Bulldog Hockey Battles #7 Notre Dame In Series' Finale Setback

Bulldog Hockey Battles #7 Notre Dame In Series' Finale Setback

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team battled nationally seventh-ranked Notre Dame before a sellout crowd on Saturday (Jan. 26) night in Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) action, but fell short 5-2 at the Compton Family Ice Arena in South Bend, Ind.

Despite the setback, the Bulldogs managed to split the two-game series' against Notre Dame following Friday's 3-1 win in the opener.  FSU comes out of the weekend remaining in fourth place overall in the league standings.

Notre Dame struck first at 5:53 of the opening period when David Gerths scored his fourth goal of the season from the point after Stephen Johns passed the puck from the bottom of the left circle. Kevin Nugent made the initial pass to Johns for the Fighting Irish.

The Bulldogs quickly recovered as senior center Travis Ouellette notched his eighth goal of the season from the left crease on the power-play only 19 seconds into the second stanza.  Sophomore defenseman Jason Binkley made the pass from the top of the right circle for his 14th assist of the season. Sophomore wing Justin Buzzeo also earned an assist, his fourth of the season.

The remainder of the second period was filled with scoring action as three goals were scored within a five-minute frame.

Junior center Cory Kane scored the Bulldogs' second goal of the night for his seventh marker of the season at 10:03 on a rebound from the right crease after senior center Matt Kirzinger skated the puck through the left circle before making the pass to Kane.  Kirzinger earned his first point of the season on the helper in his second game back off an injury to help give FSU a 2-1 lead.

However, just two minutes later at 12:03, Notre Dame's Thomas DiPauli tied the contest back up at 2-2 on a one-on-one opportunity with the shot coming from the left circle. Stephen Johns and Shayne Taker picked up the assists.

The Fighting Irish took a 3-2 advantage going into the third period when Nugent skated up the left wing and put the puck high on the glove side for his first goal of the season. Sam Calabrese and Mario Lucia earned their second points on the weekend with assists.

Notre Dame pushed its advantage only 57 seconds into the final frame when Lucia gained his second point of the night by registering an unassisted goal from the point.

The fifth and final goal of the evening came off the stick of T.J. Tynan from the left side late in the third period on a power-play with less than two and a half minutes remaining at 17:39. Lucia's third point of the evening, and fourth of the weekend, came off an assist from the right side of the net when he passed the puck to Jeff Costello in the center, who made the pass to Tynan.

Freshman goaltender Charles Williams made 24 saves in his second collegiate start between the pipes for the Bulldogs and played the entire 60 minutes while Steven Summerhays was in net for 59:41 for the Irish and made a total of 22 saves. Notre Dame led the shots for the night by a count of 29-24.

The Bulldogs had seven penalties for a total of 17 minutes and the Fighting Irish also had seven penalties for 14 minutes. The Bulldogs found the back of the net on one out of two man-advantage opportunities and the Fighting Irish converted on one out four power-play tries.

With the setback, the Bulldogs dropped to 13-10-3 overall along with 11-8-1 in the CCHA. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish improved to 16-10-0 overall and now hold a 12-6-0 mark in league play.

This weekend's two games represented the final league regular-season matchups between Ferris State and Notre Dame.

The Bulldogs return home to host Western Michigan in the final CCHA series against the Broncos at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids next weekend (Feb. 1-2).  Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) both Friday and Saturday nights and potential sellout crowds are expected for the rivalry series.

Due to high demand and the fact the Bulldogs have sold out nine of their last 16 regular-season contests dating back to last season, the FSU Athletics Ticket Office will offer expanded hours.  The box office will be open on Sunday from 12-4 p.m. (ET) and also remain open until 7 p.m. (ET) Monday thru Wednesday of this coming week.

Bulldog fans can purchase two tickets for the price of $25 for the Western Michigan series until Wednesday at 3 p.m. or while supplies last.  All promotional ticket purchases must be made thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office in person or by calling (231) 591-2888.