PREVIEW: Bulldogs Visit Ohio State For CCHA Second Round Playoff Series

THIS WEEK IN BULLDOG HOCKEY:

at Ohio State
CCHA Second-Round Playoff Series
Friday-Sunday, March 15-17 - 7:35 p.m. (ET)
OSU Ice Rink - Columbus, Ohio

Gameday Central   
Bulldog Sports Network Audio Broadcast        
Video Webcast       
Live Statistics        
Facebook Scoring Updates       
Twitter Scoring Updates   

Complete Game Notes (PDF)


The Opening Faceoff:
The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on the Ohio State University Buckeyes in the second round of the final Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Tournament playoffs this weekend, March 15-17, at the OSU Ice Rink. The puck is set to drop at 7:05 p.m. (ET) on both Friday and Saturday, along with Sunday if necessary, in the best-of-three format.

Media Coverage: Both games will be carried live by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with Dominic Hennig calling the play-by-play action and Dan Kowalski offering color commentary with the online broadcast accessible at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. All links, including live video along with live internet statistics, will be available on the online home of Bulldog Athletics.

The Records: Ferris State is currently 15-14-5 overall and 13-12-3-1 in the CCHA this season. The Bulldogs fell to the Michigan Wolverines by a score of 4-1 to open their final league regular-season series on March 1 before battling to a 1-1 overtime deadlock and dropping the shootout on March 2. Ferris State finished the regular season in fifth place in the CCHA standings with 43 points total. Both FSU and OSU clinched first-round byes for the CCHA Tourney.

Ohio State currently holds an overall record of 14-15-7 along with a 13-10-5-1 mark in the CCHA. The Buckeyes defeated Miami (Ohio) by a score of 3-0 on March 1 before falling to the Redhawks by a score of 4-2 the following night (March 2). They finished the regular season in fourth place in the CCHA standings with 45 points.  

The Coaches: Ferris State - Bob Daniels (Michigan State, 1982), 21st season, 349-376-84 (.484) – (25-29-4 vs. Ohio State – 12-21-2 away, 13-8-2 home and 0-1-0 neutral). Daniels has the distinction of being the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State history. He was honored as the Spencer Penrose Award winner as the American Collegiate Hockey Association's (ACHA) Division I National Hockey Coach of the Year in both 2003 and 2012 in addition to claiming CCHA Coach of the Year honors both times. He was among three finalists for both the 2007-08 and 2009-10 CCHA Coach of the Year Awards. Daniels led the Bulldogs to their first-ever appearance at the Frozen Four and second-ever CCHA Regular-Season Championship title last season.

Ohio State - Mark Osiecki (Wisconsin, 1994), 3rd season. Mark Osiecki, a winner on every level, was named head coach of the Ohio State men's hockey program April 24, 2010, and is midst his third year at the helm of the Buckeyes. Osiecki was an assistant at Wisconsin the six years prior to coming to Ohio State and spent seven seasons as the head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). Osiecki has been a part of NCAA (both as a player and coach), junior hockey, international and professional championship teams. He coached at the international level and was on the staff of the United States team when they captured gold at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatchewan and also was part of the to USA bench for this year's winter World Championship in Ufa, Russia. Osiecki played six years of professional hockey for the Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, and Minnesota North Stars.

Historic Season: Ferris State won its second CCHA regular-season championship and finished as the national runner-up a year ago.  The Bulldogs claimed the NCAA Midwest Regional title with two victories in Green Bay, Wis., and then topped Union (N.Y.) in the program's first-ever Frozen Four national semifinal game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.  FSU suffered a 4-1 loss to Boston College in the national championship game on April 7 in Tampa to finish the most historic campaign in school history with a 26-12-1 overall record.

All-Time Series Notes: Ohio State holds a 59-47-15 all-time series advantage ..... The Bulldogs are 31-24-4 when having home ice and 15-32-11 in Columbus against the Buckeyes. FSU is 0-1-0 against Ohio State on neutral ice ...... This year, the two teams split two games in Big Rapids with both winning by identical 3-1 scores (Jan. 11-12) ...... Last season, the Bulldogs posted a 1-0-1 mark against the Buckeyes with a 4-3 win in Columbus followed by a 3-3 overtime tie (Jan. 20-21).  FSU won the second-night shootout to take five of a possible six points against Ohio State ...... In 2010-11, the Bulldogs went 2-1-1 with the Buckeyes with a win both in Big Rapids and Columbus along with a shootout victory at OSU ... FSU has posted a 4-2-2 series mark over the last three years. 

First-Round Bye:  Ferris State officially clinched its fourth consecutive first-round bye for the CCHA Playoffs.  FSU and Miami (Ohio) are currently the only teams in the last four years to earn a bye each season.

The CCHA Playoffs: This weekend's second-round matchups include top-seeded Miami hosting Michigan State, number two seed Western Michigan entertaining Michigan along with third-seeded Notre Dame playing host to Bowling Green in addition to the Ohio State-Ferris State matchup. The second-round winners will advance to the semifinals at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, March 23.  The CCHA Championship game will take place on Sunday, March 24, in Detroit at 2:05 p.m. (ET).  The league's tournament champion receives an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.  

