#6 Bulldogs Shutout Michigan Tech To Wrap Up League Series In Upper Peninsula
Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally sixth-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team got back on track and received a complete-game shutout from sophomore reserve goaltender Charles Williams in recording a 3-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) road win over Michigan Tech on Saturday (Jan. 25) night in Houghton.
The Bulldogs earned the weekend split against the Huskies while extending their league lead to four points with the triumph at the MacInnes Student Ice Arena on the MTU campus. The victory snapped a three-game Bulldog losing skid and was FSU's third win over Michigan Tech in four matchups this campaign.
Ferris State, which suffered a close 3-2 setback to the host Huskies in Friday night's matchup, rebounded nicely with the three-goal win on Saturday evening. The previous three matchups between the two teams this year had all been decided by a single goal.
FSU opened the scoring 8:31 into the opening period as senior forward Andy Huff scored a power-play goal on a rebound try in front of the Michigan Tech net. It marked Huff's third goal in three games and was the eventual game-winner. Junior winger Justin Buzzeo notched his 14th assist of the season while freshman defenseman Ryan Lowney earned his ninth helper of the year on the first goal of the night.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 2-0 at 10:27 of the second period when sophomore forward Dakota Klecha tallied an unassisted goal in a four-on-four situation for his first lamplighter of the year. His score came on a backhand shot to the top shelf after stripping the puck away near the blueline.
Ferris State took its two-goal lead into the final period and sealed the triumph when freshman forward Jared VanWormer recorded his first career goal at 11:16 of the final frame. He finished off a backdoor play by putting the loose puck in the back of the net with assists credited to the senior combination of forward Justin DeMartino and defenseman Scott Czarnowczan.
Williams earned his first start for the Bulldogs in net since Oct. 18 in place of one of the nation's winningest netminders in junior CJ Motte and stopped all 25 Husky scoring chances in moving to 1-2-0 overall in net this season. He had nine saves in the initial frame followed by 10 in the second and six in the third while posting his first career shutout.
Meanwhile, MTU's Jamie Phillips dropped to 3-6-1 on the year and finished the night with 22 saves, including seven in the first, five in the second and 10 over the course of the final 20 minutes of play.
Both teams finished the night with 25 shots apiece with the Bulldogs recording a game-high 11 shots in the final frame.
The penalty kill played a key role in the Bulldogs' victory as FSU held Michigan Tech scoreless in six tries with the man-advantage. FSU had nine penalties for 18 minutes with the Huskies called eight times for 16 minutes in the box. Ferris State capitalized once in six tries with the extra skater.
In addition to the penalty situation, the Bulldogs also had to overcome the loss of a pair of forwards in the opening period as both TJ Schlueter and freshman Seth Adams went down early due to injury and did not return.
With the victory, Ferris State moved to 18-6-3 overall on the season and now own a league-leading 13-3-2 mark in WCHA play. Michigan Tech fell to 8-14-6 on the year and 6-8-4 in conference action.
This weekend's series against Michigan Tech came in the Bulldogs' first trip to Houghton since 1995. Saturday's game, which took place before a crowd of 2,955 fans, was the Huskies' fourth in a row versus FSU as Michigan Tech had a bye weekend prior to the two-game home set since last facing the Bulldogs in Big Rapids on Jan. 10-11.
The Bulldogs have totaled 28 points to date in WCHA play this season and own a four-point lead over second place Minnesota State with 10 games remaining in the conference schedule.
Ferris State is idle next weekend and won't resume play 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.