BIG RAPIDS, Mich. -- Seventh-ranked Ferris State kept its Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season championship hopes alive as the Bulldogs opened the final weekend of league play with a 2-1 triumph against Lake Superior State on Friday night inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena.
The Bulldogs entered the weekend opener tied atop the league standings with Minnesota State-Mankato at 38 points each. FSU picked up two more points by virtue of the victory and can earn at least a share of the league's regular-season crown with a win versus the Lakers on Saturday.
Minnesota State also won on Friday night, beating Michigan Tech 3-0 with three goals late in the final period. If both teams are tied in the standings following Saturday night's action, they would share the regular-season crown.
Ferris State opened the scoring late in the initial frame as senior forward Cory Kane tallied the first goal of the night on a Bulldog power play at 14:25 of the opening frame. His 12th goal of the year was assisted by senior captain Scott Czarnowczan along with junior defenseman Jason Binkley as the two blueliners recorded their 14th and 19th assists of the campaign, respectively. Kane's power-play lamplighter came on a strong drive to the net with the puck sliding past the goal line.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead to two goals 9:47 into the second period when freshman forward Kyle Schempp scored the eventual game winner off assists from sophomore forward Dakota Klecha and senior forward Justin DeMartino. His eighth goal of the season was aided by Klecha's third helper of the campaign while DeMartino notched his 10th assist this year. DeMartino fed the puck to Klecha, who took the shot which hit Schempp crashing the net.
No. 1 Minnesota 5, Ohio State 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Minnesota program clinched a first-round bye in the upcoming Big Ten tournament with Friday’s 5-1 win against Ohio State at Value City Arena.
Adam Wilcox made 30 saves in net with five different Gophers tallying goals as Minnesota pulled within one win of the inaugural Big Ten regular-season championship.
The Gophers (24-4-5 overall, 13-2-2-0 Big Ten) scored early and often through the game’s first 40 minutes with Justin Kloos starting the run just 2:03 into the game with his 11th goal of the season. Kyle Rau made it a 2-0 game later in the first at 16:05 with a power-play goal -- his ninth tally this season. Both first period goals were set up by Taylor Cammarata and Mike Reilly.
Cammarata tallied his third and final point of the night with another power-play goal at 10:14 of the second -- this time set up by Mike Reilly and Rau. Mike Reilly finished the night with a career-high three assists and three points while the Minnesota power play went 2-for-4 on the night.
Ohio State (15-12-3, 5-8-4-3) answered with a goal moments later at 10:50 when Tanner Fritz put the Buckeyes on the board, but it was too little, too late for the home squad.
No. 4 St. Cloud State 7, Colorado College 4
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Joey Benik scored a power-play goal with 11 second left in the second period to break a 4-4 tie for St. Cloud State en route to the Huskies' 7-4 victory on Friday night.
The Huskies had a 4-1 lead thanks in part to three quick second-period goals but then gave up four unanswered goals to Colorado College.
Jonny Brodzinski had a hat trick for St. Cloud State while Benik added a pair. Kevin Gravel and Jimmy Murray added a goal each for the Huskies.
Ryan Faragher made 30 saves in net for the Huskies, with 16 of those coming in the third period.
No. 5 Wisconsin 4, Penn State 2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Wisconsin (20-9-2, 11-5-1 Big Ten) dominated the first 35 minutes of the contest before surviving a Penn State (6-23-2, 2-14-1 Big Ten) onslaught during the final 25 minutes to win 4-2.
Mark Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles were the stars of the night for the Badgers. Each tallied a goal and three assists to give the Badgers the final edge in an up-and-down game, and Zengerle’s empty-netter with six seconds left finally put the game away for UW.
There was the usual phenomenal goaltending by Joel Rumpel, who held PSU scoreless over the first 52:04 of the game. The power play continued its late-season awakening, as Michael Mersch found the back of the net on the man advantage to put UW up 1-0 early and earned his 20th goal of the year in the process.
And finally, the UW penalty kill remained stellar, foiling Penn State’s first two power plays to make it 30 successful road penalty kills in a row for the unit.
No. 9 North Dakota 2, Western Michigan 0
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota beat Western Michigan 2-0 on Friday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Goaltender Zane Gothberg made 18 saves in the shutout win. Both of UND's goals came in the second period 18 seconds apart.
Stephane Pattyn and Luke Johnson scored for UND, and Gothberg and the defense held on from there.