Big Rapids, Mich. - For the 11th time this season, a Ferris State University men's ice hockey student-athlete has achieved Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Player of the Week recognition.
Senior defenseman Scott Czarnowczan (Macomb), who played a pivotal role in a two-game sweep over Lake Superior State that gave the Bulldogs the WCHA regular season championship and MacNaughton Cup, was chosen as the WCHA Men's Defensive Player of the Week for March 11, 2014.
A 5-10, 176-pound senior from Macomb, Mich., Czarnowczan led the Bulldogs to the WCHA regular reason championship as he scored a team-leading three points on a goal and two assists in back-to-back 2-1 home wins over Lake Superior State at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids. He led the charge in last Saturday's (March 8) title-clinching victory by playing a part in both Bulldog goals, which both came in the initial two minutes of the contest.
Czarnowczan posted the lone assist on fellow senior Garrett Thompson's first goal of the game in a 4-on-3 situation only a minute in and then notched the eventual game-winner less than a minute later while skating 4-on-4. The two-time captain also picked up the first assist on FSU's first goal of the weekend late in the opening period on Friday night.
For the weekend, Czarnowczan notched three shots and also had four blocks for the Bulldogs as they remained unbeaten in league action at home. He also played a key defensive role on FSU's penalty-kill unit that held the Lakers scoreless in six tries on the weekend and was the first star of Saturday's game.
With this week's recognition, Czarnowczan becomes the sixth different FSU player to earn recognition in the league this campaign. FSU senior forward Cory Kane claimed offensive player of the week honors two weeks ago and joined sophomore forward Matt Robertson as an offensive recipient this year while freshman forward Kyle Schempp previously earned Rookie of the Week. Junior defenseman Jason Binkley was a Defensive Player of the Week winner earlier this year while CJ Motte claimed the WCHA's defensive nod six times campaign.
A national finalist for the Senior CLASS Award this season, Czarnowczan will lead the Bulldogs into the postseason this week. FSU will be the top seed for the WCHA Playoffs and host a best-of-three first round series Friday thru Sunday, March 14-15 and 16 (if necessary), at the Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids against eighth-seeded Bemidji State.
The first two games of the first round series are scheduled for 7:07 p.m. (ET) with the deciding third game, if necessary, beginning on Sunday at 5:07 p.m. (ET). The series will represent FSU's first-ever WCHA home playoff action.
The winner of the opening-round series will advance to Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena for the WCHA Final Five Championship on March 21-22 with the league's playoff champion earning the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Tickets for the first-round series can be purchased in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office located inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex, online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737. For more information, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com or call (231) 591-2888. The ticket office is open Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET).
Ferris State captured its second conference championship in the last three years with Saturday's triumph over Lake Superior State inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena. The Bulldogs, who moved up a spot to sixth in the nation this week, joined only two other programs to ever win regular-season championships in both the former Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and the WCHA along with Michigan and Northern Michigan.
Presently, Ferris State ranks as one of the nation's best teams on home ice this year as FSU has compiled a 14-1-1 mark to date in the facility this campaign. Overall, The Bulldogs presently own a 25-9-3 overall mark this season and posted a first-place 20-6-2 mark in the league standings. FSU did not lose a conference home game in regular-season play (13-0-1).
Currently, FSU's 25 wins are tied for the most in the country and the Bulldogs also have the nation's fourth-best winning percentage (.716). Ferris State is presently sixth in the national PairWise and RPI rankings, which will help determine the NCAA Tournament field at the end of the season.