Ferris State Comes Up Short In Quest To Reach Title Game In First-Ever GLI Appearance

Ferris State Comes Up Short In Quest To Reach Title Game In First-Ever GLI Appearance

Detroit, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team saw its quest to reach the championship game of the Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) at historic Joe Louis Arena in the Motor City fell just short on Sunday (Dec. 28) night as the Bulldogs suffered a 2-0 setback to the Michigan State Spartans.

The Bulldogs gave up only a single goal to the Spartans early in the second period it what was essentially a one-goal game until MSU added an empty-netter with less than a minute to play to account for the final margin.

With the setback, Ferris State, which is making its first-ever appearance in the 50th anniversary of one of college hockey's oldest and most prestigious holiday tournaments, will now face fellow Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) member and host Michigan Tech on Monday (Dec. 29) at 3:30 p.m. (ET) in the third-place game at The Joe. MSU advances to face another Big Ten member in Michigan in the title game at 7 p.m. with the action on Fox Sports Detroit Plus and carried across the country on Fox College Sports Atlantic.

The two teams battled thru a scoreless opening period in Sunday's second semifinal with MSU holding a slim 12-9 edge in shots in the first period.

Early in the second frame, the Spartans broke the scoreless deadlock when Brent Darnell tallied the eventual game-winner on a top-shelf shot fired from between the circles, which just escaped the reach of Bulldog senior goaltender CJ Motte. Darnell's shot was assisted by Rhett Holland.

While the Bulldogs were not able to find the net, they did produce scoring opportunities as FSU held a 31-29 edge in total shots for the game. The Bulldogs totaled 10 shots in the second frame and 12 in the third while limiting MSU to nine shots in the middle period and eight over the final 20 minutes of action.

However, the 1-0 score stood until the final minute when FSU pulled Motte for the extra skater and the Spartans took advantage of Ferris State's empty net with the final goal coming from Thomas Ebbing with 58 seconds left in the contest. Mackenzie MacEachern and Joe Cox produced the assists.

The Bulldogs had four opportunities with the man-advantage as MSU was called for six penalties totaling 12 minutes in the box, but FSU finished 0-of-4 on the power play. Michigan State was also unable to score in two tries with the extra skater as the Bulldog penalty kill stood up to the task. Overall, FSU has only four infractions for eight minutes on the night.

A crowd of 16,455 fans were on hand as the Bulldogs played their first contest inside Joe Louis Arena since the 2009-10 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Tournament. It also marked FSU's third matchup of the season against the Spartans.

Motte suffered the loss in net for FSU despite making 27 saves in 59:13 of action. For MSU, Jake Hildebrand earned the victory with 31 stops in 60 minutes of play.

With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to 9-8-1 overall this season and Michigan State improved to 7-9-1 on the season.

Ferris State will meet Michigan Tech for the third time this year in Monday's third-place game. The nationally fifth-ranked Huskies won a pair of one-goal games versus FSU at the Ewigleben Ice Arena earlier this year (Oct. 24-25) and is coming off a 2-1 setback to Michigan in Sunday's first matchup at the GLI.

Following Monday's third-place game, the Bulldogs will venture to Alaska for four games over a one-week span as FSU squares off against both the Alaska Nanooks and Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves as WCHA action resumes beginning on Jan. 2-3 in Fairbanks. The next home action for Ferris State is not until Jan. 16-17 when the Bulldogs host Minnesota State in league play at Big Rapids.