PREVIEW: #6 Ferris State Heads Back To The UP To Face #14 LSSU
UP NEXT IN BULLDOG HOCKEY:
at #14 Lake Superior State
Friday & Saturday, Dec. 6-7 – 7:37/7:07 p.m. (ET)
Taffy Abel Ice Arena - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
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The Opening Faceoff: The nationally sixth-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team continues an eight-game stretch away from home this weekend as the Bulldogs square off in Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) play against the 14th-ranked Lake Superior State in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The series gets underway on Friday (Dec. 6) night at 7:37 p.m. (ET) with the finale on Saturday (Dec. 7) set for 7:07 p.m. (ET) at Taffy Abel Ice Arena.
Media Coverage: Both weekend contests will be carried live by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with Dominic Hennig and Dan Kowalski calling the play-by-play action. Pregame coverage begins a half-hour prior to puck drop. The online broadcast is accessible at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. All links, including live video along with live internet statistics, will be available on the online home of Bulldog Athletics.
Broadcast Coverage: A live HD video and audio pay-per-view webcast will be available for all 2013-14 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season league games along with non-league home matchups thru a new conference agreement with WCHATV & America One. Links will be available on FSU's Athletics Website at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
The Records: Ferris State owns a 11-2-2 overall mark to date this year and is first in the WCHA with a 8-0-2 league record. The Bulldogs swept Alabama-Huntsville in their first-ever WCHA series (Nov. 1-2) before beating Bemidji State twice (Nov. 8-9) in the first conference home series. FSU then captured three of a possible four points against second-place Bowling Green (Nov. 15-16) before wrapping up a six-game homestand by sweeping Alaska (Nov. 22-23). Last weekend, FSU recorded a road win at Northern Michigan on Friday (Nov. 29) by a 4-1 score before skating to a 1-1 tie in overtime on Saturday (Nov. 30).
Lake Superior State is currently tied for third overall in the WCHA standings with a 9-4-1 overall record and 5-3-0 league slate. The Lakers have played two less conference games than the two teams at the top of the standings in FSU and Bemidji State. Last weekend (Nov. 29-30), LSSU posted a pair of identical 4-3 home wins over Bowling Green State. The Lakers have won three of their last four outings to date this year.
The Coaches: Ferris State - Bob Daniels (Michigan State, 1982), 22nd season, 361-380-86 (.489) – (19-30-10 vs. LSSU – 9-17-5 Away, 10-12-5 home and 0-1-0 neutral). Daniels has the distinction of being the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State history. He was honored as the Spencer Penrose Award winner as the American Collegiate Hockey Association's (ACHA) Division I National Hockey Coach of the Year in both 2003 and 2012 in addition to claiming CCHA Coach of the Year honors both times. He was among three finalists for both the 2007-08 and 2009-10 CCHA Coach of the Year Awards. Daniels led the Bulldogs to their first-ever appearance at the Frozen Four and second-ever CCHA Regular-Season Championship title two years ago.
Lake Superior State - Jim Roque (Lake Superior State, 1987), 9th season, 129-150-46 (.468) - (9-6-6 vs. Ferris State). Jim Roque became the ninth coach in the 42-year history of Lake Superior State hockey in June of 2005. He is the second former Laker player to take the helm of the LSSU program. Roque was a member of the LSSU coaching staff when it won the 1988 NCAA crown and he recruited the majority of the 1992 title team. He has played a role in all five NCAA Tournament appearances and was part of two CCHA playoff titles and two regular-season titles..
Series History: Ferris State and Lake Superior State will face off for the 124th and 125th times this weekend as they have been playing against each other since 1980. The Lakers hold a 66-43-14 advantage. In the last 34 outings, the Bulldogs are 15-12-7 ...... The two teams split a pair of matchups a year ago in Sault Ste. Marie with the Lakers earning a 4-1 victory in the opener (11/9/12) before FSU responded with a 2-1 triumph in the finale (11/10/12). The Bulldogs captured four of a possible six pointsin 2011-12 gainst LSSU.
Did You Know? Ferris State is currently one of six teams nationally that has already reached the 10-win plateau along with Quinnipiac, Minnesota, Providence, Massachusetts-Lowell and Clarkson. FSU and LSSU are the WCHA's lone-ranked teams heading into this weekend's series.
Important Fact: Ferris State's current 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2) is the nation's longest active streak this year. The Bulldogs' 10 wins to date are the second-most in the country and FSU now holds a seven-point lead over second place Bemidji State in the league standings after this past weekend's action.
