Darren Smith Shuts Out Michigan Tech As Ferris State Advances To WCHA Championship

Darren Smith Shuts Out Michigan Tech As Ferris State Advances To WCHA Championship

Press Conference Quotes

Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Grand Rapids, Mich. -- The Ferris State men's ice hockey team advanced to its second WCHA Championship Game in three years as FSU defeated the nationally 12th-ranked Michigan Tech Huskies by a final score of 1-0 on Friday (March 18) in the WCHA Final Five Semifinals at Van Andel Arena.

Ferris State senior forward Kenny Babinski scored the lone goal for the Bulldogs, while freshman goaltender Darren Smith broke the school's single-season record for shutouts by a freshman goaltender with his fourth of the year on 30 saves.

The game was a scoreless tie through the first 40 minutes of play, despite the two teams combining to score 25 goals in their four regular-season meetings.

At 11:15 of the third period, Ferris State finally broke through. Babinski scored his ninth goal of the season, while sophomore forward Andrew Dorantes earned his 11th assist of the year and senior defenseman Sean O'Rourke picked up his eighth.

O'Rourke dove to keep a puck in the offensive zone and scooted it down the boards to Dorantes. Dorantes then turned and popped a pass to the top of the slot where Babinski wound and fired a slapshot that hit a defender in front and soared past Michigan Tech goaltender Jamie Phillips.

Ferris State hung on in the remaining 8:45 to win by the same 1-0 score.

It was a quiet night for teams on the man-advantage, as Ferris State finished 0-5 while generating eight shots. Michigan Tech finished 0-3 but only mustered two shots on goal during the three power play chances.

Phillips made 32 stops on 33 shots, while Smith notched his first career playoff shutout. Smith has allowed just four goals in three career playoff starts. Smith earned the win and improved his record to 15-9-5, while Phillips fell to 23-8-5.

The Bulldogs moved to 18-14-6 on the season while the Michigan Tech Huskies fell to 23-9-5.

Ferris State will move on to face the second-seeded Minnesota State Mavericks in the WCHA Championship game on Saturday (March 19). The two teams will meet for the third consecutive time in the Final Five, including the 2014 installment of the WCHA Championship Game at Van Andel Arena.

The puck drops at 6:07 p.m. (ET) between the Bulldogs and Mavericks, who will fight for the Broadmoor Trophy and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.