Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey program has announced a challenging non-conference regular-season schedule for the 2013-14 campaign, which includes a pair of familiar opponents along with top-notch competition.
The Bulldogs' have unveiled their eight-game non-conference schedule to go with the previously announced 28-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) league slate and it is highlighted by regular-season matchups with both in-state rivals Michigan and Michigan State.
In addition, Ferris State will also take part in the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Classic this coming year over the holiday break and play two games each against non-league foes Colgate and St. Lawrence.
"Our non-conference schedule certainly will be challenging again and we believe it will help prepare us for both our league regular-season and postseason competition," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels, a two-time National Coach of the Year Award recipient who will embark on his 22nd season behind the Bulldogs' bench as the program's all-time winningest coach in 2013-14. "We have some high-quality opponents in the non-conference portion and along with the opponents we'll face in the WCHA, this will make for an exciting schedule night in and night out."
The Bulldogs' first non-league games will represent their initial regular-season matchups of the 2013-14 campaign as they travel to Colgate for two contests on the opening weekend, Oct. 5-6, in Hamilton, N.Y.
After a bye week, the Bulldogs face another New York school two weeks later as St. Lawrence comes to Big Rapids for a two-game non-conference set on Oct. 18-19. The two games against the Saints will mark FSU's lone non-league home outings of the year during the regular-season.
Following six consecutive weekends of WCHA action during the month of November and early December, the Bulldogs return to non-conference competition for a four-game stretch. FSU will travel to Ann Arbor to square off with former Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) rival Michigan on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Yost Ice Arena with a road tilt three nights later against Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Munn Ice Arena.
The matchups with the two Big Ten schools will continue highly-competitive series' dating back over the years. Official game times have yet to be announced. This past season, in 2012-13, the Bulldogs won three of four matchups against the Spartans and posted a 1-1-2 mark against the Wolverines, which included a decisive 5-0 shutout win in Big Rapids and two overtime ties.
"I think it's important for us to maintain those rivalries, especially as we start to develop rivalries with new teams we will now face in the WCHA," Daniels said. "It will take the fans awhile before they become comfortable with those rivalries so its important to maintain some of the ones we've had, especially with the proximity close to home."
Ferris State closes out the non-conference portion of the schedule following the holiday break on Jan. 3-4 as the Bulldogs venture to Minneapolis to take part in the prestigious Mariucci Classic hosted by the University of Minnesota. In addition to the Big Ten's Gophers, the field also includes RPI and Colgate.
"What I really like about the Mariucci Classic is that there are some really good teams," said Daniels. "For us, we want to continue to find quality opportunities to play against good competition in a tournament setup. I always like the idea of holiday tournaments because they give you an opportunity to play in that type of format as well as a chance to win a championship.
"It will also give us a taste of what reaching the league final is like with four teams in a do-or-die situation," he added. "It will be similar to what the WCHA Final Five will be like so hopefully that bears some fruit come playoff time."
In March, the Bulldogs announced their first-ever WCHA regular-season conference schedule for the 2013-14 campaign, which includes 28 league games against nine other conference opponents, including 14 league home tilts at the Ewigleben Ice Arena. The 2014 WCHA Final Five playoff championship will also be held in West Michigan at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena on March 21-22.
Ticket information, along with start times for selected remaining games and promotional events, will be announced in the near future.
"As the past couple seasons have shown, we have a loyal and passionate fan base that brings energy and excitement to our program and we're excited about the chance to embark on our first season in one of the nation's most prestigious conferences with them behind us," Daniels said.
The Bulldogs ended the 2012-13 season with a 16-16-5 overall record and placed fifth in their final season of CCHA competition. FSU also earned a first-round bye in the league tournament for the fourth consecutive season, joining Miami (Ohio) as the lone league members to receive a bye in each of the final four years of the CCHA.
This past season's campaign came on the heels of a historic 2011-12 campaign in which Ferris State received its first-ever number one national ranking, won the CCHA regular-season championship, claimed the NCAA Midwest Regional crown and advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time in school history.
For the complete 2013-14 Bulldog Hockey schedule, please visit this link: