March 25, 2014

NCAA PREVIEW: Bulldog Hockey Heads To Cincinnati For Midwest Regional

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NCAA Midwest Regional 
Semifinals - FSU vs Colgate
Friday, March 28 - 4:30 p.m. (ET)
U.S. Bank Arena - Cincinnati, Ohio

TICKET/FAN INFORMATION

LIVE TV: ESPN3 (online)/WatchESPN
Tape-Delay: Friday 10:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
 
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Complete Game Notes (PDF)


The Opening Faceoff:
The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team received the program's third-ever NCAA Division I Tournament berth as the official announcement of this year's 16-team championship field was made during the NCAA Selection Show on ESPNU. The Bulldogs are seeded second in the Midwest Regional and will face third-seeded Colgate on Friday, March 28, at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Opening faceoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (ET).

The other matchup in the Midwest Regional will feature top-seeded Wisconsin versus fourth-seeded North Dakota at 8 p.m. (ET) with the winner of each game slated to square off in the regional final with a berth in the 2014 Frozen Four on the line Saturday (March 29) at 6:30 p.m.

Media Coverage: Friday's game along with Saturday's if the Bulldogs advance 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 the start with the online broadcast accessible at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. All links, including live internet statistics, will be available on the online home of Bulldog Athletics.

Television Coverage: Ferris State's NCAA Tournament opener versus Colgate will be  televised live via webcast on ESPN3 and also available on the WatchESPN app. It will also be re-aired the same day on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m. Should the Bulldogs advance to Saturday's regional final, the game would be aired live on ESPNU.

Ticket Information: Ferris State University fans planning to follow the Bulldogs to Cincinnati should visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for information pertaining to ticket sales. The deadline to purchase tickets sold thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office is Tuesday (March 25) at Noon (ET). Fans can also purchase tickets online at www.ncaa.com/tickets for the Cincinnati regional. As the number two seed, the Bulldogs will be assigned seating sections 112/114 at US Bank Arena.

The NCAA Tourney: The other regional sites for the 2014 NCAA Tournament are as follows: East (March 28-29) at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn; West (March 29-30) at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.; and the Northeast (March 29-30) at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. The winners of each region will advance to the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four with the semifinals and the championship game to be held Thursday, April 10, and Saturday, April 12, respectively, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

Third NCAA Appearance: Ferris State will be making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in the program's history. The Bulldogs' 2002-03 team earned the program's first-ever berth and was among the national tourney's final eight teams before FSU's 2011-12 squad won the Midwest Regional Championship and reached the national championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four for the first time two seasons ago.

We Meet Again: Ironically, Friday's matchup will represent the fourth meeting this season between two non-conference opponents in nationally sixth-ranked Ferris State and 12th-ranked Colgate. The two teams played a non-league series on the opening weekend (Oct. 5-6) of the season with FSU taking game one 7-4 and the Raiders rebounding for a 1-0 shutout the following night in Hamilton, N.Y. The two schools then faced each other again over the holiday break on Jan. 4 at the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis with Colgate scoring a 3-0 win.

Bulldog Tourney Note: The Bulldogs, who captured the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Regular-Season Championship, are one of two schools from the WCHA to make the tournament along with Minnesota State. FSU is also the lone team from the state of Michigan in the 16-team field.

Bulldog Fan Package: The FSU Athletics Department has announced a fan package is available for those Bulldog fans wanting to follow FSU to the NCAA Tournament this weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio. The bus will leave on Friday morning at 6 a.m. (ET) from the Ewigleben Sports Complex. For more info on the package, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com or call (231) 591-2888. The deadline to signup is Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The Records: Ferris State holds a nation-leading 28 victories to date and is 28-10-3 on the year entering Friday's regional matchup. Meanwhile, Colgate sports a 20-13-5 mark to date this campaign and placed second in the ECAC with a 13-6-3 league record. Ferris State was the top seed going into the WCHA playoffs after winning the league's regular-season title in its debut season and reached the title game this past weekend at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids before falling to tournament champion Minnesota State. FSU had a nation-leading and school-record 16-game unbeaten streak earlier this campaign that stretched from late October until early January.

