CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Frozen Four Berth On The Line In Midwest Regional Final
UP NEXT IN BULLDOG HOCKEY:
NCAA Midwest Regional Final
Ferris State vs. North Dakota
Saturday, March 29 - 6:30 p.m. (ET)
U.S. Bank Arena - Cincinnati, Ohio
Television: ESPNU (TV) & ESPN3 (online)
Radio: Sunny 97.3 FM
Bulldog Sports Network Audio Broadcast
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The Opening Faceoff: The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will square off against North Dakota in the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional Championship game on Saturday (March 29) night at US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bulldogs will meet UND for the first time since 2003 and the winer will advance to the NCAA Frozen Four set for April 10 & 12 in Philadelphia, Pa. Puck drop is set for shortly after 6:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPNU.
Media Coverage: Saturday's game will be carried live by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with FSU's 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: Saturday's regional title game will be carried live on ESPNU with Joe Beninati and Darren Eliot calling the play-by-play action. It will also be available via webcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. A live watch party will also be held at Buffalo Wild Wings in Big Rapids.
Ticket Information: Ferris State University fans who do not already have game tickets can purchase tickets online at www.ncaa.com/tickets for the Cincinnati regional or buy thru the US Bank Arena ticket office prior to the contest. As the number two seed, the Bulldogs will be assigned seating sections 112/114 at US Bank Arena.
What's At Stake: The winner of Saturday night's regional title game will earn a berth into the NCAA Frozen Four. The Bulldogs will be trying to secure their second national semifinal berth in the last three seasons.
Bulldog Headquarters: The Ferris State University Alumni Association will hold a pregame reception on the fifth floor suite level inside US Bank Arena beginning at 4 p.m. and leading up to gametime.
Friday Night Victory: Ferris State received 35 saves and a shutout from junior goaltender CJ Motte in Friday night's 1-0 triumph over third-seeded Colgate in the regional tournament opener. Freshman Gerald Mayhew provided the game's only goal for the Bulldogs as he scored on the power-play 10:01 into the contest. From there, the Bulldogs' defensive play and Motte's stellar performance in net lifted FSU into the regional title game for the third time in school history.
Bulldog Tourney Note: The Bulldogs, who captured the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Regular-Season Championship, were one of two schools from the WCHA to make the tournament along with Minnesota State. FSU also was the lone team from the state of Michigan to make the 16-team field.
Third NCAA Appearance: Ferris State is midst 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.
Against North Dakota: 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. The first series meeting took place back in 1981 with ND winning by the same 5-2 score. Four of FSU's five previous setbacks have come on the road at North Dakota with the other two matchups taking place on neutral ice. Overall, North Dakota has scored 32 goals in the six previous meetings with FSU netting 20 in those games.
Third Regional Final: Saturday's game will represent the third time in which the Bulldogs have reached the regional title game. FSU fell to Minnesota in the West Regional final at Minneapolis' Mariucci Arena in its first-ever appearance in 2002-03 by a 7-4 score after beating North Dakota the night before. Two years ago, in Green Bay, FSU beat Cornell 2-1 in the Midwest Regional title game at the Resch Center to reach the Frozen Four. Ferris State has now won its regional opener in each of its three trips to date in the NCAA Tournament.
Interesting Notes: Freshman forward Gerald Mayhew has four goals in the last three games for the Bulldogs and has now scored each of FSU's last three goals this season following his score last night. He had the overtime game-winner in the WCHA Final Five Semifinals against Alaska Anchorage on March 21 in Grand Rapids and then had FSU's lone goal in the WCHA title game versus Minnesota prior to his first-period score last night .... FSU junior goaltender CJ Motte holds the most wins (28) in the country and is one of 10 national finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, becoming only the third top 10 finalist in FSU history ..... The last time the Bulldogs faced North Dakota in 2002-03 in the NCAA Tournament, the FSU lineup was led by then senior wing Chris Kunitz, who is the most decorated former player in Bulldog history. He was a member of Canada's Olympic gold medal team this winter and is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion who was a first team NHL All-Star for the Pittsburgh Penguins last season. Kunitz had three assists in the last meeting against North Dakota while another former Bulldog skater who's played in the NHL had a goal in Greg Rallo ..... Last night's shutout win was Motte's fifth of the year for the Bulldogs.
Key NCAA Note: Last night's 1-0 Bulldog win was the first in NCAA Tournament history by that score since 2007 when UMass defeated Clarkson. It was the 11th all-time NCAA Tourney game determed by a 1-0 score.
Back In The NHL: A former Ferris State standout is back in the National Hockey League as ex-captain Chad Billins was recalled today by the Calgary Flames. Billins captained FSU's 2012 Frozen Four team and is one of four former Bulldogs to play in the NHL this season along with Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins), Zach Redmond (Winnipeg Jets) and Greg Rallo (Florida Panthers).
The Records: Ferris State holds a nation-leading 29 victories to date and is 29-10-3 on the year entering Saturday's regional final. Meanwhile, North Dakota sports a 24-13-3 mark to date this campaign and compiled a 15-9-0 mark in the NCHC. 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 last 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.
Season Split: With Friday night's victory, the Bulldogs split the season series with Colgate. FSU opened the 2013-14 campaign by beating the Raiders 7-4 on their home ice in Hamilton (N.Y.) and ended the Raiders' campaign with last night's shutout. It also avenged two losses to the Raiders in between, including a 3-0 Colgate win in the title game of the Mariucci Classic in early January.
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 last 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 are making 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 5-2 all-time mark in NCAA Tourney action after last night's win and has now won three-straight regional openers. 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 29-10-3 overall record. The 29 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 Most Wins: Ferris State moved to 29-10-3 on the season after last night and the Bulldogs' 29 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 29 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.
Second All-Time: Ferris State junior goaltender CJ Motte currently owns a 28-8-3 record on the year and has 48 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 28 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 last 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.