Weekly Game Notes 17-18: Ferris State vs. Western Michigan

Weekly Game Notes 17-18: Ferris State vs. Western Michigan

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vs. Western Michigan Broncos
Friday (Dec. 11) -- 7:35 p.m. (EST) 
Lawson Ice Arena (3,667 capacity) - Kalamazoo, Michigan
Saturday (Dec. 12) -- 5:05 p.m. (EST) 
Ewigleben Ice Arena (2,493 capacity) - Big Rapids, Michigan

Live Game Statistics: Friday & Saturday
Video Radio Broadcast: WWBR Big Country 100.9 FM with Dominic Hennig calling the action. 
TV Television: None
Video Live Video Webcast: Bronco Insider (Friday Game Only); B2 Networks (Saturday Game Only) 

The Opening Faceoff: The nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will put its current eight-game unbeaten streak on the line this weekend (Dec. 11-12) as the Bulldogs take on the Western Michigan Broncos in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) home-and-home series.  Ferris State visits the Broncos this Friday (Dec. 11) in the series opener at WMU's Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich., before hosting Western on Saturday (Dec. 12) in the 2009 finale at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.  The two-game set represents the first of two 2009-10 regular-season series between the two West Michigan schools. 

Bulldog Hockey Ticket Information: Tickets for all 2009-10 Bulldog home regular-season hockey games can be purchased by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888. The FSU Athletics Ticket Office's normal hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) weekdays. Single-game tickets may also be purchased by contacting Star Tickets at 1-800-585-3737 or online at Star Tickets website: www.startickets.com. Tickets are also available at all Meijer store locations in West Michigan and at the Student Services Office in the FSU Rankin Student Center.

Annual Teddy Bear Toss: The Ferris State Athletics Department will hold its annual Toys For Tot's Teddy Bear Toss this Saturday (Dec. 12) during the Bulldogs' game against Western Michigan.  Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear or stuffed animal (preferably new or in good used condition) to throw onto the ice between the first and second periods.  Those items collected will go directly to benefit needy children in the local area for the Christmas Holiday.  The U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots Program was formed to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December annually and then distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to deserving children.

Bulldog Hockey Promotions: This Saturday's (Dec. 12) contest is Meijer Family Night as fans can purchase four game tickets, four sodas and two bags of popcorn all for $32.  The game also represents Veteran's and Active Duty Night in which members of the United States of America military will be recognized and honored.  FSU students are encouraged to wear their ugly holiday sweater.     

The Radio Broadcast: Almost all of Ferris State's 2009-10 games will be broadcast live by radio station Big Country WWBR-100.9 FM with Dominic Hennig calling the action.

Video Webcast: A live video and audio webcast will be available for all 2009-10 FSU men's ice hockey home games through B2 Networks for a charge of $7 on FSU's Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (Click on B2 Networks icon).  Live internet statistics will also be available for all Bulldog home contests.  This weekend's series at Alaska will be featured on B2 Networks. 

The Records: Ferris State improved to 11-3-2 overall and 6-2-2-2 in the CCHA this season with a league home series sweep against nationally-ranked Nebraska-Omaha last weekend (Dec. 4-5) at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.  FSU skated to a 2-0 decision over the Mavericks in last Friday's (Dec. 4) opener before registering a 3-1 decision in Saturday's (Dec. 5) rematch.  The Bulldogs are presently midst an eight-game (6-0-2)unbeaten streak while sporting a 10-0-0 home record this campaign.  FSU is ranked 12th nationally this week (Dec. 7) in the USA Hockey/USA Hockey Magazine poll while the Bulldogs are listed 13th by U.S. College Hockey Online and 15th by Inside College Hockey.com.  Ferris State compiled a 12-19-7 overall record last season, which included a ninth-place 9-14-5-(2) CCHA ledger. 

