Overtime in the playoffs had worked in Ferris State’s favor until March 29 in US Bank Arena in Cincinnati.
The North Dakota Fighting Sioux earned their 20th Frozen Four bid with a 2–1 double-overtime victory over the Bulldogs in the NCAA Men’s Division I Midwest Regional Championship.
The Bulldogs won their other two playoff contests that advanced to sudden-death overtime prior to the North Dakota game on March 29. One on March 15 against Bemidji State and the other on March 21 against Alaska-Anchorage.
The Sioux were seeded fourth in the Midwest Region. They defeated first seeded Wisconsin 5–2 on March 28 to reach the title game.
Ferris carried the play from the middle of the second period on and outshot North Dakota 45–26.
“It’s been a great ride,” head coach Bob Daniels said. “They [the seniors] are just tremendous leaders, they’ll be sorely missed. Beyond the talent, it was quite a group of seniors.”
Forwards Garrett Thompson, Andy Huff, Cory Kane, Justin DeMartino and defenseman and team captain Scott Czarnowczan played their last game for Ferris.
“Obviously the number of shots (45) we had on him were unbelievable,” Thompson said. “I thought that we carried the play throughout the first overtime. [Gothberg] had a good game, hats off to him, but its just frustrating.”
Kane put 11 shots on goal and scored Ferris State’s only goal of the evening. Kane, as well as Czarnowczan and junior goaltender CJ Motte, were named to the All-Midwest Regional team.
“Man, Cory [Kane] had a really good night and a really good weekend,” Daniels said. “Not surprising, he’s played unbelievable in the second half of this year, and he’s always been a good player, but he stepped up to become and elite player in college hockey.”
Kane had 21 points in the team’s final 16 games, and his line of freshman forward Gerald Mayhew and senior forward Andy Huff were essentially the Ferris State offense during the playoffs.
Mayhew had four goals in the final four playoff games, two of which were game winners, including one on March 28 to defeat Colgate and move on to the NCAA Midwest Regional Title game.
Motte, who made the All-Midwest Regional team as the goaltender, allowed just two goals in the NCAA tournament, both against North Dakota. Sioux goaltender Zane Gothberg outdueled him, making 44 stops in the Elite 8.
“He had a pretty good night,” Kane said. “I snuck one by him [Gothberg], but as the game got longer, he started getting more confidence.”
The season ended with the Elite 8 finish. Ferris also won the MacNaughton cup for the WCHA’s first place team in the regular season and was the WCHA Final Five runner-up.
Ferris State finished sixth in the USCHO.com national poll (March 24 was the final poll of the season).
As of now, Motte is the NCAA’s leader among goaltenders in victories with 28.
The Bulldogs finished 29−11−3, which was the second most wins in Ferris history behind 2002–2003’s 31 victories.