April 1, 2012

Ferris State Frozen Four Game Notes & Info

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Complete Game Notes
(PDF)

National Semifinal Game - Ferris State vs. Union
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The  Frozen Four:
The  Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will make its first-ever NCAA  Frozen Four appearance after winning its first NCAA  Midwest Regional  Championship. This year's Frozen Four will be held April 5 & 7 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. Ferris State will be joined by Union, Boston  College and  Minnesota in the Frozen Four. The Bulldogs will face the Union Dutchmen in the first national semifinal game on  Thursday, April 5, at 4:30 p.m. (ET). Minnesota and Boston College will be in the second semifinal game at 8 p.m. (ET).  The winners will meet in Saturday's (April 7)  national title contest starting at 7 p.m. (ET). 

Broadcast Information: Thursday's contest will be televised nationally on  ESPNU and online at ESPN3.com.  It will also be broadcast on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network with Dom Hennig and  Danny Kowalski calling the action. Fans can listen to the live radio broadcast at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

Ferris State vs. Union: Union holds a 4-0 all-time series mark against Ferris State. The Bulldogs last faced  Union on Oct. 12-13, 2007. The Dutchmen earned a sweep by beating Ferris State 2-0 in the opening game and then skating to a  4-1 win.  This season, the Bulldogs own a 7-0 mark versus ECAC schools as they swept Colgate, St. Lawrence and RPI in regular-season action. They then trumped Cornell in the Midwest Regional Final last weekend (March 24) in Green Bay, Wis.

This Side Of The Bracket: Both Ferris State and  Union are without any NHL  draft picks, which is unlike the 18 draft picks on Minnesota's roster, or Boston College, which totes nine players who have been drafted. The 2012 Frozen Four berth marks the first-trip ever to the national semifinals for both Ferris State and Union. On the opposite side, this year's Frozen Four appearance represents BC's 23rd and Minnesota's 20th overall. Similarities that all four schools share is the fact that each squad was their conference's regular season champion, which is the first time that's happened since the 1996 Frozen  Four. All four teams also have a shade of maroon/crimson as one of their official school colors.

Scouting Union: Union's offensive efforts are led by junior forward Jeremy Welsh and senior forward Kelly  Zajac. Welsh has totaled 43 points on a national fourth-best 27 goals and 16 assists. He has tallied nine power play goals this season. Zajac has scored eight goals and leads the team with 34 assists for a 42-point total. Leading the defensive scoring is sophomore Mat Bodie, who has tallied eight goals and 21 assists. In between the pipes for the Dutchmen is Hobey Baker finalist Troy Grosenick. He has the nation's second-best goals against average (1.64) with a .936 save percentage. Grosenick holds a 22-5-3 record in net this campaign. Union has the nation's fourth-best team offense, averaging 3.55 goals per game. Their defense ranks number one in the country and is only allowing 1.80 goals per game. The squad's head coach, Rick Bennett (Providence '90), is in his first season at the helm. 

Season Record: The 2011-12 Ferris State Bulldogs have posted the program's third-best all-time mark with a 25-11-5 record to date this year. The 2002-03 team holds the school's top spot with a 31-10-1 record. The 1979-80 squad under Rick Duffett compiled a 26-11-1 overall record, which marked the Bulldogs first campaign as a member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

Regular-Season Champs: Ferris State claimed the CCHA Regular-Season Championship this season with a first-place 16-7-5 league record. The Bulldogs accumulated 54 league points and outdistanced Michigan and Western Michigan by four points in the title chase.  Both UM and WMU posted 50 league points in finishing second to the Bulldogs.  Ferris State was able to raise the CCHA Regular Season Trophy for the first time since 2002-03 and only the second time in program history.

Midwest Regional Champs: The Bulldogs secured a berth in the Frozen Four by winning the Midwest Regional crown for the first time last weekend at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.  FSU, seeded second, beat third-seeded Denver by a 2-1 score on Friday (March 23) before topping fourth-seeded Cornell by the same score on Saturday (March 24).

Ferris State vs. Minnesota: Minnesota holds a 3-1-1 all-time series edge over Ferris State. Their last meeting was at the Marriucci Classic on Jan. 1, 2011, with the game ending in a 2-2 overtime tie. Current FSU  junior Matthew Kirzinger tallied a goal and had an assist in that game. Current senior Brett Wysopal scored the Bulldogs' other goal. 

Ferris State vs. Boston  College: Ferris State is 0-1-1 all-time versus Boston College. The last meeting was at the  Wells Fargo Denver Cup in Denver,  Colorado. The game resulted in a 3-3 overtime tie. 

NCAA Midwest Regional: In last weekend's opening NCAA  Tourney game against Denver, the Bulldogs posted a 2-1 win. Senior Jordie Johnston netted his 19th goal of the season with Garrett Thompson and  Matthew Kirzinger recording the assists. Rookie Simon Denis netted his first career goal, which proved to be the game winner. Eric Alexander and Cory Kane notched the assists. The score would remain 2-0 until Denver scored 5:22 into the third period to put the Pioneers within one goal. However, the Bulldog defense played strong and FSU  advanced to the regional final. Taylor Nelson made 25 saves.

