No Fight in Those Irish

Ferris Bulldogs now ranked No. 1 in the nation

by Published: Feb 15, 2012

Ferris State han­dled Notre Dame by sweep­ing the Irish in a home and home series. Ferris remains to be the top team in the con­fer­ence after the sweep.

Ferris began its series Feb. 10 against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. The Bulldogs shutout the Irish, defeat­ing Notre Dame 3–0.

The first period went score­less, but Bulldog junior for­ward Kyle Bonis found the back of the net in the sec­ond period, scor­ing the Bulldogs’ first two goals. He scored his first on the power play and his sec­ond came with 22 sec­onds left in the sec­ond period. Bonis has scored 15 goals this season.

“Going on the road, play­ing Notre Dame, we knew it was a tough feat,” senior Bulldog goal­tender Taylor Nelson said. “We knew that com­ing into the week­end, it would be another playoff-like series.”

Senior Ferris for­ward Derek Graham net­ted the final goal for the Bulldogs off of a feed from senior defense­man Chad Billins and Bonis. Billins has tal­lied at least one point in each of the Bulldogs’ last nine games.

Nelson earned his third shutout of the sea­son, stop­ping 31 of Notre Dame’s shots.

“Anytime you play Notre Dame, you have a top-notched team. Getting the chance to beat those guys is really excit­ing,” Nelson said.

Ferris’ defense blocked 19 shots. Freshman defense­man Jason Binkley and junior for­ward Eric Alexander blocked a game-high four shots for the Bulldogs.

In the sec­ond night of the series, the Bulldog fans wel­comed Ferris home with a sold out crowd. Ferris com­pleted the sweep by van­quish­ing the Irish 5–1.

Five Bulldog skaters scored against Notre Dame while Nelson made 27 saves for Ferris. Nelson improved his record to 15−4−2.

Ferris extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games with a 9−0−3 record. The Bulldogs have not lost since the begin­ning of the new year. The Bulldogs’ cur­rent unbeaten streak is tied for the second-longest streak in the program’s his­tory. FSU had a school best 15-game unbeaten streak (12−0−3) in the 1990–91 season.

The Bulldogs are tied with the 2002-03 squad for second-longest unbeaten streak, which won the regular-season Central Collegiate Hockey Association championship.

“Our goal isn’t quite com­plete yet,” Nelson said. “We can’t stay sat­is­fied with our [cur­rent streak], we have to keep win­ning. It’s nice to have the glory of win­ning that series, but we can’t bask in it for too long.”

Ferris is lead­ing the CCHA with a 14−6−4−(1) con­fer­ence record and is 20−8−4 over­all. The Bulldogs are the first NCCA Division I team to reach 20 wins this year.

Ferris has four regular-season games left in the sea­son before they pre­pare for the CCHA play­offs. Three of FSU’s last four games will be played at home, where the Bulldogs have lost at only once this season.

The Bulldogs are atop the PairWise rank­ings, accord­ing to U.S. College Hockey Online. PairWise rank­ings deter­mine poten­tial NCAA tour­na­ment bids. The Bulldogs also have the best rat­ings per­cent­age index in the nation. RPI deter­mines the strength of a team’s sched­ule and is based on a team’s wins and losses.

The nation­ally No. 1 ranked Bulldogs will next face Bowling Green State Feb. 17–18 in the Ewigleben Ice Arena. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. for both games. Ferris has swept Bowling Green once this sea­son. n