January 9, 2014

PREVIEW: #3 Ferris State Back At Home To Face Michigan Tech This Weekend

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vs. Michigan Tech
Friday & Saturday, Jan. 10-11 – 7:07 p.m. (ET)
Ewigleben Ice Arena - Big Rapids, Mich.
 
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Complete Game Notes (PDF)

The Opening Faceoff: The nationally third-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team returns to home ice this weekend (Jan. 10-11) as the Bulldogs resume Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) action against the Michigan Tech Huskies at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids. Both games are slated to get underway at 7:07 p.m. (ET).

Media Coverage: Both games 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 made 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.  Home games are produced by Ferris Television. Links will be available at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

The Records: Ferris State owns a 15-3-3 overall mark to date this year and is first in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) standings with a 10-0-2 league record. The Bulldogs returned from the holiday break last weekend (Jan. 3-4) to claim runner-up honors at the prestigious Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis. FSU topped RPI 6-2 on Friday night before falling to Colgate in the title game 3-0 on Saturday.

Michigan Tech is 7-11-6 overall on the season and owns a 5-5-4 mark in WCHA action heading into the weekend tilt. The Huskies are currently tied for fourth overall in the league standings and are coming off a weekend split at Lake Superior State. MTU fell to the Lakers 4-3 last Friday (Jan. 3) in Sault Ste. Marie before responding with a 3-2 win in the series' finale on Saturday (Jan. 4).

The Coaches: Ferris State - Bob Daniels (Michigan State, 1982), 22nd season, 365-381-87 (.491) – (1-1-0 vs. Michigan Tech – 0-1-0 Home, 0-0-0 away and 1-0-0 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.

Michigan Tech - Mel Pearson (Michigan Tech, 1981), 3rd season – (0-0-0 vs. Ferris State – 0-0-0 Home, 0-0-0 Away, and 0-0-0 Neutral). Now in his third season at the Michigan Tech helm, Mel Pearson earned WCHA Coach of the Year honors in 2011-12 after guiding the Huskies to their second-best two-season stretch in the last 18 years with 29 wins. A year ago, he led MTU to the GLI Championship following a WCHA Final Five appearance two years ago. A former Michigan Tech player and assistant coach, he spent 23 years as an assistant coach at Michigan before returning to Houghton.

Big Home Weekend: Saturday's home series finale against Michigan Tech is already officially sold out. In addition, less than 200 tickets currently remain for Friday's series opener against MTU at the Ewigleben Ice Arena.  Possible standing-room only tickets may be available for Saturday's game via walk up sales only. The Bulldogs will square off against the Huskies for the first time since 1995 as part of what many expect will be one of the top WCHA rivalries in years to come.

Special Activities Planned: As part of the weekend series, fans will be treated to a special guest appearance from one of hockey's all-time greats. Former Detroit Red Wings' standout and four-time Stanley Cup Champion Darren McCarty will make a special appearance and be in attendance for the series' opener on Friday evening for a book signing and autograph session to promote his new book "My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star". In addition to McCarty's special appearance, the Bulldogs will also hold a special "Dawg Pound Appreciation Night" on Friday that will include giveaways, a free postgame skate with Brutus, raffle prizes and more. The Ferris State University residence halls will be open for the weekend.

Series History: The Bulldogs hold a 5-8-1 all-time record against Michigan Tech heading into this weekend and posted a 4-3 overtime win in the last meeting on Oct. 20, 1995, at the Mackinac Cup Series. Overall, Ferris State is 4-3 at home and 1-5-1 on the road against MTU in series' history. Michigan Tech last visited Ferris State in 1994 as part of the Mackinac Cup Series and beat the Bulldogs 4-3 on Oct. 21, 1994.

Prior to the 1994 meeting, the two teams had not played each other since Jan. 27-28, 1985, which was also the last weekend series played between the two teams heading into this weekend. Ferris State won 7-4 and 5-2 inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena.  Earlier the same season, the Huskies swept FSU on Nov. 18-19, 1983, in Houghton by scores of 7-5 and 7-1.

The two teams also played four times in the 1982-83 campaign with Ferris State winning the first matchup 5-3 in Big Rapids (Dec. 17) before the Huskies responded by winning the final three meetings with a 4-1 win the following night (Dec. 18) combined with a sweep in Houghton later in the year by scores of 4-2 and 8-0 (Feb. 4-5).

Overall, Michigan Tech has scored 65 goals against the Bulldogs in the previous 14 matchups compared to FSU's 49 total goals.  Entering the weekend, Ferris State has captured three of the last four meetings to date.

Leading The Nation: Currently, FSU's 15 wins are tied for the most in the country along with Quinnipiac and the Bulldogs also have the nation's second-best winning percentage behind top-ranked Minnesota. Ferris State held the nation's longest unbeaten streak at 16 games (13-0-3) prior to last Saturday's setback to Colgate in the championship game of the Mariucci Classic. Ferris State is first in the WCHA standings with a 10-0-2 league record and has yet to drop a league game in its debut season in the conference.

