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Sunday, November 24, 2013

FSU finishes homestand with sweep over Alaska

By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer

If the Ferris State Bulldogs are on cloud nine, it's for good reason.

With their latest pair of wins coming at the expense of Alaska this past weekend, the No. 10 ranked Bulldogs are now riding a nine-game unbeaten streak that dates back over a month ago, complimented by their current first-place position amongst the WCHA standings.

The sweep moves Ferris State ahead of the Nanooks in the all-time series (31-30-4) and have now held a 7-2-1 advantage in their previous 10 encounters.

Friday's contest saw the Bulldogs set the tone early, with junior forward Dominic Panetta finding the back of the net with 8:18 elapsed in the first period.

A breakaway goal by sophomore Matt Robertson at 16:55 of the second gave Ferris State a 2-0 lead, followed by defenseman Jason Binkley's marker less than two minutes later.

Just 44 seconds into the final frame, freshman forward Chad McDonald notched his third lamplighter of the campaign off a feed from Scott Czarnowczan and Kenny Babinski to make it a 4-0 affair.

Alaska would respond with a trio of scores by Marcus Basara, Cody Kuynk and Tyler Morley to pull within one of the Bulldogs before Babisnki put the game out of reach on an empty-netter with 32 seconds remaining.

Ferris State goaltender C.J. Motte stopped 41 of 44 shots, including a 16-save effort in the third period alone.

John Keeney took the loss in net for the Nanooks, finishing with 27 saves.

The theme of scoring in bunches carried over into the series finale, where the Bulldogs strung together a three-goal effort in the first period, beginning with Robertson's second in as many nights at the 4:40 mark.

Junior Justin Buzzeo notched his team-high seventh goal of the season nearly two minutes later before senior Corey Kane's power-play marker at 11:33 made it a 3-0 affair at the end of the first.

Special teams helped spur a comeback for Alaska in the ensuing frame, with Colton Parayko scoring on the man-advantage and Kuynk adding another while on the penalty kill.

Kuynk beat Motte once again with 9:55 elapsed to even-up the score at three goals apiece.

Some crafty puck-handling by senior forward Garrett Thompson (pictured above) would account for the game-winning goal minutes later, as Thompson took a feed from Kyle Schempp and chipped the puck in off of Nanooks' netminder Davis Jones from behind the net at 13:02.

Motte nabbed 28 saves to improve to 10-0-1 as starter, while Jones had 25 stops to his credit.

Ferris State (10-2-1 overall, 7-0-1 WCHA) closes out the 2013 calendar year on a six-game road trip against Michigan-based schools, beginning with a two-game slate this weekend when they face Northern Michigan (6-5-1 overall, 4-2-0 WCHA).

(Photo courtesy of Ferris State Athletics)

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