Weekly Notes-CCHA Tournament Quarterfinals: Ferris State at #15 Western Michigan

Weekly Notes-CCHA Tournament Quarterfinals: Ferris State at #15 Western Michigan

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CCHA Quarterfinal Series Video Preview      

This Week:
CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round Series

at #15 Western Michigan
Friday, Saturday, & Sunday-If Necessary (March 11-13) -- 7:05 p.m. (ET) 
Lawson Ice Arena (3,667 capacity) - Kalamazoo, Michigan

Live Game Statistics: Friday | Saturday | Sunday (If Necessary)
Live Video Webcast: Bronco Insider
Television: None
Radio Broadcast: Bulldog Sports Network (BSN) - 1460 AM and 107.7 FM 
                      Dominic Hennig | Dan Kowalski Listen Live

The Opening Faceoff: The 2010-11 Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will begin their quest for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association's (CCHA) Mason Cup as league tournament champions this weekend (March 11-13) in a best-of-three quarterfinal-round series at nationally 15th-ranked Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich. The puck will drop for the opening two games at 7:05 p.m. (EST) and Sunday's tilt, if necessary, will also begin at 7:05 p.m. (EDT).  Ferris State enters the series as the league tourney's fifth seed while the Broncos are seeded fourth.    

Media Coverage: A live video and audio webcast for this weekend's (March 11-13) CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round series at Western Michigan is available through Bronco Insider.  A live internet audio broadcast on the Bulldog Sports Network (BSN) will be available via UStream.   

2011 CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round Tickets: Tickets for this weekend's (March 11-13) CCHA Tournament Quarterfinal-Round series at Western Michigan can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office until this Wednesday (March 9) at 5 p.m. (EST).  Please call (231) 591-2888 between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (EST) weekdays.  The cost is $16 per person for each game and cash/check only will be accepted.  A block of seats in sections 20 and 22 have been designated for Bulldog Hockey fans at Lawson Ice Arena.  Fans may also purchase their tickets through the WMU Ticket Office by calling 1-888-WMU-TIX or ordering online at www.wmubroncos.com.

The Records: Ferris State is 17-14-5 overall and compiled a 12-12-4-3 (fifth place -- 43 pts.) in the CCHA regular-season play this season.  The Bulldogs gained a CCHA Tournament First-Round series bye as a result of their fifth-place finish following a 1-0-1-1 mark in a regular-season finale series (Feb. 24-25) against Ohio State at OSU's Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.  FSU posted a 1-0 shootout victory after skating to a 2-2 overtime tie with the Buckeyes in a series-opening tilt (Feb. 24) and then registered a 3-1 triumph in the regular-season finale (Feb. 25).  Ferris State, which is 8-7-2 on the road this campaign, is listed among other teams receiving votes in this week's (March 7) U.S. College Hockey Online.com (USCHO) poll.  The Bulldogs produced a 21-13-6 overall record for the 2009-10 season, which included a third-place 13-9-6-4 CCHA ledger.  Ferris State went on to make its first appearance in the CCHA Championships since the 2002-03 campaign.  

Western Michigan, which was idle this past weekend as a result of receiving a first-round CCHA Tournament bye, is 16-10-10 overall and posted a 10-9-9-5 (fourth place -- 44 pts.) mark in the CCHA this campaign.  The Broncos gained a split in their regular-season finale home-and-home series against nationally-ranked Notre Dame two weeks ago (Feb. 25-26).  WMU suffered a 3-2 home loss to the Fighting Irish in the series opener (Feb. 25) before skating to a 2-0 triumph at Notre Dame in the regular-season finale (Feb. 26) to host the upcoming quarterfinal-round series.  Western Michigan, which is 11-4-3 in home outings this campaign, is presently ranked 14th by Inside College Hockey.com (INCH) while the Broncos are listed 15th in the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.   A season ago, the Broncos finished 8-20-8 overall with a 12th-place 4-17-7-2 mark in the CCHA.