CCHA Championship Weekend: The 2013 CCHA Championship will be held March 22-24 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. The weekend event commences Friday, March 22, with the annual CCHA Awards Show at the Fox Theatre. The semifinal contests get underway Saturday, March 23, at 1:05 p.m. (ET) and 4:35 p.m. (ET), respectively. The CCHA Championship Game is set for Sunday, March 24, at 2:05 p.m. (ET).

Bulldog Playoff Notebook: This year's CCHA Tournament represents the last in the 42-year history of the league ..... Ferris State has advanced to the CCHA Championship Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena four previous times in 1990-91, 1992-93, 2002-03 and 2009-10 .... The Bulldogs swept Nebraska-Omaha in 2010 during the second round to reach the CCHA Semifinals at Joe Louis Arena before falling during second-round action on the road as the fifth seed in 2011 at Western Michigan ..... A year ago, the Bulldogs also fell in game three of the second round to Bowling Green at home before eventually receiving an at-large NCAA Tournament bid and reaching the Frozen Four for the first-time ever ...... Over the past four seasons, Ferris State and Miami are the only two CCHA members to receive a first-round playoff bye in each of the four campaigns.

CCHA Tourney History: Ferris State presently sports a 24-57-3 (.304) all-time record in CCHA Tournament contests, which includes a 13-2 home record and a 9-49-3 away mark.  The Bulldogs made their fifth CCHA Championship appearance in the program's history two years ago (2009-10)  to join the 1979-80, 1990-91, 1992-93, and 2002-03 teams as representatives in the semifinals.

Playoff History vs. OSU: Ferris State and Ohio State are no strangers in CCHA Tourney action. The two programs have faced each other in the playoffs six previous times. The Buckeyes currently own a 7-4-2 all-time playoff edge over the Bulldogs, including a 7-2-2 mark in Columbus.  Ferris State traveled to OSU for quarterfinal-round action in 1979-80, 1980-81, 1983-84 and 1998-99.  The two teams also faced off in the first round in Columbus in 2004-05 and in Big Rapids in 2005-06.  OSU won game three in '04-05 while the Bulldogs swept the Buckeyes in '05-06 at home.  

Earlier This Year: Ferris State split the final regular-season series with the Buckeyes earlier this season (Jan. 11-12). The Bulldogs dropped the series opener by a score of 3-1 before reversing the score and posting a 3-1 victory over the Buckeyes the following night. On Friday, the Buckeyes scored two goals in the opening period, but neither team could find the back of the net in the next period. The Buckeyes scored their third goal of the evening early in the final frame to take a 3-0 advantage before sophomore wing Justin Buzzeo scored the Bulldogs' lone goal of the evening midway through the final period for his fourth marker of the season. Sophomore goaltender CJ Motte was in net for 58 minutes and recorded 24 saves on the evening. The Bulldogs led the shots by a 39-27 margin.

On Saturday (Jan. 12), the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead late in the second period as senior center Travis Ouellette tallied his fifth goal of the season only 32 seconds before freshman wing Dakota Klecha scored his fourth goal of the season. Neither team scored during the second period before the Buckeyes scored their lone goal of the evening early in the final frame. Senior wing Kyle Bonis scored his 10th goal of the season on the Buckeyes' empty net with 24.3 seconds remaining in regulation to seal the 3-1 victory. Sophomore goaltender CJ Motte was in net for 59:55 and totaled 25 saves on the evening. FSU led the shots by a slim 28-26 count.

Michigan Review: The Bulldogs fell to Michigan by a score of 4-1 on Friday (March 1) inside the Yost Ice Arena. Michigan took a 2-0 lead early in the opening period, however, senior center Travis Ouellette made it a one-goal game late in the first period when he notched the Bulldogs' lone goal of the evening for his 10th marker this campaign. The Wolverines scored a goal late in the second period to take the 3-1 advantage and then recorded another goal late in the final frame to seal the 4-1 victory. Sophomore netminder CJ Motte recorded 33 saves on the evening and played the entire 60 minutes.  Michigan led the shots by a 37-23 margin.

The Bulldogs came back to earn a 1-1 overtime tie against the Wolverines on Saturday (March 2) before falling in the shootout before a sold out crowd and in a nationally-televised game aired by FOX Sports Detroit.  Michigan opened the scoring early in the first period to take a 1-0 lead where the score stood until Bulldog freshman defenseman Zach Dorer tied the game at a goal apiece midway through the second stanza when he registered his first collegiate goal. The Wolverines led the shots by a count of 14-6 for the duration of the final frame, however, neither team could find the back of the net as the contest moved to overtime. Both teams had two shots apiece during the extra session, but the score stood at a goal apiece forcing a shootout. Michigan scored the lone goal of the shootout to give the Wolverines the extra point on the evening. Sophomore goaltender CJ Motte spent 64:23 minutes between the pipes and totaled 35 saves on the evening. Michigan led the shots by a count of 36-25.