Against The Raiders: Ferris State and Colgate met to start this season in Hamilton, N.Y. The Bulldogs took the opener 7-4 (10/5/13) before Colgate came back for a 1-0 win in the series' finale (10/6/13). The Raiders then topped FSU 3-0 in the title game of the Mariucci Classic on Jan. 4 in Minneapolis. Overall, Ferris State holds a 7-6-1 record against Colgate in an all-time series that began in the 1999-00 season. The Bulldogs are 4-2-0 at home and 3-3-0 in Colgate's barn. Their lone tie game came in a 3-3 overtime tie at the Sheraton/TD Catamount Cup in Vermont on Jan. 3, 2009.

Against The Rest: Should Ferris State advance to the Elite Eight, the Bulldogs would face either Wisconsin or North Dakota. The Bulldogs are 2-2 all-time versus Wisconsin and last played the Badgers in 2005, winning 5-3 (Jan. 1) to capture the Badger Hockey Showdown title. Meanwhile, FSU is 1-5 all-time against North Dakota and last faced UND on March 28, 2003, winning 5-2 in its first-ever NCAA Tournament game held in Minneapolis at the NCAA West Regional.

Hobey Baker Award Finalist: Junior goaltender CJ Motte was recently chosen as one of the nation's top 10 finalists for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award, becoming only the third Bulldog player ever to receive such distinction. Motte joins a select list of only two other former Bulldog student-athletes who have advanced to the top 10 phase, including current NHL great Chris Kunitz and former standout Rob Collins. Kunitz, now with the National Hockey League's (NHL) Pittsburgh Penguins, holds the distinction of being the only Ferris skater in the program's history to advance among the nation's top three finalists as he did so in 2002-03. One of his Bulldog teammates, Collins, was FSU's first top 10 finalist when he received the honor the year before Kunitz for the 2001-02 season.

Big Weekend For Mayhew: Ferris State freshman forward Gerald Mayhew claimed All-Tournament Team honors at the WCHA Final Five Championship for his play this past weekend at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Mayhew tallied a pair of goals, including the overtime game-winner 2:38 into the extra session, to lift the Bulldogs into the title game with a 5-4 win over Alaska Anchorage on Friday. He then tallied FSU's lone marker in Saturday's setback to Minnesota State in the finale while finishing the weekend with three goals.

Regional Tourney Success: This year's Bulldog senior class played a significant role in helping the Bulldogs claim the Midwest Regional Championship two years ago in Green Bay to reach the 2012 Frozen Four. As sophomores two seasons ago, four of this year's five seniors received significant ice time and all made a positive contribution in FSU's two wins over Denver and Cornell. On each Bulldog goal at the Midwest Regional two years ago, at least one of this year's current seniors contributed. Garrett Thompson and Cory Kane each has an assist on the Bulldog goals against Denver. Then, against Cornell in the regional final, 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.

NCAA Tourney Notebook: The Bulldogs will make their third-ever NCAA  bid. In the 2002-03 season, the Bulldogs defeated North Dakota 5-2 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.  Two years ago, FSU topped Denver and Cornell in regional action to reach the Frozen Four where the Bulldogs beat Union before falling in the national title game to Boston College in Tampa, Fla. Ferris State presently owns a 4-2 all-time mark in NCAA  Tourney action and has won its regional opener in each of its previous two showings.  FSU made its initial appearance in '02-03 after winning the CCHA  for the first time, which was the Bulldogs' lone league crown until claiming a conference championship in two of the past three seasons.

Same Seeding As Last Time: The Bulldogs were also seeded second in the Midwest Region two seasons ago when they secured a berth in the Frozen Four by winning the Midwest Regional crown for the first time 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). The Bulldogs then topped Union 3-1 in the national semifinals (April 5), but fell to Boston College in the national championship game by a 4-1 count (April 7).

Back From Historic Season: A total of 12 players on this year's current roster were members of the Bulldogs' historic 2011-12 squad that won the CCHA Regular-Season Championship and reached the Frozen Four for the first time in school history. Eight current players saw action in the 2012 national title game including defensemen Scott Czarnowczan, Travis White, Jason Binkley and Simon Denis along with forwards Cory Kane, TJ Schlueter, Garrett Thompson and Andy Huff. Both Denis and Schlueter have been out due to injury most of this year.

