By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer
Ferris State made sure that they didn’t return empty-handed from their trip to the Great Plains last weekend by splitting their CCHA set with Nebraska-Omaha.
But there was more on the line for the Bulldogs than usual, as their performance in the series moved them into a second-place tie with the University of Michigan in the conference standings behind Miami.
A victory seemed inevitable for Ferris State in the first game, as an Aaron Lewicki goal in the opening period was erased by the Mavericks’ two power-play markers at the midway point of the second.
Luckily for the Bulldogs, they were able to catch a break minutes later when J.P. Platisha of Nebraska-Omaha was called for a tripping penalty. This was one of four power-play opportunities on the night for Ferris State and they made full use of it. With 16:41 gone by, defenseman Scott Wietcha and forward Justin Lewandoski set-up freshman Nate Hennig for his first collegiate goal to even-up the score.
In the third period, winger Mike Embach scored the game-winning goal at the 8:07 mark with the help of defenseman Zach Redmond and Hennig to make it a 3-2 game.
Freshman goalie Taylor Nelson stopped 29 shots in his fourth start of the season, while his counterpart Jeremie Dupont had 24 saves.
The Bulldogs were in a similar come-from-behind situation the following night, when captain Cody Chupp’s first period goal was answered back by two Mavericks’ goals.
It took just over four minutes in the third period for Ferris State to get momentum back on their side, as junior Corey Couturier tied the game at two-all by finishing off a pass from linemates Casey Haines and Derek Graham.
The Bulldogs fell short of their sweep when Nebraska Omaha’s Jeric Agosta scored the game-winner at 6:27. With eight seconds remaining in the game, Matt Ambroz added an insurance goal to give the Mavericks a 4-2 win.
Netminder Pat Nagle collected 27 saves for Ferris State, compared to Jerad Kaufmann’s 21 at the other end of the ice.
With the series split, the Bulldogs are now 5-4-3 overall and have put together a 4-2-2 record in conference play.
After playing the last two weeks on the road, Ferris State returns to Big Rapids for a two-game set with Alaska at 7 pm this Friday and Saturday.