National Rankings: Ferris State continues to rank sixth nationally in this week's United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) National Poll released on Monday. Additionally, Ferris State is also seventh in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll. Ferris State was ranked for 37 consecutive weeks dating between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons at one stretch and was ranked first in the nation during the memorable 2011-12 season. The number six national ranking represents the Bulldogs' highest placing in the poll since finishing second overall in the final 2011-12 USCHO.com Division I poll announced after FSU's historic appearance in the national championship game at the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four.
Home Ticket Information: Single-game tickets for all FSU home contests this season are currently on sale and can be bought online at StarTickets.com, by calling 1-800-585-3737 or purchased in person at the FSU Athletics Ticket Office. The ticket office will be open inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) along with extended hours on Wednesday until 7 p.m. (ET). Fans can save and avoid potential lines by purchasing in advance. For more ticket information, fans can visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com or call (231) 591-2888.
The Opponent: Lake Superior State is currently ranked 14th in the country and tied for third overall in the WCHA standings with a 9-4-1 overall record and 5-3-0 league slate. The Lakers have played two less conference games than the two teams at the top of the standings in FSU and Bemidji State. Last weekend (Nov. 29-30), LSSU posted a pair of identical 4-3 home wins over Bowling Green State. The Lakers have won three of their last four outings to date this year.
Bulldog Notebook: Ferris State's game-tying goal in the Bulldogs' recent overtime tie with Bowling Green was first on the NCAA's Top Five Plays of the Week announced two weeks ago ..... The Bulldogs rank fifth in the nation in scoring at 3.73 goals per game. FSU is also sixth nationally in scoring margin to date (1.40) along with 17th in combined special teams (52.5%) ...... FSU's CJ Motte holds the nation's best winning percentage (11-0-2) for goalies this season ..... Bulldog senior captain Scott Czarnowczan is tied for ninth among the nation's top scoring defensemen with 13 points this year while freshman Kyle Schempp is 19th in points per game for rookies with 12 points (6-6-12) .... Bulldog sophomore winger Matt Robertson has notched a goal in five-straight games to date, including the Bulldogs' lone marker of the night in last Saturday's overtime tie at NMU ..... Ferris State has taken 18 of a possible 20 points to date in league play and has yet to lose a conference contest in its debut season in the WCHA ..... FSU entered last Saturday's series finale at Northern Michigan leading the country in the RPI and pairwise rankings, which help determine the NCAA Tournament field at the end of the season ....... The Bulldogs now own a current 5-1-1 mark in road action to date this season.
Statistics Notes: FSU's Kyle Schempp and Garrett Thompson are tied for second overall in conference play in scoring with 10 points each. Meanwhile, the trio of Justin Buzzeo, Scott Czarnowczan and Jason Binkley are all midst a tie for fourth place. FSU has five of the top 10 point producers in WCHA action to date.
Both Matt Robertson & Schempp are tied for fourth in the WCHA in goal scoring with five goals in league action to date. Meanwhile, Binkley is tied for the WCHA lead with seven assists in conference action while both Thompson and Czarnowczan rank tied for fifth with six each.
Schempp's three power-play goals in WCHA play are tied for the second-most in the league with Robertson's two ranking fifth .... Ferris State freshman Chad McDonald is tied for first in conference play with two short-handed points (1-1-2).
Both Binkley and Czarnowczan rank tied for first in defenseman scoring among WCHA blueliners with nine points each in conference play. Schempp is the league leader among freshmen with 10 points in WCHA contests while McDonald ranks tied for second with eight points.
CJ Motte is the league and nation's winningest netminder and ranks fourth in the WCHA in save percentage (.925) along with fifth in goals against average (2.16).
As a team, the Bulldogs are first in the WCHA in scoring offense (3.90 gpg.) in addition to third in scoring defense (2.20), fourth on the power play (21.7%) and fourth in combined special teams (53.3%).
FSU has a league-high 15 goals in the first period this season with 12 in the second and 11 in the third to go with one in overtime for 39 conference goals. Ferris State has allowed only two in the initial frame with 11 in the second and nine in the third for 22 WCHA goals allowed.
Penalty Kill: Ferris State racked up seven penalties for 25 minutes in last Saturday's series' finale at Northern Michigan and the Bulldogs' penalty total included three key penalties in the third period. One of them resulted in a five-minute major penalty with the Wildcats owning the man-advantage for nearly all of the overtime session, but the Bulldogs' penalty-kill unit was up to the task and killed it off to preserve the tie.
