11th and Climbing

The Ferris hockey team tied the school record for the best home start with an 11-0 record

With a sweep of Western Michigan, Ferris is 11-0-0 at home this season, tying the school record for the best home start ever and ranked 11th in the country.

The Bulldogs, nationally ranked 11th by uscho.com, improved to 8-2-2-2 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and 13-3-2 overall. Ferris remains third in the conference standings, just one point behind Michigan State and six points behind first-place Miami.

The Bulldog hockey team will look to make history on Jan. 15 as the No. 1-ranked Miami RedHawks visit Big Rapids. Ferris defeated Miami in consecutive shootouts earlier this season in Oxford, Ohio.

Senior left wing Blair Riley said the teams’ defense, along with a strong power play and penalty kill, are big reasons why the Bulldogs have been successful this season.

“The biggest reason for our success to date has been the stellar goaltending we have been getting,” said Riley.

Junior goalie Pat Nagle earned his first shutout of the season on Friday, saving all 22 shots he faced on the night. Nagle was named as the CCHA’s Reebok Goaltender of the Week for his effort. He improved his save percentage to .940, which is the best in the CCHA.

On Friday, the Bulldogs and Broncos were scoreless after two periods before senior left wing Casey Haines scored just 19 seconds into the third period. Riley had a goal and an assist for the team as the Bulldogs cruised to a 3-0 victory.

Riley is second in the CCHA with 14 goals and is tied for third overall with 21 total points. He is tied for first in the conference in both short-handed goals and short-handed points, with two each.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Junior right wing Todd Pococke scored the first two goals of the game on power play opportunities.

Junior defenseman Zach Redmond added a power play goal with just over two minutes left in the first period. Redmond tallied two assists in the game as well and is tied for fourth in the conference with 13 assists this season. He earned the CCHA’s Defenseman of the Week award for his effort on Saturday.

Western Michigan got two goals back in the second period as sophomore J.J. Crew lit the lamp twice in the period. Sophomore center Derek Graham added an insurance goal for Ferris and the Bulldogs hung on for a 4-3 victory.

The Bulldogs now have one more win than the 12 they amassed all of last season. Riley said the team has had a different mindset around the rink this year.
“After the tough end to last year’s season, all the returning players have been highly motivated to have a turnaround year and prove to ourselves how good of a team we are,” said Riley.

During the break, the Bulldogs will travel to Madison, Wis. to participate in the 21st annual Badger Hockey Showdown. Ferris will play Yale University, ranked ninth in the national poll, on Jan. 2.

The next conference contests will be against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. on Jan. 9-10. Notre Dame is currently sixth in the CCHA standings with a 5-5-4-2 conference record and is ranked 20th in the nation.