Big Season At Home: The Bulldogs, who captured the WCHA Regular-Season Championship this year in their debut season in the league, completed their home season in Big Rapids unbeaten against WCHA opposition (15-0-1) and currently own a nation-leading 28-10-3 overall record. The 28 wins are the second-most single season wins in school history. FSU capped off its home campaign with a 16-1-1 overall mark this campaign.

Second All-Time: Ferris State moved to 28-10-3 on the season after this past weekend and the Bulldogs' 28 wins to date this year are the most in the country and rank as the second-most wins in a single campaign in school history. FSU topped the Bulldogs' historic 2011-12 squad that reached the NCAA Frozen Four and the national championship game for the second-most victories in a single-campaign in school history and the 28 wins thus far trail only the school-record 31 posted by the 2002-03 squad that won the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) for the first time and made the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance.

Number Two All-Time: Ferris State junior goaltender CJ Motte currently owns a 27-8-3 record on the year and has 47 career victories, which ranks second all-time on Ferris State's career list. He trails only the school-record 63 total wins that were recorded by 2003 All-American Mike Brown on the school's career leaders chart. Motte is the latest in a series of talented Bulldog goaltenders over the past decade that most recently also included former All-Americans Pat Nagle (2011) and Taylor Nelson (2012). Motte's total of 27 wins this season is three more than any other goaltender in the country.

WCHA Playoffs: The top-seeded Bulldogs opened the 2014 WCHA Playoffs by sweeping Bemidji State at home on March 14-15 by scores of 8-0 and 3-2 in double overtime, respectively. With the series sweep, FSU advanced to the WCHA Final Five Championship this past weekend at Van Andel Arena located less than an hour away in Grand Rapids. Ferris State won a second-straight overtime contest by beating Alaska Anchorage 5-4 in OT on Friday (March 22) night before falling to second-seeded Minnesota State 4-1 in Saturday's title contest. Nearly 4,000 Bulldog fans were on hand both nights for the league semifinals/finals at Van Andel Arena, including four student fan buses for Friday's opening game.

Memorable Season In WCHA Debut: By winning the WCHA's MacNaughton Cup for its second league title in the last three years, the Bulldogs became one of only three programs to ever win both the WCHA and former Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Regular-Season crowns along with Michigan and Northern Michigan. The Bulldogs led the league race wire-to-wire this season.

Among Best In Nation: Currently, FSU's 28 wins are the most in the country and the Bulldogs also have the nation's fourth-best winning percentage (.720). Ferris State held the nation's longest unbeaten streak earlier this year at 16 games (13-0-3) prior to its setback to Colgate in the championship game of the Mariucci Classic (Jan. 4). Ferris State finished first in the WCHA standings with a 20-6-2 league record and hadn't dropped a league game in its debut season in the conference prior to its mid-January series at Minnesota State. The Bulldogs finished a single point ahead of MSU in the league standings, winning the conference regular-season crown on the final night. FSU's 16-1-1 home mark also ranked as one of the top showings on home ice in the nation this season. Ferris State is the fifth overall seed in this year's NCAA Tournament, narrowly missing a number one seed.

Great Win Total: The Bulldogs have posted 88 wins over the last four seasons with this year's five-member senior class. The 88 total wins to date rank as the best four-year stretch in school history. Meanwhile, Ferris State's 28 wins to date this season are now the second-most in a single campaign in school history. FSU won a school-record 31 wins in 2002-03 and picked up 26 victories in both 2011-12 and 1979-80. The Bulldogs' 20 league wins this campaign trailed only the 22 victories recorded by the 2002-03 CCHA Championship team for the most conference wins in a single campaign.

Strong Home Campaign: The Bulldogs were unbeaten at home (13-0-1) in conference action and their impressive play helped FSU post its sixth-straight season with increased home attendance while the school's average of 2,141 fans per game during the 2013-14 regular-season was its best in 32 years. FSU also led the WCHA by recording an 86% capacity figure over the course of its 16 home games this season prior to the playoffs. In the last two-plus years, Ferris State has had 16 home sellouts and the "Dawg Pound" student section has been sold out for 50 consecutive regular-season games.

