Simply the best . . . better than all the rest.
Those words have significant meaning for the Ferris State University men's ice hockey program as the Bulldogs have been crowned National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I national statistical champions in penalty-kill percentage for the second season in a row.
The 2010-11 Ferris State Bulldog team earned the nation's top billing with a school-record .886 penalty-kill percentage after registering a national-best .884 percentage for the 2009-10 campaign. Individually, senior left wing Mike Embach (Orland Park, Ill.) was duly honored on the same level with a plaque as a result of his national-leading and school-record tying five short-handed goals this 2010-11 season.
Ferris State, under head coach Bob Daniels, was tops among 58 NCAA-I teams in penalty-kill percentage as the Bulldogs were successful in denying 156 of the opposition's 176 power-play opportunities. FSU placed three percentage points ahead of fellow Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) member Miami (Ohio), which recorded an .883 efficiency rating (181-205) in penalty-kill situations. The 2010-11 Bulldogs' .886 penalty-kill success rate also represents a school single-season record, shattering the .884 mark set by the 2009-10 squad.
Embach, who compiled a third-most tying 18 points on eight goals and 10 assists in 39 games this past season, averaged 0.13 short-handed goals per contest. All of his five career shorties occurred in the 2010-11 campaign. The Bulldog skater finished one short-handed lamplighter ahead of Brian Gibbons and Cam Atkinson both of Boston College and Minnesota-Duluth's Mike Connolly. Embach also etched his name into the Ferris State record books by tying Tom Rudrud (1982-83), Rod Schluter (1988-89), and Rob Collins (2001-02) for the most short-handed goals in a single season.
Among the other 2010-11 season final statistical category leaders, Ferris State placed fifth nationally in both scoring defense (2.21 gpg.) and combined special teams (54.8%).
Ferris State concluded its 32nd season of competition at the NCAA Division I level this 2010-11 campaign with an 18-16-5 overall record and a fifth-place 12-12-4-3 (43 league points) CCHA mark. The 18 victories compiled by the Bulldogs represented a tie for the eighth-most single-season wins in the program's history.
A complete listing of the final 2010-11 NCAA-I men's ice hockey team and individual national statistical leaders is available for viewing at these ltwo links -- http://web1.ncaa.org/stats/StatsSrv/rankings and http://www.collegehockeystats.net/1011/national/d1m.