The Coaches: Ferris State - Bob Daniels (Michigan State, 1982), 19th season, 307-348-74 (.472) - (32-26-7 vs. Western Michigan -- 12-15-3 Away, 19-10-4 Home, and 1-1-0 Neutral).  Daniels has the distinction of being the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State history. He was honored as the 2002-03 CCHA Coach of the Year and the Inside College Hockey (INCH) Coach of the Year, but the crowning highlight of his coaching career was being chosen as the recipient of the 2003 Spencer Penrose Award as the ACHA's Division I National Hockey Coach of the Year. He was among three finalists for both the 2007-08 and 2009-10 CCHA Coach of the Year Awards.  Prior to the 2010-11 season, Daniels ranked 15th in victories among NCAA Division I active coaches and was listed 48th place in all-time wins.  Daniels notched his 300th career victory on Jan. 7, 2011, in the Bulldogs' 4-1 league triumph at Bowling Green State.

Western Michigan - Jeff Blashill (Ferris State, 1998), 1st season, 16-10-10 (.583) - (0-1-1 vs. Ferris State).  Blashill became the fifth head coach in WMU's history after spending the past two seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10) as the head coach and general manager of the United States Hockey League's (USHL) Indiana Ice.  Blashill, who was a goaltender at Ferris State from 1994-98, served as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs from 1998-2001 with the initial 1998-99 campaign as a volunteer assistant.  Prior to his stint at Indiana, Blashill spent six seasons (2002-08) at Miami (Ohio) in an assistant coach capacity.

Scouting Western Michigan: The Broncos feature 14 skaters with double-figure point totals this season, led by senior center Max Campbell (16-13=29) and freshman forward Chase Balisy (12-17=29).  Campbell ranks tied for 54th place in goals per game (0.44) among the national leaders while Balisy was recently named to the 2010-11 CCHA All-Rookie Team.  Freshman forward Shane Berschbach (7-17=24) along with junior right wing Greg Squires (7-17=24) are also among WMU's top points producers.  Senior goaltender Jerry Kuhn (9-5-6, 2.28 GAA, .913sv%) has appeared in 23 games this campaign and sophomore Nick Pisellini (7-5-4, 2.35 GAA, .901sv%) has played in 17 contests.  Kuhn is listed 17th nationally for best goals-against average, 31st in save percentage, and is tied for 23rd in winning percentage (.600).  Pisellini ranks 22nd in goals-against average, 56th in save percentage, and is tied for 32nd in winning percentage (.562).  Among the national statistical leaders, Western Michigan is 11th in scoring defense (2.39 gpg.), 22nd in scoring margin (0.33), tied for 32nd in scoring offense (2.72 gpg.), 38th in penalty-kill efficiency (81.0), 42nd in power-play efficiency (15.8), 48th in penalty minutes (11.8 avg.), and 49th in combined special teams (46.5).             

The All-Time Series: Western Michigan holds a 66-50-11 lead over Ferris State in an all-time series which dates back to the 1977-78 season.  FSU is 19-37-5 on the road, 30-25-6 at home,and 1-4-0 at neutral sites versus the Broncos.  Ferris State posted a 1-0-1-1 mark against WMU this season (Nov. 19-20) at Big Rapids as the Bulldogs won 3-1 in the opener (Nov. 19) before skating to a 2-2 overtime tie and then coming out on the short end of a 5-4 shootout decision to the Broncos in the series finale (Nov. 20).  FSU is 7-1-5 in its last 13 encounters versus Western Michigan and 10 of those outings have been determined by two goals or less with six resulting in overtime affairs.  The Bulldogs have registered a 6-2-2 mark in their last 10 road outings with the Broncos and are presently midst a four-game (2-0-2) unbeaten string in such encounters.  Ferris State has produced a 4-14-0 record all-time in March matchups, which includes a 2-1-0 away ledger.   FSU is 2-3-0 all-time against Western Michigan in CCHA Tournament competition.

