Bus to Columbus

Ferris State’s roster rejuvenated upon athletes’ return

by Published: Mar 6, 2013

Bonis Bonus: Bulldog senior left wing Kyle Bonis controls the puck as he stops within Michigan’s zone. The Bulldogs dropped Friday’s game against Michigan 4-1, while Saturday ended with a 1-1 tie at the end of overtime. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

Bonis Bonus: Bulldog senior left wing Kyle Bonis con­trols the puck as he stops within Michigan’s zone. The Bulldogs dropped Friday’s game against Michigan 4–1, while Saturday ended with a 1–1 tie at the end of over­time. Photo By: Brock Copus | Multimedia Editor

Radical adjust­ments to Ferris State’s line-up early in the year pegged the weight of an entire sea­son on the shoul­ders of Ferris’ healthy and expe­ri­enced upper­class­men.

Ferris cap­tain and senior left wing Kyle Bonis calmly accepted his role as leader by main­tain­ing a level head with the help of his line mates, a young moti­vated group of skaters to aid in Ferris’ voids, and sopho­more goal­tender CJ Motte as body guard of the goal line, to lead Ferris (13−12−3−1) to a fifth-place fin­ish in the CCHA’s final reg­u­lar sea­son.

“He is a very calm­ing influ­ence on the bench. He is a very effec­tive leader on a team that is very young,” Ferris hockey head coach Bob Daniels said.

Bonis leads the squad with 17 goals this year. He is ranked sev­enth nation­ally (U.S. College Hockey Online) with seven goals pounded past oppo­nents on the power-play.

“The heart of [his lead­er­ship] is what he gets accom­plished in prac­tice. There’s nobody that has worked harder than him over the last four years,” Daniels said.

Ferris added eight fresh­men this year to replace eight grad­u­at­ing seniors who fin­ished their Bulldog career with a CCHA Regular Season Championship and the program’s first NCAA Tournament Finals appear­ance in 2012.

This sea­son, the Bulldog ros­ter was devoid of two essen­tial fac­tors to both cam­paigns, junior assis­tant cap­tain Scott Czarnowczan and last year’s top return­ing scorer senior cen­ter Matthew Kirzinger, due to injuries.

“It’s really neat to see how a team works, adapts and changes. Kudos to the boys; with­out them, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Kirzinger said. “Hopefully we can go deep in the play­offs.”

Now, Ferris State has a line-up with Kirzinger and Czarnowczan back in par­tic­i­pa­tion, primed for the quar­ter­fi­nal round of play­offs.

Czarnowczan gladly reclaimed a role on Ferris’ defense. Last sea­son he helped lead Ferris in most blocked shots by defense­man, and he hopes to con­tinue cut­ting off oppo­nents’ pass­ing lanes dur­ing the upcom­ing play­offs series against Ohio State.

A best-of-three series awaits the Bulldogs and Buckeyes. Each team will have their last jab at attend­ing the St. Joe Louis Arena, depend­ing on the results of the series.

Ferris’ four seniors, the only ath­letes left who have played in the arena, com­peted there four years ago in 2009-10.

In the con­fer­ence, Ohio State and Ferris are tied for scor­ing defense with 2.25 goals allowed per game. OSU holds a slight edge in goals scored per game, 2.54 com­pared to Ferris’ 2.39.

The Bulldogs have the second-best power-play and are fourth in penalty-killing in the league.

“We’re a smaller school. We’re not going to get any calls. We don’t expect to get any breaks; we’re going to get beat up and we’re going to have to take and bat­tle through that,” Kirzinger said.

Czarnowczan said Ferris’ for­wards were able to speed past OSU’s slug­gish defense in their past series and believes their effort will help the Bulldogs most offen­sively.

“We have skilled play­ers, but it’s going to be the heart that wins,” Kirzinger said.

The best-of-three series will begin March 15 in Columbus, Ohio.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.fox.7169 Steve Fox

    That’s a great photo of Kyle Bonis! Looking for­ward to the upcom­ing week­end of CCHA play­off hockey and cov­er­age by The Torch!