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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bulldogs place third in Catamount Cup

By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer

Ferris State began the New Year out on in Burlington, Vermont, and returned with a modest gain after last weekend’s third-place showing at the 13th annual Catamount Cup.

In Friday’s game against St. Lawrence University, the Bulldogs were in a rut leading up to the midway point of the second period. The Saints had their offense clicking, as they scored four goals off 12 shots on Ferris State goaltender Pat Nagle.

The Bulldogs however, did not go down easy, as winger Casey Haines notched his fourth goal of the campaign, courtesy of defenseman Matt Case with 9:21 gone by in the period.

Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels made a crucial decision in the third period by pulling Nagle in favor of freshman Taylor Nelson, which turned out to be the spark his team needed. After the Bulldogs yielded a power-play goal by St. Lawrence five minutes into the stanza, they responded with some scoring of their own. Forwards Derek Graham and Justin Menke both lit the lamp on the man-advantage to bring Ferris State within two.

In the final minute of the third, Daniels took a gamble by replacing Nelson for an extra attacker. Fortunately, this move also proved successful as center Aaron Lewicki beat netminder Alex Petizian with 41 seconds left, thanks to some help from Case and Menke.

However, the Bulldogs could not score the equalizer in the game’s waning moments, and fell short of their comeback in a 5-4 loss.

Nagle and Nelson combined for 27 saves, compared to Petizian’s 30.

The roles were reversed in the consolation game, as Ferris State ended-up in the driver’s seat this time around, only to deal with a strong push by Colgate to force overtime.

For the second time in as many nights, Haines was the first Bulldog to score, this time on a set-up by Corey Couturier and Zach Redmond on the power-play just two minutes into the game.

At the 7:40 mark, Ferris State added an insurance goal when Case and Redmond fed the puck to Graham for another power-play conversion.

The Bulldogs’ 2-0 margin quickly dissipated toward the end of the first period, thanks to a sudden offensive surge by the Raiders’ David McIntyre. After scoring at the 18:47 mark, McIntyre slid the puck past Nagle again 49 seconds later to draw even.

Ferris State regained the lead at 4:59 in the second off a goal by sophomore Mike Embach, only to have Colgate’s Francois Brisebois answer back 10 minutes later.

Since neither team could score in overtime, both teams skated to a 3-3 tie. However, because this was a tournament, a shootout was needed to determine the third-place winner.

In the first round, both teams converted, with Peter Bogdanich scoring for the Raiders and Blair Riley for the Bulldogs.

Following a scoreless second round and a missed opportunity for McIntyre in the third, it came down to one final shot for Ferris State. With the pressure on, Lewicki beat goaltender Alex Evin by going glove-side, thus earning the Bulldogs their finish.

Nagle held a slight advantage in saves over Evin, 32-31, and is now 5-6-2 this season as a starter.

The Bulldogs (9-9-4 overall) return to their conference schedule this Friday and Saturday night with a home-and-home series against Western Michigan.

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