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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Bulldogs play rough with Western Michigan

By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer

Playing the No. 6-ranked team in the country is no easy task, as Ferris State found out themselves this past weekend.

The Bulldogs dropped a 3-1 decision to Western Michigan on Friday night before pulling off a shootout win in a penalty-laden series finale.

Though the Broncos earned four of six points this past weekend, losing Saturday's shootout cost them their spot atop the CCHA standings, where they currently sit a mere point behind Miami.

Western Michigan had a much easier time in the series opener, with Colton Hargrove and Trevor Elias scoring in the first 20 minutes to take a 2-1 lead.

Sandwiched between the Broncos' scores was a power-play marker by Ferris State's Garrett Thompson, whose shot ricocheted off the crossbar before landing inside the net.

It wasn't until 13:51 into the second period that Western Michigan would put the game away, this time with a goal by Dane Walters while on the man-advantage. The duo of Shane Berschbach and Chase Balisy each earned helpers on that play.

Bulldogs' netminder C.J. Motte had 25 saves in the losing effort, while Frank Slubowski finished with 15 stops.

Emotions spilled over into the following night, as 33 penalties were assessed for 115 minutes amongst the two teams, with 16 calls coming in the third period alone.

Senior forward Matthew Kirzinger put Ferris State on the board first with a slap shot from the blue line at the 14:47 mark of the opening frame.

After a scoreless second period, action picked-up in the third, but not before a scrum between both sides occurred with 3:28 elapsed.

Four Bulldogs and three Broncos were pulled aside by officials, with Ferris State freshman Dakota Kletcha earning a game disqualification for contact to the head during the melee.

When play resumed, Western Michigan was able to turn the tides shortly thereafter by netting a pair of goals within a 23-second span, courtesy of Dennis Brown and Mike Leone.

In the final minute of regulation, Ferris State pulled Motte in favor of an extra attacker, resulting in senior forward and captain Kyle Bonis' game-tying goal from the left circle to force the extra session.

With neither squad able to light the lamp in overtime, it went to a shootout where the Bulldogs outscored their counterparts 2-1.

Cory Kane and Bonis were the scorers for Ferris State, while Leone had the Broncos' lone tally.

Slubowski held a narrow edge over Motte in the saves department, 25-23.

Western Michigan (17-6-5 overall, 13-4-3-1 CCHA) plays host to Miami this weekend in a fight for first place amongst the CCHA standings, while Ferris State (13-11-4 overall, 11-9-2-1 CCHA) heads to the Upper Peninsula for a two-game slate against Northern Michigan.

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