Small-market Ferris State reaches big game
If Ferris State was a major league baseball team, they'd be the
No, CCHA commissioner
Tom Anastos hasn't tried to contract the small-market Bulldogs.
But while Michigan and Michigan State – and even Ohio State
and Notre Dame – are battling over the junior hockey equivalents
of Alex Rodriguez and Pedro Martinez, Ferris State grabs a Torii
Hunter here, a Corey Koskie there and watches them grow.
Northern Michigan 2
Legue, J. Scherlinck
Contois, T. Harrison
Kunitz, D. Nesbitt
Craig Kowalski, 58:59, 41 saves, 4 GA
Mike Brown, 60:00, 29 saves, 2 GA
NM 4/8; FS 5/10
Plays: NM 1-3; FS 0-3
"We're not a big-time
school," said Daniels. "But at the same token, we're
a lot bigger than people realize."
Take a look at Daniels'
roster. There wasn't one National Hockey League draft pick in
the Bulldog lineup Friday. Conference player of the year and Hobey
Baker Award finalist Chris Kunitz is an unrestricted free agent.
So is first team all-league goaltender Mike Brown. Same with forwards
Jeff Legue and Derek Nesbitt, who've combined for 101 points on
"When you come
in, there's a select few guys that have to step into that role,"
said senior forward Phil Lewandowski, who scored the Bulldogs'
fourth goal Friday. "Chis was always a good player in juniors.
He wasn't necessarily a top scorer the whole time. But he took
the bull by the horns because we needed a guy to score.
"It's been different
because Coach (Daniels) couldn't really recruit guys. But lately
the way they've been going out, they've been getting guys who
The similarities don't
end there. Like the Twins, the Bulldogs are well schooled in the
fundamentals. They're very good in their own end. They have an
uncanny ability to control the play down low in the offensive
zone. They don't force the issue. The forecheck with commitment
and tenacity. They get quality special teams play. They know their
system and, more importantly, they apply what they have to do.
"We know how to
execute (our systems)," Lewandowski said. "So, yeah,
we are pretty smart. I don't know if we're the smartest, but we
play our roles really well."
question that, because of their small-school status, out-of-nowhere
rise to the top of the conference standings and pluck, Ferris
State has become the darling of the fans without an attachment
to any of the other teams in the field. Not suprisingly, that
suits the Bulldogs just fine. But don't think they're approaching
Saturday's championship match with an "aw, shucks" attitude.
"No (Ferris State)
team has ever done anything like this in the past," Lewandowski
said. "We've never won a CCHA championship. We've only been
here twice in the last 12 years.
gonna win it. It's unacceptable if we don't."
Ohio State 0
Nystrom, D. Richmond
Mike Betz, 60:00, 21 saves, 3 GA
Al Montoya, 60:00, 31 saves, 0 GA
OS 14/36; UM 12/24
Plays: OS 0-5; UM 0-7
Red Berenson said he was worried about Dwight Helminen before
tonight's game against Ohio State. After all, the sophomore center
had played six career games at Joe Louis Arena and never scored
were unfounded. Helminen scored all three Wolverine goals, including
a shorthanded marker late in the third period, to propel Michigan
to Saturday's CCHA title game.
"It's a great
feeling," Helminen, a native of Brighton, Mich., said following
his three-goal performance. "You don't really go into the
game expecting that to happen. Some nights it's on, some nights
Helminen speaks from
experience. He snapped a five-game goalless streak with a pair
of tallies in last weekend's CCHA first-round playoff series against
Bowling Green and now has five markers in his last three games.
kid played a heckuva game," Ohio State coach John Markell
said. "He put the shots where he needed to."
Tonight's Three Stars
Mike Brown, Ferris State The
sophomore goaltender made the play of the game against NMU
with a spectacular toe save on the Wildcats' Chris Gobert
to thwart a three-on-one scoring chance. Moments later, Lewandowski
scored a highlight-reel goal of his own to give the Bulldogs
a two-goal lead.
Dwight Helminen, Michigan We
raved about his efforts on the penalty kill in our CCHA season
recap when we named him one of our breakthrough players. He
made our words stand up by notching a hat trick – the
first of his career – against Ohio State. The third
goal was scored during a Buckeye power play.
Chris Kunitz, Ferris State With
two goals and an assist against Northern Michigan, he posts
the top single-season point total (32-41—73) in Bulldog
AND HEARD AT THE JOE
game marked the final installment of Milam Bowl III, pitting Ferris
State senior defenseman Troy Milam against Northern Michigan rookie
rearguard Jamie Milam. Troy emerged with a 2-1 edge, as the Bulldogs
won today's match after splitting the lone regular season series
between the two teams. Jamie did score the Wildcats' first goal
of the game, a power play tally 3:47 into the second period. Troy
was on the ice for that marker.
"My mom told me
she hoped we would win and Jamie would score a goal," Troy
Milam admitted following the game. "I guess she's a happy
the proceedings from a different perspective was Jeff Jackson.
The former Lake Superior State bench boss, who was relieved of
his coaching duties with the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm,
is scouting for the New York Islanders.
Ohio State coach John Markell among the believers in the "less
me, more we" philosophy. The Buckeyes' sweaters are sans
nameplates, a subtle reminder to players that the name on the
front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back.
Ohio State player has never won the Hobey, but they've had a few
Heisman winners over the years. In fact, one of them was at Friday's
game at Joe Louis Arena. Archie Griffin, who won the award twice
while playing for the Buckeyes, is in Detroit with the OSU icers.
He's now an assistant athletics director at the school.
in the JLA media room after the announcement that Scott Titus
and Chris Olsgard would be the players representing Ohio State
at the post-game press conference: "Olsgard? They must still
be looking for Umberger."
Michigan goaltender Craig Kowalski. One night after facing a barrage
in a quarterfinal win over Michigan State, the junior stopped
41 shots against Ferris State Friday.
penalty-killing unit, a wily, aggressive group that stymied the
Ohio State power play, keeping the Buckeyes on their heels and
challenging every pass.
State and Michigan, for the chippiness exhibited during the second
semifinal game. There's nothing wrong with hard-nosed, physical
play, but the stickwork, rabbit punches and running of the goaltenders
– especially Michigan's Al Montoya – was unnecessary.
R.J. Umberger. The Hobey Baker finalist was absolutely invisible
against the Wolverines.
tomorrow's major storyline is whether Ferris State can beat Michigan
and follow its CCHA regular season championship with its first-ever
Mason Cup. Perhaps more intriguing, however, is the impact Northern
Michigan can have on the NCAA Tournament should they down Ohio
State in the league's newly-reinstated third-place game. Wildcat
coach Walt Kyle told reporters during his post-game press conference
that affecting their opponent's seeding – or potentially
knocking them out of the playoffs – is definitely a motivating
factor for his team.