Big Rapids, Mich. - A third-period goal from Michigan Tech's Reid Sturos lifted the Huskies to a 3-2 win over sixth-ranked Ferris State in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action on Friday (Jan. 24) night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich.
The two teams opened the two-game weekend set by playing their third one-goal game in as many matchups this season, but the Huskies prevailed at home after the Bulldogs had previously captured a pair of wins over MTU in Big Rapids two weeks ago (Jan. 10-11).
Michigan Tech, which was idle last weekend and hadn't played since the two-game series at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena, fought back twice from a one-goal deficit in the game to notch the triumph.
Ferris State opened the scoring late in the opening period as senior forward Andy Huff broke the scoreless deadlock with his fifth goal of the campaign. Sophomore defensemen Travis White and Brandon Anselmini both recorded assists on the initial goal of the night.
However, Michigan Tech responded only 10 seconds later when David Johnstone evened the contest up at a goal apiece at 16:24 of the opening frame. Blake Pietila and Brad Stebner earned the helpers and the scored remained 1-1 following the opening period of play.
In the second frame, Ferris State regained the lead only 1:58 into the stanza as freshman Chad McDonald fired a loose puck in the crease and found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the year to give FSU a 2-1 advantage. Junior winger Justin Buzzeo and freshman forward Kyle Schempp both recorded assists on McDonald's go-ahead goal.
The Huskies took advantage of a Bulldog penalty a little over midway thru the second period with Reid Sturos notching his first collegiate goal on a redirected power play shot at the 12-minute mark to tie the game back up. Shane Hanna tallied the first assist with Pietila posting his second point of the evening with the second assist as the two teams remainded deadlocked after two periods.
Ferris State killed off a big 5-on-3 Michigan Tech power play that lasted nearly two minutes early in the third period, but the Huskies scored the eventual game-winner 8:45 into the final frame on Sturos' second goal of the game. He capitalized on a Bulldog turnover in the FSU zone and scored the lamplighter from the left side on an upstairs shot that got by Bulldog junior goaltender CJ Motte. Pietila had the lone assist as he finished the game with a helper on all three Michigan Tech goals.
The Bulldogs had several opportunities down the stretch, but also played the final 90 seconds of the game short-handed and could not score the game-tying goal as the Huskies prevailed.
Michigan Tech posted a slim 33-30 edge in total shots for the game, which included a game-high 19 in the second period. The Bulldogs limited MTU to only seven shots in both the first and third frames, but Ferris State's production trailed off as the game went on. FSU had 14 shots in the first period followed by nine in the second and seven in the final 20 minutes of action.
The Bulldogs were not able to score in five opportunities with the man-advantage while MTU finished one-for-seven on the power play. Ferris State was called for eight penalties totaling 16 minutes with the Huskies whistled six times for 12 minutes in the box.
Motte dropped to 17-4-3 overall in net this season for the Bulldogs with the setback. He played the entire 60 minutes between the pipes and made 30 saves for FSU. Meanwhile, Michigan Tech's Jamie Phillips improved to 3-5-1 after stopping 28 Bulldog scoring chances.
The loss was Ferris State's third-straight as the Bulldogs fell to 17-6-3 overall and 12-3-2 in WCHA action. The Bulldogs continue to hold a two-point lead over second place Minnesota State in the league standings although FSU now owns only one game in hand.
Michigan Tech moved to 8-13-6 on the year and 6-7-4 in the WCHA with the victory before a crowd of 2,504 fans in Houghton. The contest marked FSU's first game versus the Huskies in the Upper Peninsula since 1995.
The two teams will square off again on Saturday (Jan. 25) night for the fourth and final time in regular-season action with the puck drop set for 7:07 p.m. (ET) on the Michigan Tech campus.
Saturday's game can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com staring with pregame coverage at 6:30 p.m. (ET).
In addition to the live radio broadcast, Bulldog fans with Charter Cable in Mecosta County can also watch the video feed on Channel 97 or Channel 22 on the FSU campus. A pay-per-view video webcast is also available thru WCHA TV on America One and linked at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
Following Saturday's tilt, the Bulldogs are idle until Feb. 7-8 when they return to home ice to face Northern Michigan at the Ewigleben Ice Arena. Advance tickets for the NMU series are currently on sale and moving fast as less than 200 tickets remain for the series' finale on Feb. 8. Tickets can be purchased in person thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office, online at StarTickets.com or by calling (800) 585-3737. Please call (231) 591-2888 for more information.