Hobey Baker Award Candidates: Two Ferris State seniors, goaltender Pat Nagle (Bloomfield) and defenseman Zach Redmond has been named as 2010-11 season candidates for the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial Award which is awarded annually to college hockey's top player.  The pair are among 68 candidates for the Award and the popular fan-voting phase is currently open at the Hobey Baker website -  www.hobeybaker.com.  Click on the Vote for Hobey Baker icon and follow the prompts to make a selection from this year's outstanding group of college hockey players.  Nagle presently ranks third among the national leaders in goals-against average (1.97), 10th in save percentage (.924), and 30th in winning percentage (.574).   Redmond is tied for 32nd place nationally in game-winning goals (three). 

Nation's Best: Senior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) continues to lead the nation in short-handed goals with a school-record tying five to date this season.  Embach is currently tied with Tom Rudrud (1982-83), Rod Schulter (1988-89), and Rob Collins (2001-02) for the top Bulldog single-season record holder honor.

CCHA Tournament History: Ferris State presently sports a 22-53-3 (.305) all-time record in CCHA Tournament contests, which includes an 8-47-3 away mark.  The Bulldogs made their fifth CCHA Championship appearance in the program's history last season (March 19-20) to join the 1979-80, 1990-91, 1992-93, and 2002-03 teams as representatives. 

League Tourney Scoring: In its last 14 CCHA Tournament appearances, Ferris State is averaging 2.71 goals per game (38 total) while the opposition has averaged 3.07 goals an outing (43 total) during that period for a 0.36 goals a contest margin. 

Tourney Road Scoring: Ferris State is averaging 2.41 goals per contest (140 total goals) in its 58 CCHA Tournament road appearances while its opponent has scored 4.45 goals an outing (258 total goals) for a 2.04 goals per game differential.

CCHA Tourney Scoring Leaders: Senior center Justin Menke (Shamrock, Saskatchewan) has posted a team-leading six points (1-5=6) in 11 career league tourney appearances.  The Bulldog forward recorded three points (0-3=3) in four tourney outings a season ago.  Pat Nagle has generated a 3-3-0 record in six career appearances, which also includes a 3.00 goals-against average (18 goals allowed) and a .907 save percentage (176 saves).  

Pat On The Back: Goaltender Pat Nagle currently ranks second place among Ferris State's all-time winningest netminders with a 44-40-11 career mark in 98 appearances to date.  The Bulldog netminder is presently 19 victories away from tying Mike Brown's (2001-04; 63-57-7) school-record 63 wins.  

On A Tear: Senior left wing Mike Fillinger (Grand Ledge) has registered a point in seven of his last eight contests to date, which includes a current three-game points streak (1-2=3).  Fillinger, who has notched a point in 15 games this campaign, has chalked up a career season-high 15 points (8-7=15) in 32 games this season.  His previous season best was 13 points (9-4=13) in 31 contests set in the 2007-08 campaign. 

Scoring Leaders: Ferris State presently has 13 skaters with double-figure points totals this season, led by Zach Redmond's team-leading 20 points (7-13=20) in 26 appearances.  Those 13 individuals have combined to produce 80.3% (183-228) of the team's points production and 81.4% (70-86) of the Bulldogs' goal-scoring output this campaign.

Almost There: Mike Embach's 18 points (8-10=18) in 36 games this season is two shy of matching his career single-season high of 20 points (9-11=20) set a season ago in 34 outings.  Embach has recorded at least a point in 15 of his 36 appearances this season, highlighted by a four-game points streak (Feb. 11-19) in which the Bulldog skater produced a combined six points (3-3=6) during that span. 

Close Encounters: Twenty seven of Ferris State's 36 contests this season have been determined by two goals or less, including 25 of the team's last 32 outings.  The Bulldogs have produced an 11-11-5 mark (.500) in those 27 matchups. 

