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Tenacious Tending

Motte backs Bulldogs as lead goaltender

by Published: Dec 5, 2012

Come At Me, Bro!: Ferris State goal­tender CJ Motte drops down for a but­ter­fly save against the Universty of Michigan. Motte shutout the Wolverines Friday night and made 39 saves Saturday night for a 3–3 tie. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

There is one thing Ferris has been con­sis­tent at dur­ing the last three years: devel­op­ing All-American goal­tend­ing talent.

Last sea­son, for­mer Ferris All-American goal­tender Taylor Nelson led the Bulldogs to an NCAA Tournament runner-up title and CCHA Regular Season Championship.

The year before, the Bulldogs were held together by another for­mer All-American goal­tender in Pat Nagle. Nagle recorded the sec­ond best career goals-against aver­age, 2.49, and third best save per­cent­age, .913, in the program’s history.

Now, Ferris’ sopho­more goal­tender CJ Motte is the Bulldogs’ lead­ing sav­ior in net.

“He has the poten­tial to be the best,” Ferris coach Bob Daniels said.

Motte, a con­struc­tion man­age­ment major, is ranked eighth among the best goal­tenders in the nation who have played at least 14 games.

He has main­tained a .933 save-percentage this year and has allowed an aver­age of only 2.09 goals past his pads per game, with two shutouts recorded.

Motte worked with Ferris’ strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Dave Cencer over the sum­mer to pre­pare to endure a sea­son full of mak­ing saves. At this point, Motte is third in the nation in most saves made with 403.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Dave Cencer. He really got me in shape,” Motte said.

Motte, the cap­tain of the Bulldogs’ crease, defends last year’s con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship title each night.

Motte gives the Bulldogs a chance to win each game they play, as Bonis puts it.

“That’s my goal. Every night I want to give my team a chance to win the game,” Motte said. “I just have to do my job, save the pucks that I’m sup­posed to and try to save a cou­ple that I’m not.”

Bonis, the cap­tain of the Bulldogs, has con­fi­dence step­ping on the ice each night with Motte defend­ing the Bulldogs’ net. Bonis and junior for­ward Garrett Thompson are famil­iar with Motte’s abil­i­ties in net, hav­ing played junior hockey with the goal­tender for the Traverse City North Stars prior to his arrival at Ferris.

“His demeanor never really changes. He’s a really good calm­ing influ­ence for us back there, and that’s some­thing that’s really cru­cial in a goalie and a part of what makes CJ so spe­cial,” Bonis said. “His abil­ity to stay com­posed in tough sit­u­a­tions is con­ta­gious on the team and has allowed us to get off to a good start.”

Motte attrib­uted Ferris’ suc­cess this year to the defen­sive core in front of him.

He said the defense has become more com­fort­able on the ice and has made a sig­nif­i­cant effort to pre­vent oppo­nents from get­ting qual­ity looks on net, ref­er­enc­ing the Bulldogs’ recent 5–0 shutout of the Michigan Wolverines as one of Ferris’ best defen­sive efforts.

“Our defense has really been turn­ing it on lately; [they’ve] helped me out by steer­ing guys away, so those grade A oppor­tu­nity shots are off to the side, mak­ing them a lit­tle eas­ier to save,” Motte said.

Motte’s atten­tion is on the CCHA reg­u­lar sea­son, though he looks for­ward to com­pet­ing in the CCHA play­offs. Motte is also hope­ful Ferris can return to the NCAA Division I Tournament this year.

Motte’s devo­tion and desire to con­stantly improve has impressed the cap­tain of this year’s team.

“We have a great chance to do really well this year. CJ is one of the best goalies in the coun­try,” Bonis said. “He has a very bright future ahead of him.”