The nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will start preparations this Monday (March 15) for the 2010 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Championships as the Bulldogs will faceoff against the Northern Michigan Wildcats this Friday (March 19) afternoon in the tournament's first semifinal contest at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.
A 4:35 p.m. (EDT) start time is scheduled for the semifinal-round tilt, which will be televised live by FS Detroit. Fred Pletsch will be calling the action while former National Hockey League (NHL) standout John Vanbiesbrouck will be be providing color commentary for the game. Shireen Saski will be handling the sideline reporting duties.
Ferris State, which is presently 21-11-6 overall this season, will be making its fifth CCHA Championship appearance in the program's history and its first since the record-setting 2002-03 campaign. The Bulldogs, under 18th-year head coach Bob Daniels, are presently ranked eighth nationally this week (March 15) in both of the U.S. College Hockey Online.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls while FSU is listed ninth by Inside College Hockey.com. Ferris State earned a trip to The Joe after sweeping Nebraska-Omaha last weekend (March 12-13) in a best-of-three CCHA Playoff Second-Round series held at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. Ferris skated to a 3-1 victory over the Mavericks in this past Friday's (March 12) opener and then received a game-winning goal just 23 seconds into the overtime period from senior Casey Haines (Indiana, Pa.) in Saturday's (March 13) tilt to post a 3-2 win in game two.
The Bulldogs' semifinal opponent, Northern Michigan is 19-11-8 overall on the season and advanced to the semis with a two-game second-round playoff series of Alaska last weekend (March 12-13) in Marquette, Mich. The Wildcats, who are directed by eighth-year head coach Walt Kyle, posted a 4-3 decision over the Nanooks in Friday's (March 12) outing and then claimed a 5-1 series-clinching victory on Saturday (March 13) at NMU's Berry Events Center. NMU is currently ranked 11th this week in Inside College Hockey.com's poll while the 'Cats are 12th in both the U.S. College Hockey Online.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
Ferris State and Northern Michigan meet twice in the 2009-10 regular season (Feb. 5-6) as the Bulldogs went 0-1-1 in a two-game set at Big Rapids. The two teams skated to a 3-3 overtime tie in the series opener (Feb. 5) as NMU would win the shootout, 1-0. The Wildcats then dealt Ferris a 4-0 weekend series finale loss (Feb. 6) in a game which was televised by FS Detroit.
The last time Ferris State and Northern Michigan squared off in the CCHA Championships at Joe Louis Arena was back in 2003 when the Bulldogs recorded a 4-2 decision over the Wildcats in the semifinals (March 21) before falling to Michigan, 5-3, in the Super 6 Championship game (March 22). The two teams also played in the 1980 CCHA Finals (March 13-14) at Marquette when the tourney champion was determined by total goals in the series which the Wildcats won 15-9 in a two-game set.
Prior to this season, FSU made league championship tourney appearances in the 1979-80, 1990-91, 1992-93, and 2002-03.
The second semifinal game this Friday will be played at 8:05 p.m. (EDT) as league regular-season champion Miami (Ohio) takes on Michigan in a Big Ten Network televised contest.
The third-place game and the Mason Cup Championship game will take place this Saturday (March 20) also at Joe Louis Arena. The third-place tilt commences at 3:35 p.m. (EDT) proceeded by the championship contest at 7:35 p.m. (EDT), which will be aired by FS Detroit. No television or internet will be available for the third-place game.
FS Detroit is available on DirecTV channel 663, DISH Network channel 430, Charter Cable channel 33 (HD-channel 791), and Comcast Cable channel 30 (HD-channel 201). All of this weekend's CCHA Championship contests, with the exception of the third-place game, will be streamed live at www.foxsportsdetroit.com.