Doing it with defense

Bulldogs hockey team secures first-round bye in conference tournament

The Ferris State hockey team secured a first-round bye in the CCHA Tournament for the second consecutive season with two road victories over Ohio State.

The Bulldogs defeated the Buckeyes 3-1 on Friday night, securing five of the six conference points from the weekend series. The Bulldogs topped the Buckeyes 1-0 in a shootout on Thursday night after a 2-2 tie through regulation and overtime.

As a team, Ferris surrendered three goals in two games against the Buckeyes over the weekend, marking the sixth conference series in which the team has allowed three goals or fewer. The Bulldogs rank second in the nation in team defense, allowing 2.14 goals per game.

Hobey Baker Award candidate and senior Bulldog goalie Pat Nagle saved 43 of 46 shots he faced in the series. Nagle leads the nation with a 1.97 GAA and ranks 11th nationally with a .924 save percentage.

With the wins, Ferris improved to 17-14-5 overall and 12-12-4-3 in conference play. The Bulldogs locked up at least fifth place in the CCHA standings and will have a bye in the opening round of the CCHA Tournament.

Ferris is fourth in the standings with 43 points, while Western Michigan has 41 points and is in fifth. The difference between the fourth and fifth seed is significant as the higher seeded team has home-ice advantage in the second round.

The Broncos play at Notre Dame at 7:05 p.m. tonight and can steal the fourth seed in the conference tournament with a win. If the Broncos lose and Northern Michigan upsets Michigan at home, then the Wildcats would secure the fifth seed.

Ferris will either play Western Michigan or Northern Michigan in the second round of the tournament.