Familiar Place: This year mared the fourth consecutive season in which the Bulldogs traveled to Marquette to face the Wildcats on the Olympic ice sheet at the Berry Events Center. FSU has now recorded three wins and two ties over the last six matchups versus NMU in Marquette dating back to the 2011-12 campaign. The Wildcats will return to Big Rapids for two games later this season.
Big Homestand: Last weekend's series' wrapped up a six-game homestand for the Bulldogs. The two games against the Nanooks were FSU's final action at home in the 2013 calendar year until the Bulldogs return to home ice on Jan. 10-11 versus Michigan Tech.
Key Captain Note: FSU senior captain Scott Czarnowczan has been named as one of the nominees for the Senior CLASS Award for his accomplishments on and off the ice. The award annually goes to a student-athlete for success on and off the ice. The Bulldogs have had one of the 10 national finalists for the award each of the last two years in Chad Billins and Kyle Bonis.
WCHA Player of Week: For the fifth consecutive week, a Ferris State player has attained WCHA Player of the Week recognition following yet another impressive weekend for the Bulldogs. Veteran Ferris State goaltender CJ Motte, who stretched his season-opening unbeaten streak to 13 games, has been named the WCHA Men's Defensive Player of the Week for the third-straight week. A 6-0, 190-pound junior from St. Clair, Mich., Motte did not yield an even-strength goal in the two complete games on Nov. 29-30. He had a series 0.96 goals-against average, stopped 55 of 57 shots for a .965 saves percentage, and had five shutout periods. Motte had 32 saves in last Friday's 4-1 Bulldog win over the Wildcats, yielding a single PPG with just :11 seconds left to play. He then added 23 more on Saturday in a 1-1 overtime tie. He played a key role on the penalty-kill as FSU was forced to play the latter stage of the third period and nearly all of Saturday's overtime session down a man.
Season Notes: Junior goaltender CJ Motte improved to 11-0-2 in net following last weekend. He currently owns a 2.36 goals against average and .919 save percentage this campaign … The Bulldogs have won five of seven games on the road this season with one tie … Ferris State has tallied five goals or more in six of the Bulldogs' 11 victories so far this year .... Sixteen different Bulldog skaters have combined to record FSU's 56 goals to date this season. In addition, the squad's 91 assists have been earned by a total of 21 individuals … FSU also owns a current 6-1-1 mark to date at home this season.
Scoring Leader: Ferris State's Garrett Thompson ranks as FSU's leading scorer this season to date with 17 points on seven goals and 10 assists. Meanwhile, junior Justin Buzzeo is close behind with 16 points on seven goals and nine assists to date.
First-Round Bye: Ferris State earned a first-round bye in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Tournament last year for the fourth consecutive season and joined Miami as the lone league members to receive a bye in each of the final four years of the CCHA. The Bulldogs posted a 16-16-5 overall record a year ago and placed fifth in the final season of CCHA competition.
Pink In The Rink: Ferris State helped aid an important cause as part of FSU's home-opening weekend festivities by holding the school's first "Pink In The Rink" contest presented by General Mills-Yoplait. The Bulldogs donned pink jerseys for the Saturday (Oct. 19) contest versus St. Lawrence to help raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer. Proceeds from the event went to the local Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer & Wellness fund. The game was made possible thru the generous support of General Mills-Yoplait, which was the exclusive sponsor for the contest.
Preseason Number Two: Ferris State is a unanimous choice to finish second in the its initial campaign in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) as the Bulldogs were picked as the runner-up in the 2013-14 Mankato Free Press WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll unveiled on Wednesday (Sept. 25) as part of the league's media teleconference with all head coaches. The runner-up performance in the preseason coaches poll came on the heels of being the number two choice in a vote of the media released as part of the 2013-14 WCHA Preseason Media Poll, which was conducted and ran thru the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer.
Preseason Honoree: Ferris State junior defenseman Jason Binkley was chosen as a preseason All-WCHA selection by both the coaches and the media. Senior forward Garrett Thompson and senior defenseman Scott Czarnowczan also received votes from the coaches in the preseason voting.
The 36th Division I Campaign: The Bulldogs embark on the school's first-ever season in the WCHA in 2013-14 for the school's 36th year of NCAA Division I hockey. This year's slate features eight home weekends with four new schools scheduled to visit Big Rapids for the first time.
Home Attendance: Seating is again expected to be at a premium for all FSU home contests this season. Last year, in 2012-13, the Bulldogs officially sold out five times and drew more than 2,000 fans for each of their last 10 regular-season home contests in the 2,400-seat facility. Overall, FSU has posted 11 total sellouts at the Ewigleben Ice Arena since the second half of a historic 2011-12 campaign in which the Bulldogs reached the national championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four.
