The long road to victory

After much needed rest, relaxation and a home series sweep, long road trips await the boys of winter.

Nationally fifth ranked Ferris State hockey completed a two- game sweep of the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Feb. 7-8.

Now the test gets real. Ferris could face two straight months without a weekend off and are guaranteed two extensive road series.

The first is a Valentine’s weekend mixer with the Bemidji State Beavers in Minnesota. The Bulldogs met the Beavers back on Nov. 8-9 and swept them at home with 5-4 and 5-3 victories.

“I think it’s going to be a huge contest for both teams,” senior forward Garrett Thompson said. “They have been swept the past two weekends and by us at our last meeting. They have potential to make a move in the conference and we have potential to stay on top.”

Google Maps lists the trip to Bemidji as a 13-hour bus ride. Athletics Communications Director and hockey radio and television play-by-play analyst Dominic Hennig confirmed the team will drive straight to the Upper Peninsula, before heading West towards Bemidji.

“I mean it’s always a fun trip, but we feel more comfortable at home,” Thompson said. “When it’s down to the last games that are important, home would be ideal. It doesn’t always work out how you want it to and that’s just another part of what makes it fun.”

The Bulldogs will make a stop in Marquette, MI along the way, where Northern Michigan calls home.

The Beavers, who showed preseason promise, have fallen to seventh place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Meanwhile, Ferris is enjoying a first-place cushion of two points. Second place Minnesota State has played two more games.

The Mavericks play the woeful last place Alabama-Huntsville Chargers this weekend at home. If the Bulldogs fail to sweep the Beavers, they could find themselves in second place at the end of the weekend.

Thankfully for them, they will be able to make up for it when they catch up in games played on Feb. 21-22 against Alaska Anchorage.

To put the Chargers’ struggles into perspective, they have scored 21 goals this season, which is dead last. Even if they doubled their goal output, they would still be in last in scoring by seven goals.

They have allowed 87 goals this season as well, which is the most in the WCHA. Alaska Fairbanks has allowed 63, which is the second highest total.

Following the Bulldogs’ home series vs. Alaska-Anchorage on Feb. 21-22, they head to Alaska to meet up with the Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks in Fairbanks, which is a more than 2,700 miles away.