To the victors go the spoils

65-28-4. That’s the all-time record between Michigan and Ferris State, with the Wolverines holding the substantial advantage.

Now, it’s not like these games are like the blowout the Bulldogs received on Saturday, as 11 of the last 22 meetings between the two have been decided by one goal or fewer.

But while the matchups have stayed competitive, the Wolverines seem to have the Bulldogs’ number, especially of late. Michigan has compiled an 11-3-2 record in the last 16 contests between the in-state foes.

So while Michigan has been able to come out on top in recent history, it’s not because of a lack of emotion from the Bulldogs.

From my time around the program, I’ve noticed that while the team prides itself on playing well against any opponent, games against in-state rivals like Michigan and Michigan State bring a little more meaning and present an opportunity to show off against the bigger schools.

Players and coaches alike acknowledge the importance of the games, but especially the games against the Wolverines seem to bring an emphasized effort to show that Ferris deserves to get into the limelight just as much as any other school.

Add in the fact that Ferris was snubbed in last year’s NCAA Championship Tournament selection because Michigan claimed the automatic conference bid in the tournament by winning the CCHA Tournament. It’s easy to see why Ferris wants to take down the maize and blue.

Sometimes it takes just one key victory to turn the tide of a series, as several failed attempts to overcome a team can disappear after a breakthrough win.

The New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts for the first half of the decade before Peyton Manning finally figured out how to beat his nemesis Tom Brady in a key regular season matchup in 2005. Now, the Colts are 5-2 in their last seven meetings since then, including an AFC Championship win over New England to move on to winning Super Bowl XLI.

So while Peyton Manning had to figure out how to beat a Michigan alum, the Bulldogs will have to figure out how to take down a Wolverine of their own.

Even with the hoopla that surrounds the matchup between Michigan and Ferris, the fact that the Bulldogs had a chance to move into second place in the CCHA with this past weekend’s series made this weekend even more important.

Granted, Ferris is at fourth place in the conference right now, which isn’t an easy feat when looking at the division. But the final 11 games will either make or break the Bulldog’s season. With matchups against conference leader Notre Dame and fifth-place Alaska down the stretch, the Bulldogs can really make a statement with some key wins heading toward the end of the season.

So let’s see where they go from here after a brutal loss: Move on and take it out on the rest of the CCHA, or let a good season slip away. The puck is in their zone; we’ll see what they’ve got. n