Ferris State Hockey Caps Off Weekend Sweep In Alabama By Winning Third-Straight Overall

Ferris State Hockey Caps Off Weekend Sweep In Alabama By Winning Third-Straight Overall

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team completed a weekend road sweep and ran its winning streak to three consecutive games with a 3-2 victory on Saturday (Feb. 21) night over Alabama Huntsville at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Bulldogs beat the Chargers for the eighth time in the last 10 matchups and the third-straight time this season as they improved to 14-18-1 on the year and 11-13-0 in the WCHA.

The victory came after a 2-1 Bulldog triumph in the opening game of the weekend on Friday night and kept FSU in contention for a potential first-round home ice spot in the WCHA Playoffs in March.

Ferris State, which officially clinched a league tournament postseason berth with Friday's triumph, fell behind early in the series' finale as Alabama Huntsville scored the opening goal of the night 12:19 into the first period. Jeff Vanderlugt tallied his sixth marker of the campaign by scoring on a rebound shot on the power play with the assist credited to Chad Brears for his 10th helper of the year.

However, FSU answered quickly as senior forward Dom Panetta registered his third goal of the year and second in as many nights with a lamplighter on a shot that found the back of the net past goaltender Carmine Guerriero. The unassisted goal came at 16:59 of the first frame.

The score remained tied at a goal apiece until midway thru the middle frame when the Bulldogs took their first lead of the night. Sophomore forward Kyle Schempp picked up his ninth goal this season as he put the puck past Guerriero on a scrum in front of the net following a quick flurry of Bulldog shots. Freshman Tyler Andrew tallied his fifth assist on the go-ahead goal for FSU.

Ferris State took the 2-1 lead into the final period of action and pushed the advantage to two goals when junior defenseman Sean O'Rourke scored his second goal this season on a slap shot from the left circle 3:10 into the final frame. It would prove to be the eventual game winner and was aided by sophomore forward Gerald Mayhew, who notched his 11th helper of the year.

Alabama Huntsville made things interesting down the stretch as the Chargers cut the margin back to a single goal when Alex Carpenter picked up his third goal of the season at 10:08 of the final period. His goal came on a shot that squeeked past FSU senior goaltender CJ Motte with the puck loose in the crease and was assisted by Matt Salhany, who recorded his sixth helper of the year.

The Chargers eventually pulled Guerriero down the stretch for the extra skater, but could not get the tying goal as FSU preserved the victory.

The Bulldogs held a 29-27 edge in total shots on the night, however UAH held a 13-7 advantage in the final period as the Chargers tried to knot the game back up. FSU outshot Alabama Huntsville 11-9 in the first period and 11-5 in the middle frame.

Motte made 25 saves in net for FSU while picking up the win for his 62nd career victory, moving him within a single decision of matching former goaltender Mike Brown's school-best mark of 63 wins by a Bulldog netminder. The senior captain had eight saves in the opening period and five more in the second before totaling 12 in the third.

On the Charger side, Guerriero finished with 26 saves, including 10 in each of the first two periods of action and six more in the third.

Penalties hurt the Chargers as UAH was called for nine infractions totaling 29 minutes in the box compared to FSU's seven penalties for 14 minutes. The Bulldogs, though, were not able to convert on six power-play tries while the Chargers finished one-of-five with the man-advantage.

An announced crowd of 1,934 fans were on hand as the Chargers dropped to 8-20-4 overall and 7-16-1 in league play. UAH had won four-straight league home games prior to the back-to-back setbacks against the Bulldogs.

By virtue of his game-winner, O'Rourke was chosen as the game's first star. Schempp received the second star and Motte took home the third for the Bulldogs.

With the two wins, Ferris State remains sixth in the WCHA standings with 22 points, but trails only Bemidji State and Northern Michigan by a single game or two points for the fourth and final home-ice playoff spot with four games left in the regular season.

The Bulldogs return home to host Bemidji State in their final WCHA regular-season home series next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28, at the Ewigleben Ice Arena. Tickets are on sale now at StarTickets.com or call 1-800-585-3737. The Saturday finale will serve as FSU's annual "Senior Night" with this year's class slated to be honored prior to the contest.

The top four teams at the end of the regular-season will host a first-round best-of-three series in the WCHA Playoffs on March 13-15. In addition to hosting the Beavers next week, FSU then closes out the regular-season at Lake Superior State on March 6-7.