the Ferris State University men's ice hockey team to an impressive 3-0 shutout over the Michigan State Spartans before a sellout crowd of 2,490 fans on Saturday (Jan. 5) night in Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) action at the Ewigleben Ice Arena.
Ferris State started the New Year off with a bang as the Bulldogs avenged an earlier 3-1 setback to the Spartans in East Lansing prior to the holiday break on Dec. 15 at Munn Ice Arena. The win was the second in a row for the Bulldogs on the heels of last Saturday's (Dec. 29) 6-2 triumph over 2011 National Champion Minnesota-Duluth at the Florida College Hockey Classic.
A sellout crowd saw the Bulldogs break open a scoreless contest almost midway thru the second period as Thompson notched the first goal of the evening when the puck bounced off Spartan goaltender Jake Hildebrand on the power-play at 11:38 of the second stanza. Junior defenseman Scott Czarnowczan made the initial pass from the blue line to senior center Travis Ouellette, who then found Thompson, as the duo earned their fifth and ninth assists of this campaign, respectively. The marker was Thompson's seventh of the season.
Four minutes later, at 15:17 of the second, Thompson netted his second goal of the night and eighth of the season from the top right corner on a breakaway feed off the stick of sophomore defenseman Jason Binkley. The assist increased Binkley's team-high total to 10 helpers on the year.
Thompson was then able to seal the Bulldog victory when he completed the hat trick for his ninth goal of the season on the Spartans' empty net with 33.6 seconds remaining in the contest. Freshman wing Matt Robertson earned his fourth assist of the season after making the pass to Thompson from the right circle.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 9-8-3 overall along with 7-6-1 in the CCHA. Meanwhile, the Spartans dropped to 5-12-3 overall along with a 4-9-1 mark in the final season of the CCHA.
Sophomore Bulldog goaltender CJ Motte recorded his third shutout of the season with a total of 23 saves on the night while Hildebrand made a total of 28 saves at the opposite end of the ice for the Spartans. The Bulldogs led the shots for the evening by a count of 31-23 overall.
Ferris State and Michigan State both had a lone penalty apiece totaling two minutes for each team. The Bulldogs converted on their only power-play try of the evening while the Spartans were unable to find the back of the net with the man-advantage.
With the hat trick, Thompson picked up the game's first star of the night while Motte claimed the second star and Binkley took home the third star honor.
The triumph was Ferris State's sixth in the last eight matchups against the Spartans and the third in a row at the Ewigleben Ice Arena over the last two seasons. The two teams will square off against each other again on Jan. 18-19 in a league home-and-home series.
By virtue of the victory, the Bulldogs also moved into a fourth-place tie with Ohio State in the CCHA standings as both teams now have 22 points in league competition. Ironically, the two teams will collide next weekend (Jan. 11-12) as the Buckeyes visit the Ewigleben Ice Arena for a pair of league contests. Action gets underway on both Friday and Saturday nights at 7:05 p.m. (ET).
Next weekend will mark the final two meetings in regular-season action between the Bulldogs and the Buckeyes before FSU departs for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and OSU moves to the Big Ten for hockey next campaign.
Tickets for next weekend's series' are on sale now and can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex. T he box office is open Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. (ET) to 5 p.m. (ET) with extended hours on Wednesday until 7 p.m. (ET). For more information, please call (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com. Tickets can also be bought online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737.