Frozen Four

by Published: Mar 28, 2012

Headed to the Frozen Four: The Bulldogs leap off the bench after win­ning the Regional Final against Cornell. The Ferris State hockey team will com­pete in the Frozen Four tour­na­ment on April 5 against Union in Tampa Bay. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

Here it is, nearly April and Ferris State University has earned the gift of more hockey.

In case you missed the nation­ally tele­vised games, the Bulldogs man­aged to advance to the Midwest Regional Final by defeat­ing Denver University 2–1 March 23 in Green Bay.

The Bulldogs then went on to defeat Cornell University 2–1 in the Midwest Regional Final March 24 in Green Bay, claim­ing their first ever NCAA Frozen Four berth in the program’s history.

“We really came together this week­end. We played as a team and it feels really good to accom­plish some­thing that so few peo­ple thought we could accom­plish,” senior for­ward Jordie Johnston said. “It’s a once in a life­time oppor­tu­nity and we want to share it with everyone.”

History Making: The Ferris State University Bulldogs faced off against Cornell in the Midwest Regional final on March 24. The Bulldogs defeated Cornell 2–1. The win secures the Bulldogs a spot in the Frozen Four for the first time in school his­tory. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

The game against Cornell went score­less for the first two peri­ods before junior for­ward Garrett Thompson scored first for the Bulldogs. He net­ted his tenth goal of the sea­son 11 sec­onds into the third period on a power play that the Bulldogs received dur­ing the sec­ond period. Junior for­ward Matthew Kerzinger assisted Thompson on the play.

Cornell answered back 2:32 into the third period as Dustin Mowrey scored off of a Bulldog turnover, tying the game 1–1.

The Bulldogs lead­ing goal-scorer Johnston scored the game win­ning goal against Cornell at the 6:54 mark of the third period. Sophomore for­wards Andy Huff and Cory Kane assisted on the play.

“We’ve had lit­er­ally every­one com­ing to play every night and it’s helped us get to the point where we are and if we can con­tinue to do that we’ll be suc­cess­ful going into the future,” Johnston said.

Senior goal­tender Taylor Nelson made 22 saves in the victory.

“I think for future suc­cess, Taylor has to con­tinue play­ing the way he has,” Johnston said.

The Bulldogs were 1-for-5 on the power play while they kept Cornell 0-for-6 on the power play. Ferris served 27 penalty min­utes in the game.

The Bulldogs improved to 25−11−5 over­all this season.

All sea­son long Johnston and Nelson have said that this years Bulldog team wanted to be a team that would be remem­bered in FSU Athletics. Not for one player’s stand­out per­for­mance; but instead, for the team’s com­plete performance.

Now FSU will face a team that both Nelson and Johnston think is sim­i­lar to them. Union College has never made it to the Frozen Four before and has made it to the NCAA Tournament two times in the program’s his­tory. Union College is also a small school. Neither team has any NHL Draft Picks.

Defeating Denver: Ferris State University junior right wing Matthew Kirzinger maneu­vers past a Denver defense­men on March 23. The Bulldogs defeated Denver 2–1 and advanced to the Regional Final against Cornell. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

“I think when you look at our team it’s the team men­tal­ity that we have that I don’t think any other team in the nation has and that’s what is going to end up being the dif­fer­ence maker for us,” Johnston said.

Union has aver­aged 3.55 goals a game this sea­son and their team defense has only allowed 1.80 goals a game. Their team defense has been aided by sopho­more goal­tender Troy Grosenick, who has totaled 1.64 goals against on aver­age and has a .936 save percentage.

The Midwest Regions most valu­able player, Nelson, has only allowed two goals dur­ing the tour­na­ment for the Bulldogs. Nelson has a .923 save per­cent­age this year and a 2.10 GAA.

Nelson said he thinks what stands out about this year’s team is their will­ing­ness to sac­ri­fice them­selves each game. Nelson’s belief is sup­ported by the Bulldogs com­bined 460 blocked shots this year.

“Everybody is will­ing to bleed for this team,” Nelson said. “We’re a defen­sive hockey team and in the end defense is what wins championships.”

FSU and Union will face­off in Tampa April 5 at 4:30 p.m. in the national semi­fi­nals. If the Bulldogs win, they will face the win­ner between Boston College and the University of Minnesota.

There may be a bus to take fans and stu­dents down to Florida to watch the game, though details have not been released yet. Tickets are $195 and allow fans to watch both the semi­fi­nal and national cham­pi­onship games. They may be bought directly from the FSU Athletics
Ticket Office.