Photo Credit: Detroit Free Press
Thanks to their victory over the No. 12 Boston University Terriers, the No. 7 University of Denver Pioneers will play the No. 18 Ferris State Bulldogs in the West Regional Final with a Frozen Four berth on the line. The Bulldogs upset the No. 2 St. Cloud State Huskies in the first game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota by a 5-4 score in overtime.
Just 18 seconds into the extra frame, Jared VanWormer picked up a pad pass off of Gerald Mayhew’s stick and found the wide open net to end the game and send the Huskies back to St. Cloud without a victory in the NCAA Tournament. The goal also gave the Bulldogs a shot at another upset, this time of the Pioneers.
If Ferris State is to pull off the unthinkable for the second time in as many days, they will need to play just as well as they did against SCSU, if not a bit better. Despite their slight Frozen Faceoff hiccup, the Pioneers are playing their best hockey of the season right now. On top of that, thanks to Denver’s blowout victory over BU, they will likely see a fairly well-rested Pacific Rim Line as they didn’t see much ice time in the third period.
In short, Ferris State faces an uphill battle in trying to get past Denver and earn a trip to Tampa. It’s unlikely that they will see another NCHC team play poor defense in front of an uncharacteristically shaky goaltender. The deck is stacked against the Bulldogs, but as most college hockey fans know all too well, anything can happen this time of year.
Ferris State Profile
Overall Record: 20-14-6
WCHA Record: 13-11-4
Bulldogs By The Numbers
Team Offense (National Rank)
Goals Scored: 109 (T22nd)
Goals per game: 2.73 (26th)
Total Shots on Goal: 1,295 (12th)
Shooting Percentage: 8.4% (T40th)
Power Play: 19-for-135, 14.67% (45th)
Shorthanded Goals Scored: 2 (T33rd)
Team Defense (National Rank)
Goals Allowed: 103 (T26th)
Goals Allowed per Game: 2.58 (24th)
Total Shots Against: 1,172 (35th)
Save Percentage: .912 (T22nd)
PIM per Game: 11.75 (18th)
Penalty Killing: 140-of-165, 84.8% (T15th)
F Gerald Mayhew: 15G-23A-38P, 6 Power Play Goals
F Andrew Dorantes: 8G-12A-20P, 4 Game Winning Goals
D Brandon Anselmini: 2G-15A-17P, 57 PIM
G Darren Smith: 17-9-5 (.629), 2.21 GAA, .922 SV%
- Ferris St. has a player named Ryker Killins. He’s #1 on the Bulldogs’ best names power rankings.
- Gerald Mayhew leads Ferris State in almost every notable statistic: Goals, Assists, Points, Points per Game, PIM, Power Play Goals, Shorthanded Goals, etc.
- Despite Mayhew’s dominant ice time and play, Ferris State still has 13 players with double-digit point totals.
- No player on the roster is averaging more than a point per game. Even Mayhew is only averaging 0.95 points per game.
On paper, the Pioneers are the much better team. If the game were only played on paper, DU would already have a berth in the Frozen Four and they wouldn’t even take the ice in St. Paul. The statistical discrepancy between these two teams is, in a word, huge.
As St. Cloud State found out yesterday, though, the game isn’t played on paper. It’s played on ice and this time of year, anything can happen. The Bulldogs are beaming right now. They just played the game of their lives against the Huskies and they probably feel like they can beat anyone and anything in their path.
Unfortunately for Ferris St, that anyone and anything is Denver, the hottest team in the country (Northeastern lost to North Dakota in the first round). DU has had the luxury of great goaltending over the past few months on top of a potent offensive attack led by the vaunted Pacific Rim Line (heard that enough yet?).
In Ferris St’s matchup with St. Cloud, they got a bit lucky. NCHC goaltender of the year, Charlie Lindgren, wasn’t sharp. He let in a goal or two that he wishes he could have back and the usually great Huskies’ defense didn’t play well in front of him. Ferris State certainly played well, but they needed a lot of help from an extremely talented SCSU team.
They got the help they needed and, despite blowing a two-goal lead late in the third period, the Bulldogs pulled off the improbable upset in overtime.The hill for Ferris St is once again extremely steep, but don’t think that they aren’t up to the task.
The hill for Ferris St is once again extremely steep, but don’t think that they aren’t up to the task. They drive the net hard and fast. They are extremely good in the offensive zone and if DU makes a mental mistake in front of their net, the Bulldogs will capitalize.
The good news for DU fans is that the Pioneers are very good in their own zone and in front of their net. Puck possession is one of the strengths of this team. They don’t often turn the puck over in their own end and they break out extremely well. That formula should work well against a team like Ferris State.
If DU plays “relentless Pioneer hockey,” they will likely cruise to a three-goal victory today. The Pioneers match up very well against the Bulldogs, but they must play fundamentally sound, mistake-free hockey. That’s something the Pioneers have done extremely well in the second half of the season. There is no reason to think it will be any different this afternoon.