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Race to the Finish

Last home CCHA game in Ferris State history ends with victory

by Published: Feb 20, 2013

Senior Sendoff: Bulldog senior hockey play­ers were rec­og­nized at Saturday’s game against Bowling Green. From left to right, Bulldog cen­ter Travis Ouellette, cen­ter Matthew Kirzinger, goal­tender Rob Granett, left wing Kyle Bonis and right wing Eric Alexander. Photos By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

Senior Sendoff: Bulldog senior hockey play­ers were rec­og­nized at Saturday’s game against Bowling Green. From left to right, Bulldog cen­ter Travis Ouellette, cen­ter Matthew Kirzinger, goal­tender Rob Granett, left wing Kyle Bonis and right wing Eric Alexander. Photos By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

To rem­i­nisce about Ferris State’s days in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association is nat­ural at the moment. There will never be a reg­u­lar sea­son CCHA game at Ewigleben Ice Arena again with realign­ment on the horizon.

Hockey is an inte­gral part of life, not only in Michigan, but also in the Big Rapids area. Members of the com­mu­nity come out week­end after week­end to see their Bulldogs play, no mat­ter the state of the team.

Last sea­son was a gift for Bulldog fans, as Ferris alumni and for­mer Bulldog goal­tender Taylor Nelson car­ried Ferris State all the way to the National Championship game.

This sea­son has been much more of a roller coaster ride, as evi­denced by the series that took place last week­end on Feb. 15–16.

“It was all kind of a whirl­wind before the game,” Bulldog senior left wing and cap­tain Kyle Bonis said. “It’s been a great ride.”

The Bowling Green State Falcons were able to cap­ture a heart­breaker, ruin­ing sopho­more goal­tender CJ Motte’s shutout in the clos­ing min­utes of reg­u­la­tion, and fir­ing a shot to the col­lec­tive heart of the Bulldog faith­ful in overtime.

Bonis would not accept this as the end of CCHA play for the Bulldogs in front of his home fans. Bonis tal­lied his 44th and 45th career goals in the first and sec­ond game of the series, respectively.

“Sometimes when you get kicked down a lit­tle bit, the next night is more telling of a team’s char­ac­ter than any­thing else,” Bonis said. “I thought we came out strong and we played a grit­tier game.”

In that sec­ond game, Bonis’ goal helped in an effort that at times looked like it may be negated once more. In front of the biggest Dawg Pound in the program’s his­tory and 2,565 fans, Bonis found the back of the net short-handed with just under a minute remain­ing in the first period.

022013_Buzzeo_Brock“I’m hop­ing that’s def­i­nitely not our last game in front of those fans,” Bonis said.

Ferris junior left wing Garrett Thompson would book­end the scor­ing for the night, break­ing the 3–3 tie with a power play goal with less than three min­utes remain­ing in the sec­ond period.

In typ­i­cal Bulldog fash­ion, they played out the last minute and a half with their gritty defen­sive style, block­ing two shots despite the Falcons’ extra attacker.

“For the guys to come back tonight and really bat­tle; over­com­ing and show­ing we could hold on to that lead and still win and grind that out was really impor­tant,” Ferris head coach Bob Daniels said.

The 4–3 win kept Ferris State in fourth place in the stand­ings, tied with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ferris’ win on Senior Night was espe­cially impor­tant in jock­ey­ing for post­sea­son position.

The Bulldogs will travel to the University of Michigan to take on the Wolverines on March 1–2. The Bulldogs have just that one series remain­ing and hold the edge of a sin­gle reg­u­lar sea­son win over the Buckeyes.

The win over Bowling Green State gives Ferris State the tiebreaker over Ohio State in con­fer­ence wins.

Ohio State has two series remain­ing, includ­ing a match-up with Michigan this week­end and a trip to Oxford to take on the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks on March 1–2.

In order to guar­an­tee a home play­off game, the Bulldogs must win both games against Michigan and have Ohio State lose at least two of the com­ing four; oth­er­wise, the Bulldogs will travel to Columbus, Ohio for the first round of the
CCHA playoffs.