The Ferris State men’s ice hockey team moved into sole possession in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) standings as junior left wing Mike Embach’s (Orland Park, Ill.) third-period goal gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 series-opening victory over Nebraska-Omaha Friday (Nov. 14) evening at the Qwest Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb.

Ferris State improves to 5-3-3 overall this season and is now 4-1-2-0 in the CCHA as a result of the win. The triumph over the Mavericks represents the Bulldogs’ third in the last four series meetings to date.

Junior center Aaron Lewicki (Livonia) gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of action. Lewicki tallied his team-leading sixth goal of the year with 12:31 remaining in the first period as his shot from the right side of the UNO net behind the goal line caromed off goaltender Jeremie Dupont’s skate. Sophomore defenseman Scott Wietecha (Wolverine Lake) and senior left wing Brendan Connolly (Canmore, Alberta) assisted on the goal.

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Freshman goaltender Taylor Nelson's 29 saves helped the Bulldogs move into sole possession of second place in the CCHA standings.
In the second period, Nebraska-Omaha took advantage of back-to-back FSU penalties with a pair of power-play lamplighters to claim a 2-1 lead. Tomas Klempa pulled UNO into a 1-1 tie with the Bulldogs at the 10:30 mark during a five-on-three skater advantage for the Mavericks. Then a little over a minute later, Nebraska-Omaha would convert on another power-play opportunity and gain the upper hand as Nick Von Bokern scored to put the hosts up by a 2-1 margin.

However, Ferris would overcame the deficit with 3:19 left in the stanza on a power-play marker of its own as sophomore center Nate Hennig (Macomb) registered his first collegiate goal. Hennig netted the Bulldogs’ second marker of the game with a nifty top-shelf shot from just outside the crease. Lewicki skated into the UNO zone and fired a cross ice pass to Scott Wietecha, who skated into the right circle before shooting the puck into the slot area where senior right wing Justin Lewandowski (Naperville, Ill.) was able to tip it to Hennig for the goal.

Ferris State, which was outshot 16-4 in the second period, came out in the third period with constant offensive pressure as the Bulldogs would post a 13-7 shots advantage in the final 20 minutes of the contest. The game winner would come after Embach battled for a loose puck near the UNO goal and was able to shelve the puck past Dupont with 11:53 left in the game. Embach's second goal of this season represented the first game-winning lamplighter of his career. Sophomore defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) and Hennig both garnered an assist on the Embach’s game-winning tally.

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Seniors Brendan Connolly (#9) and Justin Lewandowski (#27) each picked up an assist on two of FSU's three goals in the series-opening victory.
Embach achieved game first-star status while freshman goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan), who turned away 29 shots for the Bulldogs, received second-star recognition. Dupont made 24 saves for UNO, which managed a 31-27 shots advantage over Ferris.

Hennig along with Lewicki and Wietecha also posted multiple-game point performances. The Bulldogs finished one-of-four in power plays while the Mavericks made good on two-of-seven chances.

To date, Ferris State is 4-1-3 in its last eight outings and is now in second place behind Miami (Ohio) in the current CCHA standings with 10 league points.

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