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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the second time in Ferris State history, the Bulldogs have advanced to an NCAA Regional final game after a thrilling 2-1 victory against Denver at the Resch Center.

The Bulldogs improved to 23-11-5 overall with the triumph and will now move on to the second round for the first time since 2002-03.

After a scoreless first period, senior forward Jordie Johnston netted the game's first goal. He was in front of the net as sophomore forward Garrett Thompson skated around the back with the puck and passed it to Johnston. Junior forward Matthew Kirzinger also received an assist on the second period goal.

The score would remain 1-0 until 2:54 into the third period when Bulldog rookie defenseman Simon Denis netted his first collegiate goal on a powerful wrister from the hash marks. Junior forward Eric Alexander (Kentwood) and sophomore forward Cory Kane earned the helpers on the goal.

Denver answered back at the 5:22 mark of the third period as Drew Shore scored on a back-hander to put the Pioneers on the board to trim the margin to 2-1.

That score would hold up for the rest of regulation. Senior netminder Taylor Nelson made 25 saves in the win for the Bulldogs. On the other end of the ice, Sam Brittain made 32 saves for the Pioneers, who ranked second in college hockey with seven national titles all-time heading into this year's tournament.

Neither team was able to tally a power-play goal as Denver went 0-for-4 and the Bulldogs were 0-for-3 on the night. FSU was punished for five penalties for 10 minutes in the box. The Pioneers served eight minutes of penalty time on four infractions.

The Bulldogs advance to the NCAA Regional final and will play Cornell, which beat Michigan in the first round on Friday.

Saturday's regional final is slated for a 9 p.m. ET start and will be televised nationally live on ESPNU.