The Ferris State University men's ice hockey squad was featured in Wednesday's (Feb. 1) Detroit Free Press. Below is the story by Free Press Sportswriter George Sipple. The story can also be found online at this link:
FERRIS STATE SURPRISING THE CCHA AGAIN
By George Sipple
Detroit, Mich. - The Ferris State Bulldogs moved into sole possession of first place in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association after sweeping Michigan State last weekend. The Bulldogs (17-8-3) were picked to finish ninth by the coaches in the CCHA preseason poll. Free Press sports writer George Sipple spoke with coach Bob Daniels about his team's success and what it needs to do to reach the NCAA tournament for the second time in school history.
On moving into first place: "It's very exciting, but it's tempered with the knowledge that the league is so tight right now. You can go from first place to sixth place in one weekend. We're very proud of the fact that at this point in the season, both on a national basis and a league basis, that we're one of the top teams."
On going 6-0-2 in January: "What's interesting about that is we're getting a lot of contributions from different areas. Early on, when we were playing well, we were getting a lot of offensive production from Jordie Johnston and Matthew Kirzinger. As of late, it's come from Derek Graham and Kyle Bonis. It seems like it's been a real team accomplishment. Sometimes you look and say, a couple individuals seem to be carrying a team. Right now, this is truly a team accomplishment with different people stepping up."
On what needs to happen to get to the NCAA tournament: "We're going to need get good goaltending, and our goaltending has been terrific all year long from both Taylor Nelson and CJ Motte. Right now, our league is so good and the teams are so close, if you don't have good goaltending, you don't have a chance."
On being picked ninth by the coaches in the preseason: "We had Pat Nagle and Zach Redmond leaving, so there's two All-Americans from last year that left our program. I think people said we're losing two All-Americans, and the league should be good. Sometimes you concentrate more on what a team lost and not necessarily what they may have coming back."
On senior forward Johnston leading the team with 15 goals this season after scoring 10 in his first three seasons combined:"First thought is, it's about time, because I see it every day in practice. I see how talented he is. It was confounding for a long time of why it wasn't materializing in the games. To see it happen now, the true surprise is why didn't this happen earlier because he is that talented."
On senior goalie Taylor Nelson (11-4-1, 2.26 goals-against average) bouncing back after going 0-2-0 with a 3.10 GAA in four games last season: "Last season he just started to try to hard, started to press. It reminded me of a golfer who wants to do really well and reaches back for an extra 5 yards on their drive and all of a sudden they lose their swing and can't get it back. He lost his technique last year. At times he was out of control. He's always technically been a very good goalie. I never observed him giving up. He's a very competitive individual. He stayed last summer and worked all summer with our goalie coach. Just getting his movement back. Just going back to the basics and drilling muscle memory in again. From Day 1 in practice this year he looked like a totally different goalie."