Ferris State was the most surprising team in college hockey last
season. After finishing ninth place in the CCHA in 2001-02 with a
conference record of 12-15-1, the Bulldogs tore through CCHA play
with a 22-5-1 record and earned their first-ever CCHA regular
season championship.

Janna Hutz
Michigan junior forward Eric Nystrom fights for position near the crease. (DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily)

Early in this year’s campaign, Ferris State has managed to
stun everyone once again — albeit in a vastly different
fashion.

In the first month of the season, the Bulldogs have failed to
live up to lofty preseason expectations, stumbling out to a 2-6
record (1-5 CCHA).

“You combine the fact that our top point producers are
struggling to get on the board and as a team we’re not
playing very good defensively, and that’s a recipe for
trouble,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “Our
powerplay is pathetic.”

Daniels feels that much of these trials can be attributed to the
team’s new look.

“We lost a lot of pretty good players from a year ago, and
we’ve got a lot of different roles to fill on the team, and
we have some voids to fill,” Daniels said. “So far
we’ve been kind of grappling with who’s going to do
what.”

Michigan (3-1, 7-1) opens up a home-and-home series tonight in
Big Rapids. In the Wolverines’ lone trip to Ferris State last
season, the Bulldogs prevailed 4-3. Although Ferris State’s
struggles are well chronicled, Michigan coach Red Berenson refuses
to take the Bulldogs lightly.

“If you go back, whether it was two years ago, three years
ago, or four years ago, every year we’ve gone into Ferris, it
didn’t matter whether they were in fourth place or seventh
place, they were a tough, tough team to play in their
building,” Berenson said.

Berenson admits that his players have not forgotten that Ferris
State took the CCHA regular season championship last year.

“I don’t think we walk around thinking we owe them
something, but I think our team knows that we respect them a lot
more than maybe we had in the past,” Berenson said. “I
don’t think it’s revenge, it’s more respect that
this is a new season, and we have to prove that we can compete with
a team like that.”

Michigan State dominated Ferris State last weekend in East
Lansing, sweeping the Bulldogs 8-0, 4-2.

“Last weekend, we almost hit a panic mode, and what
happens is everyone’s out there trying to do too much and
consequently no one’s doing their job,” Daniels said.
“I think we’re beyond urgency at this point, and
we’re in panic, and that’s not a very good mode to be
in. If anything we’ve got to come down a little bit.

“I’d like to see some urgency, but I don’t
want it to be urgency that starts to panic, because as it goes
through that, then there’s no way you can right the
ship.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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