In Saturday's contest against Cornell, the game remained scoreless until 11 seconds into the third period when  Garrett Thompson netted a power-play. Jordie Johnston and Matthew Kirzinger assisted on the goal. Cornell answered back just over a minute later to tie the game at 1-1. The score was tied until Johnston scored with 6:54 left in the third period. The sophomore duo of Andy Huff and Cory Kane recorded the helpers. Nelson made 22 saves. 
The win over Cornell advanced the Bulldogs to the Frozen Four for the first-time ever.

Special Teams: The Bulldogs were 10-of-10 on the penalty kill last weekend in the Midwest Regional. They converted on one-of-eight power play opportunties. This year, the team has scored 37 power play goals on 193 chances for a .192 conversion percentage. Jordie Johnston leads the team with six power-play goals, followed by Chad Billins and Travis Ouellette with five apeice. Matthew Kirzinger has scored a team-leading three short-handed tallies. 

All-Tourney Team: Four Bulldog student-athletes were named to the NCAA Midwest Regional All-Tournament team last weekend in Green Bay. Senior forward Jordie Johnston's three-point effort helped get his name on the all-tournament list. Johnston tallied the first Bulldog goal in the 2-1 victory against Denver before netting the game-winning goal against Cornell in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship game. He also added an assist in the 2-1 win over Cornell. Johnston now has 20 goals and 16 assists on the season for a team-leading 36 points.

Sophomore forward Garrett Thompson assisted on a goal in the game against Denver before scoring a power-play goal against Cornell. Thompson was named one of three all-tournament forwards. Senior co-captain Chad Billins registered six block shots on the weekend with four in Friday night's win and two in Saturday's victory. He was recognized as a all-tournament Defenseman.

Finally, senior netminder Taylor Nelson made 47 saves last weekend as he stopped 25 Pioneer shots on Friday and made 22 saves in Saturday's win over Cornell. Nelson finished the weekend only allowing one goal in each game and boasted a .959 save percentage. Nelson was not only named the all-tournament goaltender, but also the NCAA Midwest Regional Most Valuable Player.

Sophomores Shine: Each sophomore that got ice time last weekend made a positive contribution in the wins. On each Bulldog goal at the Midwest Regional, at least one sophomore contributed. Garrett Thompson and Cory  Kane each has an assist on the Bulldog goals against Denver. Then, against Cornell, Thompson scored the first goal of the game while Andy Huff and Kane added assists to the game-winning goal. Scott Czarnowczan led the team with eight blocked shots. 

Keeping The CCHA  Alive: Ferris State was the lone Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) team to advance to the regional final last weekend as Michigan, Miami, Western Michigan and Michigan State all dropped opening-round games.  The CCHA  had five of the 16 teams in the tournament field.

Point Streak: FSU's Matthew Kirzinger has tallied a point in each postseason game with a 1-5-6 scoring line. This includes a two-point game against Bowling Green State in the CCHA Quarterfinal's game three. Garrett Thompson has a 2-2-4 scoring line and has tallied a point in all but one postseason outing.

Second NCAA  Berth: The Bulldogs are midst their second-ever NCAA  bid. In the 2002-03 season, the Bulldogs defeated North Dakota 5-3 in their regional opener before bowing out in the regional championship game with a 7-4 loss to Minnesota in the West Regional at St. Paul, Minn.  After two wins in the Midwest Regional last weekend, FSU now owns a 3-1 all-time mark in NCAA  Tourney action heading into the Frozen Four.  FSU made its only other appearance in '02-03 after winning the CCHA  for the first time, which was the Bulldogs' lone league crown until this season.

The Defense: Ferris State is currently ranked tied for fifth in NCAA Division I Team Defense, allowing only 2.17 goals per game. Senior defenseman Chad Billins (Marysville) leads the defense and is third in scoring among the team with 29 points coming from seven goals and 22 assists. Sophomore Scott Czarnowczan has two goals and 18 assists from the blueline. Before the final regular-season weekend series against Western Michigan, the defensive pair had been on a hot streak with Billins tallying at least a point in each of the previous 12 games, including a 1-1 OT tie with the Broncos. Czarnowczan had tallied one point in each of his seven previous games.

The Offense: Jordie Johnston currently leads the offensive production for the Bulldogs with 20 goals and 16 assists on the year. The Bulldogs are ranked 21st among the national leaders in team offense, averaging 2.93 goals per game.

Goaltending: Senior goaltender Taylor Nelson has compiled a 20-6-3 record, including three shutouts, and is ranked ninth among NCAA Division I Goaltending Leaders. He has 62 goals against and owns a 2.10 goals against average along with a .923 save percentage. Freshman goaltender CJ Motte has compiled a 5-5-2 record. He has allowed only 24 goals, with a 1.98 goals against average, in 12 games played. Motte has tallied two shutouts.

Scholar-Athlete Of The  Year: The combination of athletic and academic success achieved by Ferris State University men's ice hockey student-athlete Chad Billins for the 2011-12 season has earned the Bulldog senior the honor of being designated as the CCHA  Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Billins had been one of 11 student-athletes representing their respective CCHA teams to earn team recognition before claiming the league's top overall honor.

