FERRIS' HOCKEY SEASON CONCLUDES WITH CCHA PLAYOFF LOSS
Nebraska-Omaha netted the first three goals and would never look back en route to a 5-2 decision over the Ferris State men’s ice hockey team Saturday (March 7) evening in game two of a first-round Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Playoff series at the Qwest Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb.
|Ferris State's Aaron Lewicki (#12) and Mike Embach (#26) try to get the puck past Nebraska-Omaha goaltender Jerad Kaufmann in Saturday's league playoff contest.|
The series-clinching victory by UNO advances the Mavericks to next weekend’s (March 13-15) quarterfinal round while the setback eliminates Ferris State from the post-season league tournament.
The loss concludes Ferris State’s 2008-09 season as the Bulldogs finish with a 12-19-7 overall record. FSU wrapped up league play a week ago as the Bulldogs registered a ninth-place 9-14-5-2 CCHA mark.
Nebraska-Omaha Matt Ambroz put the host team on the board with 1:06 remaining in the first period on a one-timer from the high slot. Ambroz converted during a Maverick power play as his shot went top shelf beating sophomore goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) to the stick side. Ambroz’s power-play lamplighter represented his second such tally in this weekend’s playoff set. Earlier in the frame, Ferris State was denied two point-blank chances to score as UNO netminder Jerad Kaufmann came up with the key save which were part of his six stops in the opening 20 minutes. On the other side, Nagle faced 14 shots on goal in the initial stanza.
The Mavericks would control most of the second-period action with back-to-back tallies two minutes apart to open the stanza. UNO’s Dan Charleston fed a pass from the side of the Bulldog net into the slot to Joey Martin, who blasted the puck into the upper portion of the Ferris goal. UNO’s third goal would come 1:59 later as JJ Koehler’s one timer was able to get through between Nagle’s pads. The game stayed at 3-0 until the 7:16 mark when the Bulldogs struck as senior left wing Brendan Connolly (Canmore, Alberta) tallied his ninth goal of the season on a tip in. Senior right wing Justin Lewandowski (Naperville, Ill.) set up the FSU scoring play by chipping the puck up the ice from his zone to junior center Aaron Lewicki (Livonia), who was able to chase down the puck down along the right boards inside the UNO zone. Lewicki then skated around the Mavs goal before putting the puck toward the crease area which Connolly was able to put in on the back door. However, Nebraska-Omaha would get the FSU score back with 4:56 left in the period as Joey Martin scored his second of the night by getting a stick on the puck right in front of the Bulldog goal to give the hosts a 4-1 cushion after 40 minutes of play.
The teams exchanged goals in the third period with the hosts getting a short-handed score from Eddie Del Grosso at 10:55 into the frame to go up 5-1, but Ferris answered just under a minute later as Connolly potted his second of the game and team-high tying 10th of the season with 8:19 left on a Bulldog power-play situation. Junior defenseman Matt Case (Plymouth, Minn.) fired a shot from the point which came off the UNO goalie’s pad and Connolly was there by the crease to swat the puck into the Mavs’ goal to make the score 5-2. Aaron Lewicki also earned a helper on the FSU goal for his second assist of the night.
|The playoff series elimination loss at Nebraska-Omaha represented the final collegiate appearance for senior right wing Corey Couturier, one of five Bulldog senior skaters.|
Nebraska-Omaha would end the game by outshooting Ferris State 35 to 20. Pat Nagle (7-11-3) was on the losing end despite turning aside 30 shots on goal in the game, including 13 in the first period followed by 10 in the second. Jerad Kauffmann made 18 stops in a winning complete-game performance for the Mavericks.
The game represented the final appearance for seniors Justin Lewandowski, J.T. Dahlinger (Grosse Pointe Park), Corey Couturier (Traverse City), and Brendan Connolly, who achieved second star of the game recognition. Evan Case (Grosse Pointe Woods) suffered a season-ending injury at Michigan a week ago and didn't participate in this weekend's first-round playoff series.