Dawg Pound Sellout: Ferris State has officially sold out its expanded "Dawg Pound" student section for the second consecutive year with more than 600 student season tickets sold this campaign. FSU increased the size and capacity of the student section a year ago due to high demand. The "Dawg Pound" has been labeled as one of college hockey's top student sections.
Good On Nationwide TV: Ferris State received significant regular-season television exposure throughout last season and won three major nationally-televised games in the second half of the year over Michigan State, Notre Dame and Bowling Green prior to an exciting 1-1 overtime tie versus Michigan broadcast across the country in the regular-season finale.
CCHA Goaltender Of Month: Ferris State junior CJ Motte was named the Gongshow Goaltender of the Month in the CCHA of January a year ago. Motte appeared in six games for Ferris State during the month of January, posting a 5-1-0 record with one shutout. His 1.34 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage were tops in the league for January, as he allowed just eight goals and made 148 saves on the month.
Shutting Out UM & MSU: With FSU's 3-0 shutout over Michigan State on Jan. 5 of last year, Bulldog goaltender CJ Motte became the first netminder in school history to post shutouts over both MSU and Michigan at any point in a career. He accomplished the feat by shutting out both schools this season as the Bulldogs were a 5-0 winner over the Wolverines on Nov. 30 in Big Rapids. Overall, Ferris State has now posted four shutout victories all-time against both Michigan and Michigan State. The only other Bulldog netminder to post two shutouts against either team was Pat Nagle, who shutout the Spartans twice in 2010, but did not shutout Michigan.
Hat Trick For Thompson: Current senior wing Garrett Thompson's hat trick on Jan. 5 of last year against Michigan State came nearly a year to the day in which a Bulldog player last recorded three goals in a contest. The season prior, the Bulldogs' Jordie Johnson notched a hat trick in non-league play versus Colgate (1/6/12) at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in a 4-3 Bulldog victory.
Important Fact: Bulldog senior Garrett Thompson registered 23 points in his last 28 outings a year ago after totaling only three points in the initial 10 contests of the season. Nine of his 11 goals a year ago also came during the stretch.
Did You Know?: Ferris State ranked second in the nation in combined special teams at 57.5% thru the end of last year's regular-season. In addition, the Bulldogs' power play was 15th the country (20.8%) during regular-season play and the Bulldogs were 12th on the penalty kill at 85.8%. FSU allowed only two goals on 26 opponent power play tries during the seven games in the month of January.
Team Statistics Notes: FSU's Garrett Thompson registered 26 points a year ago to finish a single point behind departed captain Kyle Bonis' team-best 27 points. Thompson had 11 goals and 15 assists a year ago.
CJ Motte was the goalie of record in 35 of the Bulldogs' 37 contests last year. The season before, he split time with All-America goaltender Taylor Nelson in the beginning of the campaign as Nelson was credited as the wining or losing goalie in 10 games during the first half with Motte charged in the other eight outings before Nelson became the primary goaltender in the stretch run to the Frozen Four.
CJ Motte finished tied for 16th in the country with three shutouts last year. He was 15th in the nation in save percentage (.927) and 18th in goals against average (2.19). His .927 save percentage established a new school single-season record a year ago.
2014 GLI Invitation: For the first time ever, Ferris State received an invitation to compete in the 2014 Great Lakes Invitational (GLI) and will help celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of college hockey's oldest and most prestigious events at historic Joe Louis Arena in Detroit next season as the fields for the next four GLI hockey tournaments were announced recently by Michigan Tech. The Huskies serve as the host of the annual four-team event with Michigan and Michigan State as mainstays in the event. The hockey holiday tradition will have an all-Michigan flavor for the next four years. Western Michigan will join the Huskies, Wolverines and Spartans at this December's outdoor tournament at Comerica Park. Ferris State will then help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GLI when it returns to Joe Louis Arena in 2014. Tech's arch rival, Northern Michigan, has been invited to play in the 2015 GLI. Western Michigan returns again in 2016 as the invitational team.
Facing The GLI Field: This season, in 2013-14, the Bulldogs will face all three other 2014 GLI entrants. FSU squares off against Michigan Tech four times over the course of two seperate weekends in January. The Bulldogs first host the Huskies on Jan. 10-11 at the Ewigleben Ice Arena before returning to Houghton on Jan. 24-25 for a two-game league set. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will also take on both Michigan and Michigan State in the same week as part of its December regular-season schedule. FSU squares off against the Wolverines on Dec. 11 at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor before traveling to battle Michigan State at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing on Dec. 14.
