Ferris State goaltender CJ Motte has had quite the career between the pipes for the Bulldogs, and fellow seniors Jason Binkley, Justin Buzzeo, Ruben Medrano, Dom Panetta and Travis White have left a lasting impact as well.
Motte recently set the Ferris State record for most wins of any tender in Bulldog hockey history. In his last regular season game in a Ferris State jersey, Motte recorded his 64th career win in shutout fashion against the Lake Superior State Lakers on March 7. Motte stopped all 24 shots the Lakers sent his way in a 3-0 victory at LSSU.
“It feels pretty good. We have had a lot of really good goaltenders go through our program so to have the most wins out of them feels pretty good,” said Motte. “The shutout was just a bonus. I just go out there every game and try to give my team a chance to win and it just happened.”
The shutout against LSSU was Motte’s 15th in his career and his 5th of the season.
During the seniors’ first season, the Bulldogs made it to the NCAA Frozen Four Championship and fell to Boston College in a 4-1 loss. None of the then-freshmen were able to make much of a splash in the game, but Motte remembers it well.
“It was a good experience to see what it takes to make it that far and to watch how Taylor Nelson handled it and learn how to better approach the game.” Said Motte.
The observant class of 2015 soaked up all they could from the upperclassmen that led the charge deep into the postseason during that tremendous season, but the following year was a major step back from the previous height.
The Bulldogs posted a perfectly middling overall record of 16-16-5, and fared only slightly better in conference, going 13-12-3 and being bounced from the conference tournament in the first round during the 2012-13 season. Despite the decline in team performance, Binkley established himself as an excellent wingman, as he dealt 18 assists, which led the team that year.
The following season marked the first for the Bulldogs as a Western Collegiate Hockey Association team, as they were previously a part of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association before the conference realignment. The Dawgs finished with an overall record of 29-11-3 in the 2013-14 campaign.
During that season, Motte posted his best numbers, including a record of 28-9-3 while maintaining a goals against average of 2.17 and a .928 save percentage. Motte was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the top player in collegiate hockey for his efforts. Buzzeo’s stats also jumped off the page that year, as he was among the team leaders in both goals and assists with 14 and 18 respectively.
In a 2014-2015 season that has yet to come to an end, Ferris State was offered a spot in the historic Great Lakes Invitational held in Joe Louis Arena. Although the Bulldogs were beaten in both games at the Joe, it just added to the amazing memories that these seniors have collected over the years.
The winningest goalie in Ferris State history, and presumably the rest of the seniors, had only kind words to say about the loyal fans that have supported the team throughout the seniors’ years spent representing the Bulldogs on the ice.
“Thank you for supporting us for our last four years. You guys are the best fans in college hockey and there’s nothing like skating onto the ice having the Dawg Pound cheering and chanting,” Motte said.
The Bulldogs are currently in the second round of the WCHA playoffs, and will play the top-seeded Minnesota State Mavericks in hopes of keeping their NCAA Tournament dreams alive. The seniors, along with the rest of the Bulldogs, will travel to St. Paul, Minn. to reach the Xcel Energy Center for a game time of 8:37 p.m.