Ferris State opens the season against the University of Michigan Wolverines as the Bulldogs are set to showcase this season’s squad, and rowdy fans in the home contest.
On October 4, Wink Arena will open its doors to a sold out crowd of fans and a pack of Wolverines as Ferris State takes on Michigan for this season’s inaugural match-up. Over the last five years, the Bulldogs stand at 3-6-4 with every one of those wins taking place at home. Needless to say, home ice has proven to be a big deal for the Bulldogs against Michigan.
Pound-for-pound, the Wolverines and Bulldogs match up well together. There have been countless barnburners and some overtime ties resulting in no-decisions over the years. This time around will be interesting, since neither team has had much time to prepare for the opponent. Because of this lack of preparation in both corners, raw talent and physical prowess may trump strategy in deciding who delivers the knockout blow.
“They’re a really good team this year, so we’re just trying to get our stamina up as much as we can so that by the third period we can still be ramming them into the ground.” Gerald Mayhew sophomore forward said. “It’s going to be a battle. Even the smaller guys on our team are pretty physical, so I’d say that from the drop of the puck it’s going to be a bloodbath out there.”
Regardless of who the last team standing at the conclusion of the game is, both teams should be able to benefit from some stiff competition early on in the season.
“I think that this first game is going to be awesome for us. We know that we’ve got weaknesses, we just don’t know what they are yet. Michigan is going to make sure to point them out to us, but I think we’ll give them a really good test too. We’re both going to be sloppy, there’s just no way around it,” Head Coach Bob Daniels said. “The desire to play and intensity is definitely going to be there for both teams, but if this were a football game, it’d be one where you’d see a lot of fumbles, interceptions and maybe some untimely penalties. All teams want to know where their deficiencies are, and this is a team that will really probe all of our deficiencies which will be good for us. Maybe in the moment when it’s happening it won’t be so fun, but when we go back and look, we’ll be able to identify some areas that need work.”
With both Michigan and Ferris State acting as hopeful contenders for a run in the NCAA Tournament, even games early in the season can prove to be pivotal down the line. The Bulldogs and Wolverines are only scheduled to clash once this season, so whoever claims this victory will also claim bragging rights for the remainder of the season.
“I think it’s a given that we need to play fast and maintain a high tempo to beat a team like Michigan,” Kenny Babinski, junior forward said. “They’re just as skilled as anyone else, so I think that the way to beat a team like that is by pushing the tempo and pushing the play every chance you get so that you can try to catch their defense off guard.”