Opening The New WCHA: A new era in the distinguished 62-year history of the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) recently launched the weekend of October 4-6 as nine of the ten league-member clubs hit the ice for their first competition of the 2013-14 season. Ferris State and head coach Bob Daniels' Bulldogs were the only WCHA team engaged in regular season action during the first weekend.
The WCHA Slate: There are a total of 140 WCHA games in 2013-14, with each league-member team playing a total of 28 conference games. Each team will play five other league members four times each and four others two times each. The regular season champion in the men's WCHA is awarded the MacNaughton Cup. The first round of WCHA playoffs will be contested the weekend of March 14-16, a best-of-three series format that will feature the top eight finishers in regular season competition. The No. 1 seed will host the No. 8 seed, No. 2 will host No. 7, No. 3 will host No. 6 and No. 4 will host No. 5.
The WCHA Final Five: Following the first round, the four winners will advance to the 2014 WCHA Final Five, set for March 21-22 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. The two semi-final matchups on Friday will feature the No. 3 seed vs the No. 2 seed at 2:07 pm ET and the No. 4 seed vs the No. 1 seed at 7:07 pm ET. On championship Saturday, the contest for the Broadmoor Trophy and the league's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament will face-off at 7:07 pm ET.
NCAA Postseason Action: The 2014 NCAA Men's Division 1 Ice Hockey Championship tournament will open the weekend of March 28-30 with four regionals. On Friday and Saturday, the NCAA East Regional will be held at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT while the NCAA Midwest Regional will be played at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, OH. On Saturday and Sunday, the NCAA Northeast Regional will be held at DCU Center in Worcester, MA and the NCAA West Regional will be at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. The four regional winners will then advance to the 2014 NCAA Men's Frozen Four (national championship), to be contested Thursday, April 10 and Saturday, April 12 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.
Team Captain: Senior defenseman Scott Czarnowczan will serve as the Bulldogs' team captain in the 2013-14 campaign. He is the 43rd individual in the program's history to sport the captain's 'C' on his jersey.
Fixture Behind The Bench: Head coach Bob Daniels, who was named the National Coach of the Year for the second time in 2011-12, is midst his 22nd year behind the Bulldogs' bench in 2013-14 and owns a school-record 361 career victories.
Tremendous Run: The Bulldogs claimed the school's second CCHA regular-season championship in 10 years during the historic 2011-12 campaign, won the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional title and reached the national championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four.
First Trip To Frozen Four: Ferris State's best season in school history came to a close in the national championship game at the 2012 Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., with a 26-12-5 overall record. It included a first-ever trip to the Frozen Four and a national runner-up finish. The title game appearance marked the first time in school history any Bulldog team had ever competed in a national championship game. FSU won or tied 19 of its final 23 games of the 2011-12 season and had a nation leading 15-game unbeaten streak in 2011-12 along with a number one national ranking in both polls for two weeks in February. FSU's 26 wins were the second-most in school history.
Back In The Mix: A total of 20 letterwinners return for the Bulldogs in 2013-14 from a year ago. While the Bulldogs lost five seniors from last year, including team captain and leading scorer Kyle Bonis, FSU did ink a talented incoming recruiting class featuring seven newcomers. Overall, Ferris State returns seven of its top 10 points leaders from a year ago.
Alumni Success: A record number of more than 20 former Ferris State University skaters signed new professional contracts in the offseason. A year ago, three Bulldogs saw action in the National Hockey League, including NHL First-Team All-Star Chris Kunitz (Penguins), Zach Redmond (Jets) and Greg Rallo (Panthers). Meanwhile, former captain Chad Billins helped lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Championship under the direction of head coach Jeff Blashill, who is also a Bulldog alum and former FSU assistant coach.
On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics' official web site can be found at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. The site features information on all of FSU's varsity athletics programs including rosters, statistics, video, news and more.
2013-14 Bulldog Hockey Ticket Information: Tickets for all 2013-14 Bulldog home regular-season hockey games can be purchased by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231)-591-2888. The FSU Athletics Ticket Office's normal hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. The ticket office will also offer extended hours until 7 p.m. (ET) on Wednesdays throughout the season and be open on hockey home game Saturday's at 12 p.m. (ET). Single-game tickets may also be purchased by contacting Star Tickets at 1-800-585-3737 or online at Star Tickets website: www.startickets.com.
Purchase In Advance: This season, fans can help the Bulldogs welcome new opponents to Big Rapids in the school's first campaign in the WCHA by purchasing tickets in advance for any home contest during the 2013-14 campaign. Fans will be able to save on single-game tickets by purchasing in advance rather than waiting until gameday.