Good On Nationwide TV: Ferris State has received significant regular-season television exposure throughout this season and has won three major nationally-televised games in the second half of the year over Michigan State, Notre Dame and Bowling Green prior to an exciting 1-1 overtime tie versus Michigan broadcast across the country in the regular-season finale.  

CCHA Goaltender Of Month: Ferris State sophomore CJ Motte was named the Gongshow Goaltender of the Month in the CCHA for January. Motte appeared in six games for Ferris State during the month of January, posting a 5-1-0 record with one shutout. His 1.34 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage were tops in the league for January, as he allowed just eight goals and made 148 saves on the month.

Shutting Out UM & MSU: With FSU's 3-0 shutout over Michigan State on Jan. 5, Bulldog sophomore goaltender CJ Motte became the first netminder in school history to post shutouts over both MSU and Michigan at any point in a career.  He accomplished the feat by shutting out both schools this season as the Bulldogs were a 5-0 winner over the Wolverines on Nov. 30 in Big Rapids.  Overall, Ferris State has now posted four shutout victories all-time against both Michigan and Michigan State.  The only other Bulldog netminder to post two shutouts against either team was Pat Nagle, who shutout the Spartans twice in 2010, but did not shutout Michigan.

Home Sweet Home: Ferris State's senior trio of Kyle Bonis, Eric Alexander and Travis Ouellette have combined to score 20 of their 33 goals this season inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena.  Eleven of Bonis' team-high 17 goals have came on home ice while Alexander has notched four of his five goals in Big Rapids and Ouellette has tallied four of his 10 overall at home.

Hat Trick For Thompson: Junior wing Garrett Thompson's hat trick on Jan. 5 against Michigan State came nearly a year to the day in which a Bulldog player last recorded three goals in a contest.  A year ago, senior Jordie Johnson notched a hat trick in non-league play versus Colgate (1/6/12) at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in a 4-3 Bulldog victory.

Northern Lights Award Winner: Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels was honored following FSU's 3-1 Bulldog victory over Ohio State (Jan. 12) as this year's community Northern Lights Award recipient for sports and recreation. The community award was presented by members of the Northern Lights Committee on the ice before a crowd of 2,325 fans inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena. The Northern Lights Award series is in its 12th year and is presented by the Mecosta County Medical Center Foundation in an effort to recognize community members who made significant contributions in seven different areas that make up the acronym "Mecosta": Management, Business and industry, Environment, Civics, Outdoor Activities and sports, Social services and health, Training and education along with Arts and entertainment.

CCHA Preseason Polls: Ferris State was chosen to finish in the top half of the CCHA again this year in the league's annual preseason polls. The Bulldogs, who advanced to the national championship game at the 2012 Frozen Four, were tabbed to finish fourth by the media and fifth by the coaches from around the conference in 2012-13.  Ferris State received three first-place votes from the media and 626 total points.  The coaches gave FSU 67 points in the voting format.  FSU hopes to build off last season's success this coming year, returning 18 letterwinners, including three of their top five scorers.

Important Fact: Bulldog junior Garrett Thompson has registered 22 points in his last 25 outings after totaling only three points in the initial 10 contests of the season.  Nine of his 11 goals this year have also came during the stretch.

National Attention:  Ferris State is not ranked this week in the USCHO.com Division I National Poll.  FSU has been listed among others receiving votes in both the USCHO and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls most of the season.  Ferris State was ranked for 37 consecutive weeks dating back to early last season prior to the recent stretch.

Did You Know?:  Ferris State currently ranks second in the nation in combined special teams at 57.5%. In addition, the Bulldogs' power play is currently 15th the country (20.8%) and the Bulldogs are 12th on the penalty kill at 85.8%.  FSU allowed only two goals on 26 opponent power play tries during the seven games in the month of January.

Statistical & Rankings Notes:  Ferris State senior wing Kyle Bonis enters this weekend's playoff series at Ohio State ranked second in the CCHA with 14 goals to date this season and also has a CCHA-high six power play goals in league action. FSU presently has the league's top combined special teams.

Junior wing Garrett Thompson has registered a team-high 25 points, with senior wing Kyle Bonis taking a close second for 24 points. Thompson has 11 goals and 14 assists this season while Bonis has a team-high 17 goals and seven helpers.    

Sophomore CJ Motte has been the goalie of record in 32 of the Bulldogs' 34 contests to date this year.  Last season, he split time with All-America goaltender Taylor Nelson in the beginning of the campaign as Nelson was credited as the wining or losing goalie in 10 games during the first half with Motte charged in the other eight outings before Nelson became the primary goaltender in the stretch run.

Senior Kyle Bonis is currently tied for eighth nationally this year with seven power-play goals to date and tied for 19th in goal scoring (0.50 pg.).  Meanwhile, Cory Kane ranks tied for eighth in the country with two short-handed goals on the year.  Also, CJ Motte is tied for 12th in the country with three shutouts to date.  He's 17th in the nation in save percentage (.927) and 19th in goals against average (2.17).

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