On The Road: The Bulldogs have compiled an 8-7-4 record in away contests this campaign while averaging 1.84 goals an outing (35 total) to the opposition's 1.63 goals per contest (31 total).  FSU has outscored its opponent 16-7 in the third period alone.  Individually, junior defenseman Chad Billins (5-5=10) and sophomore center Travis Ouellette (3-7=10) lead FSU in scoring on the road while skating in 17 and 15 contests, respectively.  Pat Nagle has posted an 8-6-2 record in goal with a 1.70 goals-against average (27 goals allowed) and a .933 saves percentage (373 saves) in his 16 away outings all in a starting role. 

Dominant RedZach Redmond presently ranks 37th place on Ferris State's all-time points leader list with 90 career points (22-68=90) and is listed tied for 24th place in assists.  The FSU blueliner is tied for seventh in goals among the Bulldogs' all-time defensemen while ranking sixth in assists and seventh in points.

CCHA Standings: Fans can view the complete 2010-11 CCHA Standings at this link - CCHA Standings.  The composite 2010-11 league schedule can be accessed at this link - CCHA Schedule along with overall and league statistics - CCHA Statistics

CCHA Preseason Polls: Ferris State was picked to finish seventh in the 2010-11 CCHA Coaches Preseason Poll with 64 points.  The Bulldogs received 546 points in the media poll to place sixth among the 11 conference teams.  Points were awarded on a 12-11-10-9, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end.

CCHA Preseason Honors: Zach Redmond has been selected a 2010-11 CCHA Preseason All-Conference First-Team member in voting conducted by the league's 11 head coaches.  Redmond was among six individuals to achieve first-team laurels as coaches weren't allowed to vote for their own players.  The 6-2, 205-pound blueliner registered a career season-best 27 points on six goals with 21 assists, which tied career season highs, in 40 contests for the 2009-10 campaign.  Redmond, a three-time CCHA Defenseman of the Week pick a season ago, attained honorable mention accolades on both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Teams.  Pat Nagle garnered second-team laurels after registering a 12-10-3 record with a 2.13 goals-against average (53 goals allowed) and a .923 saves percentage (636 total saves) as a starter in 24 of 26 outings a season ago. 

Well-Deserved Recognition: Zach Redmond has been named to Inside College Hockey.com's (INCH) 2010-11 Preseason All-America Third Team and was of six individuals to receive such recognition as announced on Oct. 7.  The selections were made by Inside College Hockey editors and staff, with input from the media and coaches from around the country.  Redmond was also tabbed a 2010-11 CCHA Preseason All-Conference First-Team honoree.   

Top Dog: Zach Redmond has been selected Ferris State's team captain for the 2010-11 season and is the 39th individual in the program's history who will be wearing the captain's 'C' on his jersey.  He was drafted in the 2008 National Hockey League's (NHL) Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers with the 184th overall pick in the seventh round.  

2011 Frozen Four: Tickets for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Frozen Four scheduled for April 7 and 9, 2011 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., are available for purchase by visiting www.NCAA.com/frozenfour, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1 (800) 745-3000.   Each all-session ticket includes the two semifinal games on Thursday, April 7, and the national championship game on Saturday, April 9.  For more information on the 2011 NCAA Men's Frozen Four, visit www.NCAA.com/frozenfour.

2011 CCHA Championship Weekend: The 2011 CCHA Championship will be held March 18- 19 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.  The weekend event commences Thursday, March 17, with the annual CCHA Awards Show presented by RBC Financial Group at Fox Theatre from 7:30-9 p.m. (EST).  The semifinal contests get underway Friday, March 18, at 4:35 p.m. (EST) and 8:05 p.m. (EST), respectively.  The CCHA Championship Game is set for Saturday, March 19, at 7:35 p.m. (EST) preceeded by the CCHA Third-Place Game at 3:35 p.m. (EST).  Please click on this 2011 CCHA Championships link for more information. 

Bulldog Hockey Twitbook: All Ferris State Bulldog Hockey fans now can have access to additional information on the 2010-11 team via Twitter at twitter.com/FerrisHockey

On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics' official web site can be found at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com. The site features information on all of FSU's varsity athletics programs including rosters, statistics, yearbooks and more.