All-Conference First and Second  Team: Senior defenseman Chad Billins and senior goalie Taylor Nelson were among six individuals to receive All-CCHA First Team accolades in the 2011-12 season. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' leading scorer, Jordie Johnston, was named to the All-CCHA Second Team this campaign.

Conference Finalists: Senior co-captain Chad Billins, who was a 2011-12 All-CCHA First-Team selection, was up for both the league's RBC Player of The Year honor and was a finalist for Best Offensive Defenseman. Billins tied for first among league defensemen with 18 assists and led the Bulldogs in conference scoring with 25 points overall. Sophomore defender Scott Czarnowczan was a finalist for the Best Defensive Defenseman Award. Czarnowczan led the squad with a plus-16 rating and 65 blocked shots in league action. He is second among team defensemen in scoring with two goals and 18 assists.

Coach of the Year: In his 20th year behind the Bulldog bench, FSU  head coach Bob Daniels was named this year's CCHA Coach of the Year. Daniels was previously honored as CCHA Coach of the Year after the 2002-03 season. This season, Daniels has guided the team to a 25-11-5 overall mark and a 16-7-5 record in the league as they earned the CCHA Regular-Season Title for the first time since 2002-03 and only the second time in program history.

Spencer  Penrose Finalist: Ferris State University men's ice hockey head coach Bob Daniels is presently among seven national finalists for the 2011-12 Spencer Penrose Award, giving annually to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hokcey Coach of the Year. The Spencer Penrose Award is named in memory of the Colorado Springs benefactor who built the Broadmoor Hotel Complex, site of the first ten NCAA championship hockey tournaments. The actual award will be presented at the AHCA Coach of the Year Banquet in Naples, Florida, on Saturday evening, April 28. The AHCA Coach of the Year Awards are chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association and sponsored by FlexCoach, a leader in the creation and distribution of drills and general hockey instruction to coaches across the country.

Preseason Polls: Ferris State was picked to finish ninth in the 2011-12 CCHA Coaches Preseason Poll with 50 points. The Bulldogs received 425 points in the media poll to place tied for seventh 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.

Co-Captains: Senior defensemen Chad Billins (Marysville) and Tommy Hill (Portage) are serving as the Bulldogs' team co-captains in the 2011-12 campaign. They are the 40th and 41st individuals in the program's history to sport the captain's 'C' on their jersey.

Coaching Ties: Ferris State has served as a stepping stone for several coaches currently in the collegiate ranks. Seth Appert of Rensselaer is a current head coach with ties to FSU along with former Western Michigan head coach and current Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Jeff Blashill.  Current assistant coaches with connections to FSU are Trevor Large of Army, Tim Christian of Lake Superior State and Jaime Russell of Providence among others.

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, video and more.

No. 1 National Ranking: On Feb. 14, all three major Division I Hockey polls announced Ferris State as their number one team in the country. In the USCHO.com poll, it marked only the 19th different program to hold the top spot since it's 1997-98 inception. It was also the highest ranking in program history. That same week the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll also had the  Bulldogs in the top spot.

Lowe's Senior CLASS  Award - Senior defenseman Chad Billins of the Ferris State University men's ice hockey team was chosen as a finalist for the 2011-12 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community, and competition. The 10 finalists were narrowed down from a candidate pool of 20 and those 10 individuals will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select the finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of classroom, character, community and competition.

Famulak Recieves Praise: Ferris State Associate Head Coach Drew Famulak has been honored as the 2012 Terry Flanagan Award recipient as chosen by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA).  The honor goes to only one assistant coach across the country each year and recognizes them for their entire body of work.  He will receive the award at the annual convention in April in Naples, Fla. 

CCHA  Tournament Quarterfinals: Prior to winning the Midwest Regional, the Bulldogs were stunned by Bowling Green State in the second round of the CCHA Tournament (March 9-11).  The bottom-seeded Falcons battled to a 3-2 overtime win in game one of the best-of-three series at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena. Saturday's game saw the top-seeded Bulldogs get their offensive stroke back as they forced game three with a 7-4 onslaught of the Falcons. In game three, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first period. The Falcons then scored a goal in the second period to make the score 3-1 after two. Freshman Dan DeSalvo added two goals in the third period to force overtime. DeSalvo scored his third goal of the game 2:31 into overtime, advacing the Bowling Green  State Falcons to the CCHA  Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena. This marked the first time in league history that the lowest-seeded team made it to the semifinal game.  

Goals, Goals, Goals: The four-man junior class has a slight lead on the team as they have contributed 43 of the team's 120 goals, which is 35.8% to date. The goal effort of the juniors is led by Kyle Bonis with 18 goals. The eight-man senior class has chipped in 42 goals, or 35% of FSU's lamp-lighters.  The verterans do own the most scoring as they have combined for 66 assists or 34.4% of total scoring. The sophomores have scored 24 goals, and the rookie class has 11 goals among the six-man class. The sophomores have a 40-37 edge on helpers over the newcomers.

Complete Game Notes (PDF) 

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