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Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally second-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey program recently inked three talented student-athletes from the junior hockey ranks to national letters-of-intent during the fall signing period as the Bulldogs continue to land and develop some of the nation's top incoming talent.
FSU secured commitments from three players who are currently competing in the United States Hockey League (USHL) this season, including a pair of forwards in Tyler Andrew (Washington, Pa.) of the Indiana Ice and the Tri-City Storm's Andrew Mayer (Troy, Mich.) along with defenseman Tyler Dorantes (Waterford), who's currently with the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Ferris State, which currently holds the nation's longest unbeaten streak at 15 consecutive contests while unbeaten and in first place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) this year, has had a long history of success in the past with players who moved up from the USHL.
A year ago, the Bulldogs inked five players from the USHL ranks in the fall signing period and all are currently competing and playing key roles for FSU as freshman this season in Cedar Rapids' Gerald Mayhew (Wyandotte), Kyle Schempp (Saginaw) of Sioux Falls, Muskegon's Chad McDonald (Battle Creek), Seth Adams (Big Rapids) of Des Moines and Ryan Lowney (Redford) of Youngstown.
"We're thrilled to land three more talented players from the USHL and believe they have the ability to help us sustain and build on the success we've had," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels, who's in his 22nd season at the Bulldog helm and is a two-time National Coach of the Year. "This group will fit our system well and will be exciting for the fans to watch as we continue to battle many of the nation's top college hockey teams on a yearly basis."
The 6-5 Andrew has currently played in 20 contests for the Indiana Ice this season and has tallied 14 points on six goals and eight assists along with a game-winning marker. He previously played in 51 games for the Topeka Roadrunners a year ago in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and tallied 20 goals and 23 assists for 43 total points while ranking third among the squad's scoring leaders. Andrew played midget hockey for the Pittsburgh Hornets U16 squad in 2010-11 and totaled 32 points before scoring 22 points in 36 games with the Colorado Thunderbirds U18 team in 2011-12. He was a second team NAHL All-Rookie pick a year ago and drafted in the second round by Indiana in this year's USHL Entry Draft.
Meanwhile, Mayer has appeared in 21 games to date for Tri-City this season with two goals and two assists. He totaled 32 points on 15 lamplighters and 17 helpers for the NAHL's Texas Tornado a year ago (2012-13), including four points in six playoff contests. He spent two years with the franchise and scored nine points on three goals and six assists in 10 regular-season games in 2011-12. Previously, the Michigan native played two seasons for the Honeybaked U18 squad and tallied 35 points on 13 goals and 22 assists in 47 games during the 2009-10 campaign before notching 36 points on 12 markers and 24 assists over 37 games in 2010-11. He helped Texas to the NAHL Robertson Cup Championship two years ago.
Finally, Dorantes is midst his second season with Des Moines in the USHL and has appeared in 17 games this campaign with a goal and an assist. He totaled seven points in 38 games a year ago with a goal and six assists. In addition, he played 32 games in the 2010-11 campaign with Belle Tire at the U16 midget level and recorded 11 points on three goals and eight helpers. In 2011-12, he played U18 hockey for Compuware and notched 10 points with a goal and nine assists in 23 games.
The additions of Andrew, Mayer and Dorantes will help offset the loss of five seniors who are currently playing key roles for the Bulldogs this year in captain Scott Czarnowczan, Garrett Thompson, Cory Kane, Andy Huff and Justin DeMartino.
Together, they've helped the Bulldogs rank as one of the nation's top teams throughout their collegiate careers and were key members of FSU's historic 2011-12 squad that reached the national championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four.
"We will lose a dedicated and hard-working group of seniors, but we're excited about the additions of these three individuals to help fill that void," said FSU associate head coach Drew Famulak, who serves as the program's recruiting coordinator. "They have the potential to challenge for time in the near future and will be a key to our success as we move forward in the coming years."
The Bulldogs, who have a nation-leading and school-record tying 15-game unbeaten streak (12-0-3), are currently second in both the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine National Polls released on Monday. FSU moved up two spots from fourth a week ago in both listings.
This week's number two 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.
Ferris State became the nation's first collegiate team to reach 14 victories this year as the Bulldogs are now 14-2-3 overall this season. They also own an impressive 10-0-2 mark in their debut season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) with a first-place lead at the break. FSU has captured 22 of a possible 24 points to date in league action this season.
The Bulldogs also feature the nation's winningest goaltender in junior CJ Motte, who increased his nation-leading mark to 14-0-3 in net this season with the tie against Michigan and the shutout win over MSU. His 17-game unbeaten start is a school-record and the longest streak in the country.
Ferris State will return to action on Jan. 3-4 as the Bulldogs take part in the prestigious Mariucci Classic hosted by top-ranked Minnesota. FSU will square off against RPI in the opening contest on Friday, Jan. 3, at Minneapolis. The contest begins at 5 p.m. (ET). FSU will then face either host Minnesota or Colgate the following night on Saturday, Jan. 4, at a time to be announced.
FSU will resume conference play at home on Jan. 10-11 versus Michigan Tech inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena. Both contests will begin at 7:07 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids and will mark Ferris State's first home games since mid-November.
Single-game tickets for all 2013-14 home contests are on sale now and can be purchased online at StarTickets.com, by calling 1-800-585-3737 or in person at the FSU Athletics Ticket office located inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex. For more information, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.