Western Michigan is 6-7-3 overall with a 2-7-3-1 CCHA record after producing a 1-0-1 mark in its two-game home league series against Alaska this last weekend (12/4-5) at WMU's Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich.  The Broncos posted a 3-1 victory over the Nanooks last Friday (12/4) to halt a six-game non-winning skid and then skated to a 4-4 overtime tie before falling 1-0 in a shootout in Saturday's (12/5) series finale.  WMU is 4-2-3 at home and 2-5-0 on the road this season.  The Broncos compiled a 14-20-7 overall record last season, which included a seventh-place tying 9-13-6-2 mark (26 pts.) in the CCHA.

The Coaches: Ferris State - Bob Daniels (Michigan State, 1982), 18th season, 280-324-65 (.467) - (29-26-4 vs. Western Michigan - 11-15-2 Away, 17-10-2 Home, 1-1-0 Neutral). Daniels has the distinction of being the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State history. He was honored as the 2002-03 CCHA Coach of the Year and the Inside College Hockey (INCH) Coach of the Year, but the crowning highlight of his coaching career was being chosen as the recipient of the 2003 Spencer Penrose Award as the ACHA's Division I National Hockey Coach of the Year. He was among three finalists for the 2007-08 CCHA Coach of the Year Award.

Western Michigan - Jim Culhane (Western Michigan, 1987), 11th season, 165-209-43 (.447) - (16-22-2 vs. Ferris State).  Culhane, who played at WMU from 1983-87, is the first former Bronco varsity player to serve as the program's head coach.  He went on to play five professional seasons, including a stint with the NHL's Hartford Whalers in 1989-90.

Scouting Western Michigan: The Broncos currently have three skaters with double-digit points totals, led by sophomore right wings Greg Squires (1-11=12) and J.J. Crew (5-6=11) along with freshman left wing Trevor Elias (5-5=10).  In goal are senior Riley Gill (5-5-2, 2.40 GAA, .927sv%) and junior Jerry Kuhn (1-2-1, 2.71 GAA, .911sv%).  Gill presently ranks 11th nationally in save percentage and is listed 25th in goals-against average.  Western Michigan among the national leaders is 18th in penalty-kill efficiency (85.0%), 20th in scoring defense (2.62 gpg.), tied for 35th in scoring margin (-0.19), tied for 47th in scoring offense (2.44 gpg.)49th in penalty minutes (11.2), and 50th in power-play efficiency (13.0%).

The All-Time Series: Ferris State and Western Michigan will take to the ice for the 122nd and 123rd times in a series which WMU leads 66-47-8.  Ferris State is 18-37-4 on the road, 28-25-4 at home, and 1-4-0 at neutral sites versus the Broncos.  Last season, FSU went 1-0-1 in the opening series (10/24-25) as the Bulldogs notched a 5-2 home win over WMU (10/25) after losing 1-0 in a shootout following a 1-1 overtime tie (10/24) at Kalamazoo.  The two teams then split the final regular-season series (1/9-10) as the Broncos prevailed 2-1 at Ferris State (1/9) before the Bulldogs returned the favor with a 4-2 victory at Western Michigan (1/10).  Eleven of the last 19 matchups have been decided by two goals or less with FSU compiling a 6-3-2 mark in those encounters.  Ferris State is 5-7-1 all-time in December outings as the Bulldogs are 1-4-0 on the road and 3-1-1 at home versus the Broncos.  

Impressive Start: Ferris State's 11-3-2 start this season not only surpassed last season's 7-6-3 mark through its initial 16 outings, but almost equalled the record-setting 2002-03 squad's 12-4-0 start.  The 2002-03 team went on to post a school-best 31-10-1 overall record while claiming its first-ever CCHA regular-season championship title and the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

CCHA Weekly Honor: Sophomore goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Saskatchewan) was chosen this week's (12/7) CCHA Reebok Goaltender of the Week for his performance in last weekend's (12/4-5) home league series sweep of nationally-ranked Nebraska-Omaha. Nelson posted his first career shutout with a 28-saves effort in last Friday's (12/4) 2-0 victory before duplicating the performance in Saturday's (12/5) 3-1 triumph over the Mavericks.  Last season, the 2008-09 CCHA All-Rookie Team Honorable Mention performer earned CCHA Rookie of the Week (2/2) plaudits.

