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Tampa, Fla. - The most historic season in Ferris State University hockey history came to an end on Saturday (April 7) in the national championship game at the Frozen Four as the Bulldogs suffered a heart-breaking 4-1 loss to Boston College in the title contest at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Bulldogs' most impressive season in school history came to a close with a 26-12-5 overall record and included a trip to the Frozen Four and a national runner-up finish. FSU's 26 wins are the second-most in school history and the season highlights also included the school's second-ever Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Regular-Season Championship and a Midwest Regional crown.
"This team has really blazed a trail," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels. "This team broke some new ground for us and this senior class will leave with three-straight winning years and three really great seasons. I think it will give us confidence moving forward that we can be successful on a national stage and with that hopefully we'll continue to grow."
The Eagles opened the scoring only 3:18 into the contest when Steven Whitney registered his 15th goal of the year off an assist from Barry Almeida.
However, the Bulldogs responded oat 5:19 on the 11th goal of the year off the stick of sophomore forward Garrett Thompson. Both Andy Huff and Travis Ouellette picked up assists on the only Bulldog goal of the night.
Boston College regained the lead at 10:33 of the first when Paul Carey picked up his 18th marker of the campaign on the power play. Brian Dumoulin and Pat Mullane tallied the helpers.
The score remained 2-1 thru for most of the rest of the contest despite the fact the Bulldogs had several good scoring chances. Finally, Boston College increased its edge to 3-1 at 16:58 of the third when Johnny Gaudreau recorded his 21st goal of the season from Kevin Hayes and Patrick Wey.
The final Eagles' goal was an empty-netter at 18:57 by Whitney off a feed from Bill Arnold.
The Bulldogs were outshot 37-28 for the night and unable to convert on four power-play opportunities. Boston College finished one-of-three with the man advantage.
Overall, the Bulldogs were called for four penalties totaling eight minutes in the box with BC netting five penalties for 10 minutes.
Bulldog senior All-America goaltender Taylor Nelson stopped 33 saves in his final collegiate contest with six in the first, 14 in the second and 13 in the third. On the opposite side, Parker Milner had 27 saves for Boston College, including 15 in the second period.
An announced crowd of 18,818 fans were on hand at the Tampa Bay Times Forum with many more watching on a live television broadcast around the world by ESPN2. The championship game attendance was the most-ever for a first time host city.
The championship was the third in five years for Boston College, which was making its 23rd Frozen Four appearance.
Saturday's title game marked the first time in school history any Bulldog team had ever competed in a national championship game. FSU won or tied 19 of its final 23 games of the season and had an impressive 15-game unbeaten streak earlier this season along with a number one national
"What a year," said FSU's Nelson. "I'm extremely proud of every individual in that locker room. All season long, we sacrificed for one another and bled for one another. And, as far as what it means to the program, I think in our minds, its' made history."
The Bulldogs will return on a charter flight Sunday (April 8) to Grand Rapids and bus back to campus in Big Rapids. The team plans to arrive between 3-3:30 p.m. (ET) and fans are invited to help welcome the team back home at the Ewigleben Sports Complex.