National Rankings: Ferris State ranks third nationally this week in the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) National Poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Polls after being second the previous two weeks. 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 two national ranking this year represented 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.

All-Tourney Team Honors: Bulldog sophomore forward Matt Robertson was named to the all-tournament team at the Mariucci Classic last weekend after producing four points with two goals and two assists in Friday's (Jan. 3) 6-2 win over RPI in the first game of the prestigious event. He currently has 10 goals on the year.

Last Time Out: Last Saturday's setback to Colgate snapped the Bulldogs' nation-leading and school record 16-game unbeaten streak, which began following Ferris State's last loss on Oct. 18 at home in Big Rapids. It also represented the first loss of the year for standout junior goaltender CJ Motte, who now owns an impressive nation-leading 15-1-3 mark in net this campaign. The Raiders, who have now handed FSU two of its three losses this season, opened the scoring with a pair of goals in the second period and tallied two power-play goals on the night in claiming the Mariucci Classic Championship in one of the nation's most prestigious events at Mariucci Arena. Ferris State, which was making its fifth-ever appearance in the Mariucci Classic, previously won the event in 1992-93 and also made appearances in one of the nation's most prestigious events in 2001-02, 2006-07 and 2010-11.

National Player Of The Month: Ferris State junior goaltender CJ Motte, who backstopped his team to a 3-0-1 record in the month while posting a 1.47 goals-against average and .952 saves percentage, was named the Hockey Commissioners' Association National Division 1 Player of the Month for December. A 6-0, 190-pounder from St. Clair, Michigan, Motte push his nation's best record to 14-0-3 on the season as the Bulldogs ran their nation-leading and school-record tying unbeaten streak to 15 games heading into the New Year.  Motte surrendered just six goals in four games, with two of those coming on power-plays, stopped 119 of 125 shots on goal, had eight shutout periods and helped the Bulldogs kill 18 of 20 opponent man-advantage opportunities in the month. He gave up just three goals in the final three games of December and was honored as WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth time this season on Dec. 17.

Bulldog Olympian: Ferris State University and the Bulldog men's ice hockey program will be represented in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games as former FSU standout Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins was named Tuesday to the official 25-man team roster for defending gold medal champion Canada. The 2014 Winter Olympics will take place Feb. 8-23 in Sochi, Russia, at the Bolshoy Ice Dome and Shayba Arena. A total of 14 countries will compete for Olympic Gold. In Sochi, Canada will be slotted in Group B along with Austria, Norway and Finland. Previously, Kunitz was a member of Canada's squad that won a silver medal at the 2008 World Championships. A member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Kunitz has tallied 47 points on 23 goals and 24 assists in 44 outings to date this campaign. He also has four game-winning goals and 11 power-play markers on the year while establishing a +22 plus/minus efficiency rating. He's currently sixth in the NHL in both points and goal scoring this season along with second in power-play goals and plus/minus rating. An NHL First-Team All-Star last season, Kunitz played for FSU from 1999-03 and led the Bulldogs to a CCHA Championship as a senior in 2002-03.

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.

Important Notes: Ferris State was honored as College Hockey News' "Team of the Week", which was announced prior to a Dec. 11 overtime tie at Michigan following FSU's weekend road sweep at Lake Superior State on Dec. 6-7 ...... Ferris State and Michigan were featured twice on ESPN's Top 10 Plays after the memorable shootout game on Dec. 11. The two highlights included a save by Bulldog goaltender CJ Motte on a shot from his younger brother, Michigan freshman Tyler Motte. The other was the Wolverines' shootout-winning goal that needed a replay review ....... Bulldog junior CJ Motte was tabbed as the  WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in two games against Michigan and Michigan State prior to the holiday break. It marked the seventh-straight week in which FSU had at least one individual honored by the league office ..... Ferris State's game-tying goal in the Bulldogs' overtime tie with Bowling Green was first on the NCAA's Top Five Plays of the Week announced in late November ....FSU currently ranks third in the country in the RPI and pairwise rankings, which help determine the NCAA Tournament field at the end of the season ....... The Bulldogs own a current 6-1-1 home mark and 8-1-2 record in road action to date this season ..... The Bulldogs' CJ Motte was tabbed as the WCHA nominee and one of five honorable mention choices for the Hockey Commissioners Association National Player of the Month Award for November while freshman Kyle Schempp was also a league nominee and among five honorable mention candidates for the Rookie of the Month honor ..... Ferris State has taken 20 of a possible 22 points to date in league play and has yet to lose a conference contest in its debut season in the WCHA.

See You Again Soon: Ferris State and Michigan Tech will square off against each other twice in a three-week span. Following this weekend's series, the two teams will meet again on Jan. 24-25 in Houghton. In between, the Bulldogs will play a key league road series at second-place Minnesota State next weekend (Jan. 17-18). The Huskies have a bye next weekend, which means they will play four-straight games on their schedule against the Bulldogs.

Complete Game Notes (PDF)

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