Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team emerged successful it its last-ever Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) regular-season home contest as the Bulldogs held on to beat Bowling Green State by a 4-3 score in a nationally-televised game before a sold out crowd on Saturday (Feb. 16) evening inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena.
The win was FSU's third over the Falcons in four tries this campaign and enabled the Bulldogs to hold onto at least a share of fourth place in the league standings pending the outcome of this week's conference schedule. Ferris State also bounced back from a 2-1 overtime setback to BGSU in the series opener on Friday night. A sellout crowd of 2,565 fans were on hand for the last regular-season home game this year and donned in red as part of a "red out" effort.
On "Senior Night", the Bulldogs honored the class of wings Kyle Bonis, Matthew Kirzinger and Eric Alexander along with center Travis Ouellette and goaltender Rob Granett prior to their final home outings in regular-season play. The game was televised live by Fox Sports Detroit from Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring midway through the opening period when sophomore center Justin Buzzeo tallied his fifth goal of this campaign as he slid the puck around BGSU goaltender Tommy Burke's right pad at 10:53 of the stanza. Junior wing Justin DeMartino skated with the puck on a two-on-one before shooting it on net to open Buzzeo's opportunity for his eighth helper of the season. Freshman wing Matt Robertson made the initial pass for his fifth assist of the campaign.
The Falcons then scored their first goal of the evening late in the first period at 16:40 when Adam Berkle shot the puck into the top shelf of the Bulldog net. The lamplighter came after a turnover with Brent Tate and Dan DeSalvo on the assists, both earning their second points of the weekend. It was Berkle's fifth goal of the year.
However, with only 52 seconds remaining in the first period, Bonis skated on a breakaway and notched a shorthanded goal for his 17th marker of the season to put the Bulldogs in front 2-1 after the opening period. Junior wing Garrett Thompson earned his 13th assist of the season when he shot the puck near the corner after receiving it from freshman defenseman Brandon Anselmini, who picked up his eighth assist of the season.
The second period was filled with action as both teams were able to score two goals apiece with the Falcons leading the shots by a 15-7 margin.
The Bulldogs took a 3-1 lead early in the second stanza at 1:32 when junior center Cory Kane recorded his eighth goal of the year after senior wing Eric Alexander made a one-touch pass for his fifth helper this season. Junior wing Andy Huff earned his fifth helper of the season when he fed the puck to Alexander.
The Falcons cut into the lead when Brent Tate shot the puck into the net for his third point of the weekend and second of the night at 8:35 of the second period. Bobby Shea and Berkle were credited with the assists for their second and third points of the weekend, respectively.
Then, just 35 seconds later at the 9:10 mark, the Falcons tied the contest back up at three goals apiece when Chad Sumsion made a drop pass to Brett Mohler, who scored BGSU's third and final goal of the evening.
The Bulldogs came back and took a 4-3 lead at 16:28 when Thompson netted a power-play goal for his 11th marker of the season to earn his second point of the night on the eventual game-winning goal. Buzzeo fed the puck to Thompson from the left point after receiving it from DeMartino and both earned their second points of the evening for their sixth and ninth assists of the season, respectively.
The final frame remained scoreless although BGSU tallied six shots on goal to only two for the Bulldogs in the final 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs had five penalties for a total of 10 minutes and the Falcons were hit for three penalties for a total of six minutes. FSU converted on their lone power-play opportunity while BGSU could not find the back of the net on three man-advantage opportunities.
Sophomore Bulldog goaltender CJ Motte saw 60 minutes of action between the pipes and recorded 26 saves while Burke was in net for 58:32 and had 16 saves for the Falcons. The Falcons led the shots by an overall count of 29-20 on the night.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 15-13-4 overall and now hold a 13-11-2-1 record in the CCHA. Meanwhile, the Falcons dropped 12-15-5 overall along with 9-12-3-1 in league action.
Ferris State avoided a potential Bowling Green comeback victory by holding off the Falcons in the final period. BGSU had won three of the last four meetings between the two teams at the Ewigleben Ice Arena and all three had come in overtime following Friday night's game. However, FSU managed to earn a weekend split by pulling out the one-goal win.
Following the home game, Bulldog fans were treated to a special "Skate With The Dawgs" event as players took the ice to skate with the crowd on hand.
The Bulldogs are idle this coming weekend before playing their last-ever CCHA regular-season series on the road against the Michigan Wolverines at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor on March 1-2. Both games begin at 7:35 p.m. (ET).
Fans can help take the "Dawg Pound" to Ann Arbor as the Bulldog men's ice hockey squad squares off with Michigan Wolverines in their last CCHA action. The Ferris State Athletics Ticket Office currently has tickets on sale for the two-game road set at Michigan. The cost is $25 per ticket for seating in the designated FSU areas at Yost Ice Arena. All tickets must be purchased by 12 p.m. (ET) on Monday, Feb. 25.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office can call (231) 591-2888 or visit the sports complex box office during normal business hours, which are Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) with extended hours on Wednesday's until 7 p.m.
In addition, the Ferris State Athletics Department has announced plans for a bus trip to Ann Arbor for the series finale on March 2. Ferris State will offer a charter bus and possibly two depending on demand for fans interested in traveling to the contest at Yost Ice Arena. The game will mark FSU's final regular-season tilt in the 42-year history of the CCHA. The departure time is to be announced for the 7:35 p.m. (ET) puck drop.
The cost for the trip is $25 for current FSU students with ID or $35 for adults, which includes the game ticket and the bus ride. Fans should call the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 as soon as possible to reserve seats on the motor coach transportation.
The Bulldogs open their final regular-season series against the Wolverines on March 1 at Yost Ice Arena. Both weekend games are set to be televised nationally with the Friday night opener live on CBS Sports Network and the regular-season final being aired live on Fox Sports Detroit.
Earlier this year, the Bulldogs skated to a 5-0 series-opening win over Michigan inside FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena (Nov. 30) before battling to a 3-3 overtime draw against the Wolverines the following night (Dec. 1) in Big Rapids.