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Shootout goals from Blair Riley and Chad Billins guided the Ferris State Bulldogs to a win over Western Michigan University.
The point from the shootout is the lone point Western Michigan has taken from Ferris State this year. Earlier this season they lost both halves of a home-and-home series against the Bulldogs.
â€œI thought we played more of a complete game tonight than maybe we did at Christmastime,â€ said Western Michigan head coach Jim Culhane. â€œWe played a full 65 minutes tonight.â€
The Broncos were led by goals from brothers Cam and Ryan Watson and big play from junior goalie Jerry Kuhn as they were outshot by the Bulldogs 49-28.
â€œSure, we would have liked to have won that thing in regulation or overtime and got three [points] and stayed with [Michigan] State, but I can’t fault the guys with the effort level that we gave,â€ said Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels. The Kuhn kid in net deserves a lot of credit. Boy, did he ever play well.â€
Kuhn played a great first period, despite giving up a goal early to put the Bulldogs up 1-0. As the Western Michigan defense collapsed on Kyle Bonis behind Kuhn, Travis Ouellette found himself open in the slot and one timed a pass from Bonis past Ouellette.
Minutes before that, Ferris State freshman Matthew Kirzinger walked around the Western Michigan defense before getting stoned by Kuhn as he tried to slide the puck underneath him. Kuhn again came up big with thirteen minutes left in the frame when Ferris State captain, Cody Chupp, passed to Bonis during a 2-on-1.
Ryan Watson tied the game up at one just 40 seconds after Ouellette opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. Watson shoved a rebound past pat Nagle to get Western Michigan on the board.
In the second period, Cam Watson put Western Michigan in the lead by deflecting a slap shot from the point by Matt Tennyson past Nagle.
But the Bronco lead wouldn’t survive. Just two minutes into the third period, A quick shot by Chupp clanged off the post and into the twine to tie the game again.
Neither team could muster a decent scoring opportunity in the tightly contested overtime frame.
In the shootout, it was all Ferris State. The Bulldogs scored on their first two shots while Western Michigan’s Kyle O’Kane shot wide and Max Campbell shot right into Nagle for an easy save. Riley scored on a quick wrist shot and Billins deked to his backhand before sliding the puck under Kuhn.
With the two points from the shootout win, Ferris State has secured a bye in the first round of the CCHA playoffs. It is the first time the Bulldogs have earned a bye under the current CCHA playoff format.
Western Michigan (8-16-7 overall, 4-17-6-1 in the CCHA) and Ferris State (19-11-5, 13-9-5-4) will meet in Kalamazoo tomorrow at 7:35 p.m. To wrap-up their season series.