Hot Streak: During its current eight-game (6-0-2) unbeaten streak (11/6-12/5), Ferris State has outscored its opponent 30-13 in that stretch.  The Bulldogs have a 16-6 second-period scoring advantage.  FSU has been successful in 25.4% (15-59) of its power-play opportunities while operating at 95.5% (42-44) efficiency in penalty-kill situations.

No Place Like Home: Ferris State's 10-0-0 home start this season is the program's best since the 1979-80 season when the Bulldogs won their first 11 straight home encounters en route to compiling a 17-5 home mark.  FSU has outscored its opponent by 27 goals (44-17) at home.

Senior Leadership: Ferris State's top forward line of seniors Blair Riley (13-5=18), Casey Haines (3-10=13), and Cody Chupp (5-11=16) have combined for 47 points (21-26=47) this season in 13 contests while generating a 9-2-2 record.  The trio have accounted for 31.2% (39-125) of FSU's points production and 40.9% (18-44) of its goal scoring in the team's 10 home games to date.

Taylor Made: Taylor Nelson has registered an 8-1-1 record to date this season with a 1.58 goals-against average (15 goals allowed) and a .942 saves percentage (242 saves) in 11 appearances.  A season ago through the Bulldogs' first 16 contests, Nelson was 3-1-2 between the posts with a 2.77 goals-against average (17 goals allowed) and an .891 saves percentage (139 saves) in six games.

The Life Of Riley: Blair Riley (Kamloops, British Columbia) has totaled a team-best 13 goals and 18 points in 16 contests this season.  Riley, who's one lamplighter shy of matching his career single-season high of 14 markers set in the 2007-08 season, presently ranks tied for 38th place with Paul Couture (1981-82, 83-86) among FSU's all-time goal-scoring leaders with 37 career tallies.  Riley, a honorable mention selection for the Hockey Commissioner's Association National Division I Player of the Month for November, is one goal away from tying Rocki Smith (1978-81) for 37th-place honors.

Key Newcomer: Sophomore defenseman Brett Wysopal (LaGrange, Park, Ill.), who sat out last season due to the NCAA Division I transfer policy after playing the 2007-08 season at Colorado College, has chalked up a team fourth-best tying 12 points (2-10=12) in 15 contests this season.  Wysopal has tallied at least a point in eight contests this campaign, which included a three-point (0-3=3) effort against Ohio State (11/21).

Did You Know?: Senior center Casey Haines' (Indiana, Pa.) career-best tying 10 assists in 16 games this season equals his helpers total in 38 outings for the 2008-09 campaign.  Haines is midst a four-game points string which includes at least an assist in all four outings.

Close Encounters: Seven of Ferris State's last 10 outings have been decided by two goals or less with the Bulldogs posting a 3-2-2 record in those contests.  Overall this season, 10 games have been determined by two goals or less with FSU registering a 5-3-2 ledger in those encounters.

Looking Ahead: Ferris State will be idle for the remainder of 2009 before opening up the New Year at the 21st annual Wisconsin Badger Hockey Showdown (Jan. 2-3) in Madison, Wis.  FSU will go up against the Yale Bulldogs on Saturday (Jan. 2) in a 5 p.m. (EST) tourney semifinal-round tilt at UW's Kohl Center before host Wisconsin entertains the Merrimack Warriors at 8 p.m. (EST) in the other semifinal-round matchup.  The third-place game will be held Sunday (Jan. 3) at 5 p.m. (EST) with the championship contest scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. (EST).  Wisconsin captured the tournament title in 2009.  Ferris State won the Badger Hockey Showdown in back-to-back years (2003 and 2004).       

