KALAMAZOO, Mich. — For the second night in a row, No. 14 Ferris State and Western Michigan needed a shootout to decide to a winner.
The Bulldogs and Broncos skated to a 1-1 tie, with Western Michigan winning the shootout 1-0 to pick up the extra point in the CCHA standings. WMU’s shootout goal was scored by senior Jared Katz on Senior Night at Lawson Ice Arena.
The Broncos’ penalty kill was able to stop a great Ferris power play, which is second in the conference, to hold the Bulldogs to one-for-11 on the power play, including three times with Ferris on a five-on-three advantage.
“I thought it [penalty kill] was exceptional,” Western Michigan coach Jim Culhane said. “Three five-on-three’s. Obviously, not happy with the number of penalties, but I’m really pleased with the way we killed their power play.”
The Bulldogs got a goal while they were on one of the five-on-three power plays when Blair Riley passed the puck in front of WMU goaltender Riley Gill and the pass was shot in the net by Matt Case for his fifth of the season. Riley’s assist was his 17th of the season and Cody Chupp also picked up his 19th assist of the season on the goal.
Ferris State coach Bob Daniels was a little frustrated the Bulldogs couldn’t score more with so many power-play chances.
“In the second period, I think we outshot them 31-10, so I was pretty confident the way we were playing,” Daniels said. “I really felt as the game went on we got stronger and we weathered the emotion, but we just couldn’t find the answer to solve Riley Gill.”
Gill stopped 41 out of 42 shots, including 17 in the third period and three in overtime in his final home game as a Bronco. Ferris outshot WMU 42-20 for the game.
“That was pretty fun, you know,” Gill said about Senior Night. “I think the only goal they had was off our defender’s skate and the refs tried to give it to them a little there, but our PK was great. Three five-on-three’s and any time you give that and win or tie is a good team effort and I think that’s what we did tonight. Good team effort.”
Western Michigan sophomore right wing Kyle O’Kane had the lone Broncos’ goal when he put a in a rebound of his own shot at 14:52 into the first period. Freshman defenseman Matt Tennyson fired a shot from the point, which was saved Ferris State goalie Pat Nagle. O’Kane picked up the rebound, which was saved by Nagle, and then his second rebound shot went into the net for O’Kane’s fourth goal of the season.
The Broncos will open up the CCHA Playoffs with a best-of-three series against No. 17 Alaska in Fairbanks starting Friday night. Western Michigan beat the Nanooks 3-1 on Dec. 12 and the two teams tied the next night and the Broncos have been focusing on the post-season since they were swept by Bowling Green on Jan. 22 and 23.
“Our motto has been the past month ‘treat every weekend like the playoffs,’” WMU senior defensman Tyler Ludwig said. “We’re kind of geared up for the playoff atmosphere and Alaska, we got stuck there last year, so it’s kind of a home away from home.”
The Broncos were stuck in Fairbanks last season after bad weather in Seattle delayed their flight from Fairbanks to Seattle.
Ferris State is the No. 3 seed in the CCHA Playoffs and received a first-round bye.