March 11, 2013

Former Bulldog Chris Kunitz Has Career Night In Penguins' Victory

Game Recap
Kunitz NHL Bio

Big Rapids, Mich. - A former Ferris State University men's ice hockey standout is attracting plenty of attention in the National Hockey League (NHL) today following an impressive career night.

Former Bulldog All-American Chris Kunitz, who led FSU to its first-ever Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) regular-season crown and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance as a collegiate senior in 2002-03, tallied a personal career-high five points on Sunday (March 10) night for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins in a 6-1 romp over the New York Islanders.

Kunitz scored three goals to lead the Penguins to the victory at the Consol Energy Center and added two assists as the game's dominant figure.  Linemate Sidney Crosby piled up a career-high five assists as well as the Penguins won their fifth consecutive contest.

The hat trick was Kunitz' second of the year and the five total points enabled him to move into third place in the NHL scoring race with 36 points, which is nine behind Crosby's league-leading total.  Kunitz jammed home a couple of power-play goals to help Pittsburgh bolt to a 3-0 lead and then capped his fourth career hat trick on a rebound midway thru the second period.

Currently, Kunitz has tallied a NHL second-best 17 goals with 19 assists for 36 total points in 26 contests this campaign.  The nine-year NHL veteran also holds a +21 plus/minus rating and has four game-winning goals as part of his total.

In 559 career regular-season games to date, Kunitz has totaled 167 goals and 220 assists for 387 total points at the NHL level.  The two-time Stanley Cup Champion has also scored 12 goals with 36 assists for 48 total points in 84 NHL career playoff games.

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Kunitz was acquired by Pittsburgh from Anaheim on Feb. 26, 2009 with Eric Tangradi in exchange for Ryan Whitney. Kunitz finished that season with 18 points (7G-11A) in 20 regular-season games, then added 14 points (1G-13A) in 24 postseason games as the Penguins won the franchise's third Stanley Cup.

Prior to joining the Penguins, Kunitz played parts of five seasons with Anaheim, where he twice surpassed the 20-goal and 50-point plateau. His best season with the Ducks came in 2006-07 when he established career highs offensively in goals (25), assists (35) and points (60), as Anaheim won the Stanley Cup.

As a collegian at Ferris State, Kunitz excelled during his 2002-03 senior season by garnering American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-America First-Team honors and was among the final three 2003 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's top player. A two-time (2001-02 and 2002-03) CCHA First-Team pick, Kunitz became the first Bulldog skater to earn CCHA Player of the Year honors after leading the league in points, goals, assists, and plus/minus for the 2002-03 campaign.

Kunitz concluded his stellar career ranking tied for sixth in career points (175), second in goals (99) and 18th in assists (76) in 152 contests. He played an integral role in leading the 2002-03 Bulldogs to a school-best 31-10-1 overall record, the school's first-ever CCHA Regular-Season Championship title and the program's first-ever NCAA Division I Championship Tournament appearance. Kunitz was also recognized as the male student-athlete recipient of the 2002-03 Bulldog of the Year Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding Ferris State student-athlete.

Earlier this season, Kunitz was chosen to the CCHA's All-Decade Team for his work as a collegian at Ferris State.