For the third time this season, the Minnesota State Mavericks had Ferris State hockey’s number.
On March 22 inside Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Ferris dropped a 4-1 decision to Minnesota State in the Bulldogs first ever WCHA Championship game berth.
“It definitely sucks,” senior forward Cory Kane said. “But you know we have another shot, we could be done for the season like some other teams.”
It’s worth noting that after winning the CCHA Regular Season in 2011-12, Ferris dropped a first round playoff series to Bowling Green before advancing to the Frozen Four, and that Ferris got farther in the conference playoffs than they did during their landmark season.
“Well you know its interesting, both times now we’ve gone in [To the National Tournament] losing,” head coach Bob Daniels said.
The Mavericks had four players on the WCHA All-Tournament team. Ferris freshman forward Gerald Mayhew was the lone Bulldog representative. Maverick freshman goaltender Cole Huggins was named the tournament MVP.
The title game was largely controlled by the Mavericks, who after coming off of a 4-0 semi-final victory over Bowling Green, looked like the more fresh team.
“Whatever is done, is done,” Daniels said. “You got to have a short term memory. the only things we’ll talk about are the things we could improve upon, but we dont want to dwell on it. We’ll look forward and we got a lot to play for.”
The lone bright spot was the penalty kill during the game. Minnesota State came in with a powerplay that was running at a 25.7 percent conversion rating, which was at the top of the conference. The Mavericks had one game where they went 3-for-6 in a win over Ferris on the powerplay.
A good powerplay clicks at a conversion rating of over 20 percent.
“Our penalty kill’s been really good the last month and a half, maybe even the entire second half,” Daniels said. “Certainly tonight it was one thing we preached hard.”
Now Ferris will shift their focus to the Colgate Raiders, who Ferris is highly familiar with despite not being in their conference.
Ferris opened the 2013-14 season at Colgate and won 7-4 before dropping a 1-0 contest the next evening.
Colgate met Ferris in the Mariucci Classic Championship game and the Raiders took a 2-1 season series lead with a 3-0 victory on January 4 in Minnesota.
Ferris will play Colgate on March 28 in Cincinnati, Ohio in the NCAA Midwest Regional at 4:30 p.m.
The Midwest Regional in this year’s Division I Men’s NCAA Hockey Tournament includes the University of Wisconsin as well as the University of North Dakota.
The Minnesota State Mavericks drew the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in their regional, and if they win, they will be put to the test by either Denver or the nation’s no. 2 ranked team, Boston College.
If Ferris were to qualify for the NCAA Frozen Four by winning the midwest regional, it is possible that they could see the Mavericks in the National Title game.
However a 2011-12 national championship rematch is also possible with Boston College being on the other side of the bracket as well.