"Send Off" Rally Video
Daniels | Billins | Johnston
Kalamazoo, Mich. - The nationally top-ranked Ferris State University men's ice hockey squad officially captured the outright 2011-12 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Regular-Season Championship on Friday (Feb. 24) evening at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo.
The Bulldogs tied Western Michigan 1-1 in overtime and dropped the shootout, but picked up the points necesssary to earn the league title for only the second time in school history and first time since the 2002-03 campaign.
FSU entered the weekend needing to gain only a single point on second place Michigan, which also fell to Bowling Green State 4-3 on Friday night. FSU moved to 54 points in the standings with the overtime tie and with only one game left in the regular-season cannot be caught for the title.
The shootout went to the seventh round before Western Michigan finally pulled out the shootout win. Ferris State's Andy Huff could not answer on FSU's final attempt before a standing-room only crowd at Lawson Ice Arena.
The Bulldogs struck first in the contest with a goal from senior Jordie Johnston in the second period of play only 4:52 into the session. Senior Chad Billins and Garrett Thompson both picked up assists on Johnston's team-leading 17th marker of the campaign.
However, Western Michigan answered 16:17 into the second as Shane Berschbach tallied his ninth goal of the year on the power play. Assists were credited to Dennis Brown and Chase Balisy.
Neither team was able to score in the third period or a five-minute overtime session.
Ferris State was outshot by the Broncos 23-17 for the night and came up empty on its only power play opportunity. Meanwhile, Western Michigan converted one-of-four times with the man advantage as FSU had six penalties for 23 minutes to only two for WMU for a total of four minutes.
Senior goaltender Taylor Nelson went the distance in net for the Bulldogs and made 22 saves, including eight in the first period, seven in the second and seven in the third. He also stopped the initial six Western Michigan shootout attempts.
On the opposite end of the ice, Frank Slubowski made 16 saves for Western Michigan, which included nine in the first period alone. He also had to make two stops in overtime and was able to hold FSU out of the net in all seven tries during the shootout.
With the official tie in the books, FSU also increased its nation-leading unbeaten streak to 15 consecutive games (11-0-4). The Bulldogs have yet to lose a game during the New Year.
The two teams will meet again in the regular-season finale on Saturday (Feb. 25) night with the puck drop set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena. The contest is sold out and FSU will honor eight seniors prior to the game as part of "Senior Night" activities.
FSU has clinched a first-round bye for the 2011-12 CCHA Tournament and will host a second round best-of-three series March 9-11 against an opponent to be determined in Big Rapids. Tickets for the second-round series are on sale and can be obtained thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (231) 591-2888 or visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.