Ferris State and Western Michigan opened their CCHA schedules against each other last weekend in a home-and-home series that had the host team win on their respective night.
The Bulldogs fired first in Friday night’s game, when assistant captain Blair Riley scored his third goal of the season on the power-play with 13:11 gone by in the opening period. Helping set up the marker were defensemen Zach Redmond and Scott Wietcha.
For nearly the next two periods, Ferris State was able to hold onto their lead until Broncos head coach Jim Culhane pulled goaltender Jerry Kuhn with just over a minute left in regulation. With an extra skater on the ice, defensemen Kevin Connatuton and Tyler Ludwig set-up senior Patrick Galivan for the game-tying goal at the 18:50 mark.
Neither team was able to score during the extra session, which prompted a shootout. Western Michigan winger Cam Watson beat Ferris State goaltender Pat Nagle to score the game-winner and give the Broncos a 2-1 win. While the shootout victory gives Western Michigan two points in the conference standings, the game will be recorded as a 1-1 tie in the NCAA record-books.
Kuhn racked-up 39 saves, while Nagle finished with 18.
The second game didn’t need any extra time, as the Bulldogs won 5-2 in front of 1,699 fans at the Ewigleben Arena in Big Rapids.
Within the first three minutes of the game, Ferris State’s Aaron Lewicki scored a pair of goals with the help of senior forward Brendan Connolly. The Bulldogs took advantage of a Travis Paeth hooking penalty to add another to the scoreboard just past the midpoint of the opening period. Junior captain Cody Chupp was credited with the lamp-lighter, which came courtesy of Wietcha and Redmond.
In the middle stanza, Ferris State extended their lead when Redmond fed the puck to winger Casey Haines for a shorthanded goal that put them ahead by four.
Chupp enjoyed his second goal of the evening with just 1:20 gone by in the final period, thanks to some help from linemates Riley and Justin Menke.
The Broncos broke their scoring drought at the 7:12 mark, when Ludwig found an open Chris Clackson for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Watson worked his magic again about a minute-and-a-half later after finishing off a pass from Clackson and freshman Greg Squires.
For the second night in a row, Kuhn edged out Nagle in the saves department, 31-29.
Western Michigan is now 1-4-0-0 overall and 0-1-1-1 in conference play. The Broncos have a chance to improve that record when they travel to East Lansing this Friday to take on the Michigan State Spartans. The two teams meet again the following night in Kalamazoo.
Saturday’s win puts Ferris State at the .500 mark with a 2-2-2 overall record and are 1-0-1-0 in the CCHA. The Bulldogs look to get on the winning side when they host Lake Superior State University this Friday and Saturday.