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FSU Hockey At A Glance: The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will take to the road for the first time in about a month this weekend (Dec. 1-2) as the Bulldogs face the nationally-ranked Miami University (Ohio) RedHawks in a two-game Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) series at MU's new Steve Cady Arena in Oxford, Ohio. A 7:35 p.m. (EST) opening faceoff is slated for this Friday's (Dec. 1) series opener while Saturday's (Dec. 2) contest will commence at 7:05 p.m. (EST).
The Records: Ferris State improved to 4-8-1 overall and 2-6-1 in the CCHA as a result of last Tuesday's (11/21) 4-0 league decision over Western Michigan at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs sport a 1-2-1 record in away encounters this season.
Miami (Ohio), which is ranked fourth nationally this week by both U.S. College Hockey Online/CSTV and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, is presently 11-5-0 overall and 7-3-0 in the CCHA. The RedHawks went 1-1-0 in a pair of non-league encounters last weekend (11/24-25) in New York. Miami registered a 4-3 triumph over St. Lawrence last Friday (11/24) at SLU's Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y. before having its four-game winning streak snapped last Saturday (11/25) as a result of a 4-2 loss to Clarkson at CU's Cheel Arena in Potsdam, N.Y. The RedHawks are 8-2-0 at home this campaign.
The Series: Ferris State trails Miami (Ohio) 39-26-12 in their all-time series which dates back to the 1979-80 season. The Bulldogs are 19-19-4 in games played at Oxford and went 1-0-1 in their last two road appearances (12/10-11/04) with a 3-3 overtime tie followed by a 2-1 victory over the RedHawks. Miami has a current four-game series winning string after claiming a pair of victories (3-1 and 5-0) last season (1/27-28) at Big Rapids. Eighteen of the last 22 meetings have been determined by two goals or less and eight of the past 14 contests by one goal or less. Ferris State has accumulated a 6-8-4 record in December contests, which includes a 4-4-2 road ledger.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Bob Daniels (Michigan State, 1982), 15th season, 229-270-49 (.461) – (13-23-6 vs. Miami). 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.
Miami (Ohio) – Enrico Blasi (Miami, 1994), 8th season, 141-121-23 (.535) – (11-5-2 vs. Ferris State). Blasi was the 2006 recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award as the AHCA's Division I National Hockey Coach of the Year and is a three-time (2000-01, 2003-04 and 2005-06) winner of the CCHA's Coach of the Year Award.
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. Alaska was chosen seventh in the coaches 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 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.
Two Receive Weekly League Honors – Junior defenseman Jim Jorgensen (Sault Ste. Marie) and sophomore goaltender Mitch O’Keefe (Almonte, Ontario) have been chosen as this week’s (11/27) CCHA’s Defenseman and Goaltender of the Week, respectively. Jorgensen scored a goal and had an assist in the Bulldogs’ 4-0 home win over Western Michigan last Tuesday (11/21) while O’Keefe earned his third career shutout by stopping all 24 WMU shots on net. O’Keefe earned both CCHA Goaltender of the Week (11/14) and CCHA Rookie of the Week (10/24) kudos last season.
Whitewashed – Ferris State’s 4-0 home triumph over Western Michigan was the Bulldogs’ first shutout since Nov. 11, 2005 when FSU blanked the Broncos, 6-0. With the win, Ferris has captured seven of the last eight meetings with Western while averaging 4.5 goals per game (36 total) during that span.
Puck Stopper – Mitch O’Keefe racked up his third career shutout with last Tuesday’s shutout win versus Western Michigan, which moved him into fourth place among the school’s all-time shutout leaders. O’Keefe, the 2005-06 FSU Rookie of the Year, is three shutouts away from moving into a second-place tie with Vince Owen (1997-01) and Phil Osaer (1998-01). Each compiled six career shutouts in 101 and 59 games, respectively.
Penalty-Kill Consistency – Ferris is operating at 84.6% (77-91) efficiency on the penalty kill this year in its initial 13 outings. A season ago in their first 13 contests, the Bulldogs performed at an 85.1% (80-94) success rate in penalty-killing situations.
Career Best – Jim Jorgensen’s three goals this season in 12 games marks a career high, bettering his two-goal output in 34 contests for the 2004-05 campaign. His six points (3-3=6) this season already equals his production in 2004-05 as a freshman (2-4=6). Jorgensen was Ferris’ top-scoring defensemen last season with 16 points (1-15=16) in 32 games.
Scoring Leaders – The Bulldogs’ top three scoring leaders to date in Matt Verdone (3-5=8), Zac Pearson (4-4=8) and Dan Riedel (2-6=8) have combined for 25.5% (24-94) of the squad’s points production and 26.5% (9-34) of the team’s goal-scoring output.
On The Shelf – Senior left wing Mark Bomersback (Rochester, Alberta), Ferris State’s top returning points leader from 2005-06 with 32 points (16-16=32) in 40 games, suffered a broken leg in this season’s opener against Union (10/6) and will be sidelined until mid-December at the earliest.
Freshmen Production – Ferris’ freshmen forwards – Blair Riley (3-3=6), Cody Chupp (2-4=6), Aaron Lewicki (2-3=5), and Casey Haines (2-1=3) have combined to account for 21.3% (20-94) of the Bulldogs’ points output this season.
Warming Up – Senior left wing Matt Verdone (Summerstown, Ontario) has four points (1-3=4) in his last three games and is midst a current three-game point string. Verdone, who has 52 career points (26-26=52) in 117 contests, went scoreless in seven straight games before tallying a goal against Michigan (11/17). He notched two helpers versus Western Michigan (11/21) in his most recent action.
On The Road – The Bulldogs take to the road this weekend (12/1-2) for the first time in about a month. FSU is averaging 1.75 goals a game (seven total) and 28.8 shots on goal (115 total) in its four road games this season. FSU is at 07.4% (2-27) on the power play and 93.1% (27-29) in penalty-kill situations.
Ferris Ties – Fifth-year Miami assistant coach Jeff Blashill coached and played collegiately at Ferris State. Blashill was a goaltender for the Bulldogs from 1994-98 and then spent four seasons as an assistant coach at FSU.
Miami Connection – Ferris head coach Bob Daniels served as a graduate assistant coach at Miami during the 1986-87 season while Bulldog associate head coach Drew Famulak also spent two seasons (1990-92) at MU in a graduate assistant coaching capacity and helped recruit the freshmen class for the RedHawks' 1993 CCHA Championship Team.