WOLVERINES TURN IN DOMINANT PERFORMANCE TO SPOIL FSU'S HOME FINALE
A dominant performance was put on display by nationally-ranked Michigan Friday (Feb. 27) evening as the Wolverines accounted for all of the game's final five goals to notch a decisive 6-1 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) victory over Ferris State before a sellout crowd at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
|J.T. Dahlinger pressures Michigan's Chad Langlais for the puck in Friday's regular-season home finale loss to the nationally-ranked Wolverines. (Photo by Scott Whitney)|
As a result of the regular-season home finale loss, Ferris State's quest for home ice in the opening round of the 2009 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Playoffs is still up in the air. The Bulldogs are presently one point ahead of ninth-place Western Michigan, which skated to a 5-2 home decision over Bowling Green State in its Friday series opener. A win or a tie by Ferris State at Michigan Saturday (Feb. 28) night would insure home ice as would a loss by Western Michigan to Bowling Green State. Those teams finishing five through eighth place in the final CCHA regular-season standings will host the bottom four place teams in next weekend's (March 6-8) first-round series.
The teams traded goals within the first four minutes of hte opening frame as the Wolverines' Tim Miller tallied just 55 seconds into the contest. Ferris State would answer at the 3:11 mark when sophomore center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) took a pass from junior right wing Cody Chupp (Big Rapids) in the slot and wristed a shot pass Michigan goaltender Bryan Hogan's stick side. Senior left wing Brendan Connolly (Canmore, Alberta) notched his team-leading 26th point this season with an assist on the Menke goal.
The tie didn't last for long as Louie Caporusso converted on a UM power play at 7:43 to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage and the lead for good. Carl Hagelin would make it a 3-1 contest with 3:27 remaining in the first period of play.
|Ferris State goaltender Pat Nagle and the Bulldogs faced 43 shots on goal by the high-powered Wolverines' offense. (Photo by Scott Whitney)|
The Wolverines, who would outshoot the Bulldogs by a 43-to-23 count, would tack on two more scores in the second period with lamplighters by Matt Rust at 9:07 and a Brian Lebler tally at 10:42. Following UM's fifth goal of the game, the Bulldogs called timeout and sent in freshman goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) to spell sophomore Pat Nagle (Bloomfield).
The Wolverines, who improved to 25-10-0 overall and 19-8-0-0 in the CCHA with the win, produced the third period's lone goal with 5:08 to go on Lebler's second of the night.
Nagle, who earned the starting assignment for the Bulldogs, finished with 13 stops in 32:02 of action. Nelson turned aside 24 shots in the final 27:50, which featured 17 third-period saves. UM netminder Bryan Hogan concluded the contest with 22 saves in a winning effort.
For Ferris State, which is now 12-16-7 overall this season and 9-13-5-2 in CCHA action, the setback marked their fourth straight to date.
Prior to the regular-season home finale tilt, the Bulldog hockey program paid tribute to its five 2008-09 senior student-athletes - defenseman Evan Case (Grosse Pointe Woods), left wing Brendan Connolly, right wing Corey Couturier (Traverse City), right wing J.T. Dahlinger (Grosse Pointe Park), and right wing Justin Lewandowski (Naperville, Ill.).