One Of School's Best: Bulldog junior goaltender CJ Motte recently moved into second place in career victories for a Bulldog goaltender and owns a 47-28-10 career record to date. Former standout Mike Brown is the all-time leader with 63 wins from 2001-05. Motte's 27 total wins in net this season rank as the second-best seasonal figure in school history behind the 30 wins posted by Brown in the memorable 2002-03 campaign. Motte is presently a finalists for two major awards - the 2014 Hobey Baker Award presented to college hockey's top player along with being one of five national finalists for the Premier Player of College Hockey Award. He was also among the nominees for the inaugural Mike Richter Goaltender of the Year honor.

Senior CLASS Award Finalist: FSU senior captain Scott Czarnowczan has been named as one of the 10 national finalists 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 now had one of the 10 national finalists for the award each of the last three years in Chad Billins and Kyle Bonis. Fans can vote for Czarnowczan online at www.SeniorClassAward.com.

Hobey Baker Award Nominees: Ferris State junior goaltender CJ Motte and senior forward Garrett Thompson were both among this year's original nomineees for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award. The annual award is given to college hockey's top player and fan balloting took place online with Motte advancing as one of 10 national finalists. Phase two of fan balloting began on March 20 from the list of Top 10 Hobey Baker finalists. The 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three finalists on April 11 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Philadelphia.

WCHA Award Recipients: Five members of the FSU team claimed 2013-14 All-WCHA Award accolades with head coach Bob Daniels also recognized as the WCHA Coach of the Year this season. Ferris State had an All-WCHA First Team honoree in junior goaltender CJ Motte along with two second-team picks in senior forward Garrett Thompson and senior defenseman Scott Czarnowczan. Junior defenseman Jason Binkley claimed All-WCHA Third Team recognition with freshman forward Kyle Schempp named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team. The selections represent the first All-WCHA honorees in Bulldog history.

Best Home Record Ever: The Bulldogs' 16-1-1 overall record at home this season ranked as the best in school history. FSU also won 16 games to go with five losses in its initial season of Division I hockey in 1979-80. In the last five years, the Bulldogs have compiled a 63-19-11 overall mark at the Ewigleben Ice Arena, which ranks as the best stretch in the school annals and one of the top marks in the nation. Ferris State also recorded 15 home wins in both 2009-10 and 2011-12 during the run at home.

National Rankings: Ferris State is ranked sixth nationally this week in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll along with the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) National Poll. The Bulldogs have been ranked as high as second in the nation three times this season, including prior to the Minnesota State series in January. 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. Ferris State has currently been ranked among the nation's top 20 teams in the USCHO poll for 20 consecutive weeks and found among the country's top 10 teams in each of the last 17 polls.

The Senior Class: FSU honored its five seniors during "Senior Weekend" as the Bulldogs hosted Lake Superior State in the final weekend of regular-season play at the Ewigleben Ice Arena on March 7-8 in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs' five seniors were recognized on Saturday before the weekend finale with a FREE Senior Autograph session and Skate With The Dawgs after the game in addition to a celebratory team photo after winning the WCHA crown. This year's senior class includes captain Scott Czarnowczan along with forwards Garrett Thompson, Andy Huff, Cory Kane and Justin DeMartino.

Bulldog Playoff Notebook: Ferris State advanced to the WCHA Championship Semifinals at Van Andel Arena in its debut season in the league. It marked FSU's fifth-trip ever to the semifinals of a league tournament as Ferris State previously advanced to the CCHA Semifinals four times. FSU reached the CCHA Championship Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena four previous times in 1990-91, 1992-93, 2002-03 and 2009-10 .... Two years ago, the Bulldogs fell in game three of the CCHA second round to Bowling Green at home before eventually receiving an at-large NCAA Tournament bid and reaching the Frozen Four for the first-time ever ... Ferris State presently sports a 28-60-3 (.313) all-time record in postseason league tourney contests, which includes a 15-2 home record and a 11-52-3 away/neutral site mark after the weekend.  

The 36th Division I Campaign: The Bulldogs embarked 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 featured eight home weekends with four new schools visiting Big Rapids for the first time in FSU's initial season as a member of the WCHA.

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