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FSU Hockey At A Glance: The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team returns to Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) action this weekend (Jan. 5-6) as the Bulldogs travel to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a two-game series against the Northern Michigan University Wildcats at NMU's Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich. This Friday's (Jan. 5) series opener will start at 7:35 p.m. (EST) while Saturday's (Jan. 6) matchup will commence at 8:05 p.m. (EST) to accomodate a live telecast by College Sports Television (CSTV).
The Records: Ferris State is 4-12-3 overall and 2-9-2 in the CCHA to date. The Bulldogs skated to a 1-1 overtime tie against Massachusetts in last Friday's (Dec. 29) semifinal round of the 16th annual Dodge Holiday Classic at Minnesota's Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. FSU advanced to the tourney's championship game by claiming a 3-1 decision in a shootout with the Minutemen. Ferris then suffered a 5-2 loss to nationally number-one ranked and host Minnesota in the championship game as the Golden Gophers claimed their eighth consecutive Dodge Holiday Classic title. The Bulldogs, who are 1-4-2 in their last seven outings, are 1-5-1 on the road this season.
Northern Michigan is 7-12-2 overall and 4-9-1 in CCHA play after dropping a two-game league series versus nationally-ranked Notre Dame last weekend (Dec. 30-31). The Wildcats dropped a 4-3 decision to the Fighting Irish last Saturday (Dec. 30) at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind. NMU then fell to Notre Dame by a 4-2 count in Sunday's (Dec. 31) rematch held at UND's Joyce Center in Notre Dame, Ind. The Cats', who are among other teams receiving votes in this week's U.S. College Hockey Online/CSTV poll, are 2-7-0 in their last nine contests. NMU is 3-5-1 in home games this campaign.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Bob Daniels (Michigan State, 1982), 15th season, 229-276-51 (.459) – (12-18-1 vs. Northern Michigan). Daniels has the distinction of being the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State history. He was honored as the 2002-03 CCHA Coach of the Year and the Inside College Hockey (INCH) Coach of the Year, but the crowning highlight of his coaching career was being chosen as the recipient of the 2003 Spencer Penrose Award as the American Hockey Coaches Association's (AHCA) Division I National Hockey Coach of the Year.
Northern Michigan – Walt Kyle (Northern Michigan, 1981), 5thd season, 94-72-17 (.560) – (8-3-0 vs. Ferris State). Kyle, who was named the second head hockey coach in NMU history in June 2002, has directed the Wildcats to four straight 20 win seasons along with four consecutive appearances at the CCHA Championship Tournament in Detroit, Mich. Kyle was the head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team which placed fourth at the 2006 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
The Series: Northern Michigan has a 43-16-2 lead over Ferris State in an all-time series which originated in the 1976-77 season. The Bulldogs are 8-25-0 on the road versus the Wildcats and have dropped their last four away contests at NMU. Ferris compiled a 1-3-0 mark in last season's four-game regular season series, winning 5-3 and losing 2-1 at home (12/9-10/05). The Bulldogs then dropped both games of a two-game set (1/13-14/06) on the Wildcats' home ice, losing 5-0 and 2-1. Eighteen of the last 24 meetings have been determined by two goals or less with the Bulldogs sporting a 5-12-1 (.306) record in such contests. FSU is 4-10-0 all-time in January games, which includes a 2-5-0 away ledger.
2006-07 CCHA Preseason Polls: Ferris State was selected to finish ninth (55 points) in the 2006-07 CCHA Coaches Poll and seventh in the media poll (437 points), which was announced Sept. 27, 2006 during the CCHA's annual media day event at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich. Michigan State (177 points) was the favorite in the coaches poll while Michigan (845 points) claimed top honors in the media balloting, finishing one point ahead of second-place Michigan State (844 points). A total of 77 media members ranked the 12 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school. Northern Michigan was picked eighth in the coaches poll and fourth in the media poll.
On The Radio: All of Ferris State's 2006-07 Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) contests can be heard live on Big Country WWBR (100.9 FM) with Bill Beckwith handling the play-by-play duties.
On The Television: This Saturday's (Jan. 6) game between Ferris State and Northern Michigan will be televised live by College Sports Television (CSTV), which is available on DirecTV channel 610 and Dish Network channel 152. Jason Knapp will be calling the play-by-play with Troy Ward serving as an analyst. The Bulldogs will also be appearing on CSTV Jan. 26 in a weekend CCHA series opening contest at Michigan.
On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics’ official web site can be found at www.ferris.edu/sports. The site features information on all of FSU’s varsity athletics programs including rosters, statistics, yearbooks and more.
Live Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2006-07 Ferris State men's ice hockey home contests will be provided via the internet. Visit http://ccha.cstv.com/ and click on “GT” to access the GameTracker live statistics feature in the Schedules/Results section.
Favorable Results – Ferris State advanced to the championship game of the 16th annual Dodge Holiday Classic last Saturday (12/30) against host Minnesota after winning a 3-1 shootout versus Massachusetts in the tourney’s semifinal round (12/29). The two teams in a 1-1 overtime deadlock which forced a shootout. FSU received shootout goals from senior right wing Zac Pearson (White Lake), senior left wing Mark Bomersback (Rochester, Alberta) and sophomore center Matt Frank (Billings, Mont.). A season ago, Ferris lost in a shootout to Boston College (12/30) at the 14th annual Wells Fargo Denver Cup as teams played to a 3-3 overtime tie.
Bomer Is Back – Mark Bomersback made his first game appearance since the Bulldogs’ season opener versus Union (10/6) when the assistant captain played in both outings of the Dodge Holiday Classic (12/29-30). Bomersback, the team’s top returning scorer from last season with 32 points (16-16=32) in 40 games, suffered a broken leg injury in the Union contest. He presently has compiled 74 career points (31-43=74) in 119 contests. He assisted on FSU’s first goal against Minnesota.
Efficiency – Sophomore right wing Corey Couturier (Traverse City) wasn’t little time getting into the scoring column as he tallied a power-play lamplighter against Minnesota at the Dodge Holiday Classic in only his second outing this season. Couturier, who missed the first half of this season due to a violation of team rules, placed ninth among FSU’s scoring leaders last year with 15 points (8-7=15) in 35 games.
Got Shorty – Senior left wing Matt Verdone (Summerstown, Ontario) tallied Ferris State’s first short-handed goal this season against Massachusetts. The last FSU skater to post a short-hander was Greg Rallo versus Western Michigan (2/4/06) in a 7-2 Bulldog victory.
Firepower – The Bulldogs have outshot their opponent in 14 contests this season, including the last four to date. Ferris is averaging 34.3 shots per game this season to its opponent’s 27.1 for a 7.2 differential. In its last four outings, FSU has averaged 39.3 shots on net (157 total) a contest.
The Big Three – Ferris State’s top three scoring leaders this season, Zac Pearson (5-8=13), sophomore center Dan Riedel (3-8=11), and sophomore Chris Zarb (0-11=11), have accounted for 28.9% (35-121) of the team’s points production this campaign. Pearson has tallied a point or more in five of FSU’s last seven contests while producing seven points (2-5=7) in that period.
Dozen Plus One – Sophomore goaltender Mitch O’Keefe (Almonte, Ontario) is only 13 saves away from moving into an 11th-place tie with Phil Osaer (1998-01) among Ferris State’s all-time saves leaders. O’Keefe, the 2005-06 FSU Rookie of the Year, has made 1,260 career saves in 52 appearances and has averaged 24.2 stops a game during that span.