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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rough weekend for Bulldogs

By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer

Ferris State came back with limited success against Robert Morris over the weekend, losing the first game 6-3 and skating to a 4-4 draw the following night.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Friday night with a Justin Lewandowski goal that came on the power-play at 8:52 in the opening period.

Colonial defenseman and Wayne State transfer Matt Krug answered back less than two minutes later, which was the first of four power-play goals for Robert Morris.

Ferris State added another just before the end of the first when sophomore Scott Wietcha scored his first goal of the season from Casey Haines and Mike Embach to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead going into the middle stanza.

In what was the only goal of the second period, Nathan Longpre of Robert Morris scored the equalizer just before the midway mark but his night was far from over. The third period saw Longpre finish off a pass from Chris Margott and Denny Urban with the man-advantage that gave the Colonials their first lead of the game.

Lewandowski notched his second goal of the night at the 13:05 mark to tie things up, but it was all Robert Morris after that. Krug added another two scores to complete the hat trick, with a lamp-lighter by Margott sandwiched between.

Goaltender Pat Nagle collected 24 saves for the Bulldogs, compared to Wes Russell’s 20 for the Colonials.

Saturday’s contest wasn’t kind to Ferris State either, as they spent most of the night playing-catch-up to their counterparts.

Ferris State struck first when freshman Chad Billins scored his first-ever collegiate hockey goal less than two minutes into the game, which came with an extra skater.

Special teams worked to the advantage for Robert Morris through the rest of the period, as Chris Kushneriuk (another WSU transfer) and Kyle Burton generated two power-plays goals within four minutes to take control of the game.

Longrpe added an insurance goal with 15:15 gone by, which came courtesy of Margott and Jake Obermeyer (ex-MTU Husky) while the Colonials were shorthanded.

Kushneriuk took a feed from Jason Towsley to make it a 4-1 game on a power-play marker with 7:16 gone by in the second period.

Senior center Brendan Connolly gave the Bulldogs a second wind with his goal six minutes later, which was assisted by forwards Derek Graham and Blair Riley.

Corey Couturier capitalized on the momentum shortly thereafter and blasted the puck past Russell to bring Ferris State within a goal.

In the last minute of the game, Bulldogs head coach Bob Daniels pulled netminder Taylor Nelson and replaced him with an extra attacker. With 42 seconds left, Wietcha and Riley hooked-up with junior Aaron Lewicki to force sudden death. Though neither team scored in the extra frame, Ferris State’s tie prevented them from being swept in a non-conference set.

The Bulldogs were scoreless in three chances on the power-play, while Robert Morris converted on three of seven opportunities.

In his second career start, Nelson finished with 17 saves.

Ferris State (1-2-1 overall) begins their CCHA regular-season schedule this Friday when they head to Kalamazoo for a 7:35 faceoff with Western Michigan. The series concludes with game two in Big Rapids on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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