CCHA Preseason Polls: Ferris State was picked to finish eighth in the 2009-10 CCHA Coaches Preseason Poll with 50 points.  The Bulldogs received 314 points in the media poll to place ninth among the 12 conference teams. Points were awarded on a 12-11-10-9, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end.

Head of The Class: Senior Cody Chupp has been chosen as a candidate for the 2009-10 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.  To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community, and competition.  The 20 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season and those 10 individuals will be placed on the official ballot.  Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of classroom, character, community, and competition.  Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner at the 2010 NCAA Men's Frozen Four to be held in early April at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. 

New Look: Ferris State is sporting new uniforms this season to comply with the university's graphic standards.  The white-colored uniforms feature a Bulldog on the front with crimson color along the shoulders.  The crimson-colored uniforms have the wording Ferris State in gold with black trim around the letters.  Alternating crimson, gold, and white are along the sleeves for both uniforms. 

Returning Firepower: Ferris State returns 11 of its top 14 points leaders from the 2008-09 season, which includes three of the team's leading points producers.  Overall, the Bulldogs return 71.1% (64-90) of their goal-scoring output and 72.4% (173-239) of their points production from last season.

Preseason Kudos: Junior defenseman Zach Redmond (Traverse City) was named to the 2009-10 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Honorable Mention Team.  The preseason teams were selected by the league's 12 head coaches and coaches weren't allowed to vote for their own players.  The 2008-09 FSU Most Valuable Player finished second among last season's team scoring leaders with a career season-best 24 points on three goals and a squad-high 21 assists in 38 contests.  Redmond also earned honorable mention accolades on the 2008-09 CCHA Preseason All-Conference Team.

Leading The Way: Cody Chupp will serve as Ferris State's team captain for the second consecutive season.  Chupp is now the 10th skater in FSU hockey history to don the captain's ‘C' on his jersey for at least two seasons.  Chupp, who has amassed 65 career points on 26 goals and 39 assists in 109 games, was selected as the inaugural recipient of the program's Community Service Award.  He also was a nominee for the 2009 Bank of New York Mellon Hockey Humanitarian Award as college hockey's finest citizen and also earned finalist status for a 2009 National Student-Athlete Day Gian Steps Award in the Civic Leader category.

Well Deserved: Aaron Lewicki, a two-time (2007-08 and 2008-09) Ferris State CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year pick, was honored as the recipient of the FSU Athletics Department's Jimmy Swears Courage Award for the 2008-09 season.  The award is presented to a deserving student-athlete who has used perseverance, dedication and determination to confronting a life-altering situation.  Lewicki compiled a team third-most and career season-best 20 points on 10 goals and assists apiece in 37 2008-09 contests.

New Points System: The Central Collegiate Hockey Association announced that a regulation time or overtime win will be worth three points in the league standings.  An overtime tie will be awarded one point while a shootout win will earn a team an additional point.  A loss in regulation or overtime will receive no points. 

TV Exposure: Ferris State will making a combined three national and regional appearances on television this upcoming 2009-10 season.  The Bulldogs will be showcased in both games of a home-and-home CCHA series against Michigan (Jan. 22-23) courtesy of CBS College Sports while FS Detroit Plus will air the FSU's home league matchup versus Northern Michigan on Feb. 6.  Ferris Television will televise three home CCHA outings in the first half of the 2009-10 season - vs. Bowling Green State (11/6), Ohio State (11/20), and Nebraska-Omaha (12/4).  Three more league tilts are tentatively slated to air in the second half of this season - Northern Michigan (2/5), Michigan State (2/19), and Western Michigan (2/26). 

Bulldog Hockey Twitbook: All Ferris State Bulldog Hockey fans now can have access to additional information on the 2009-10 team via Twitter at twitter.com/FerrisHockey

On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics' official web site can be found at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com. The site features information on all of FSU's varsity athletics programs including rosters, statistics, yearbooks and more.