Ferris State Falls to MSU in WCHA Championship
by Harrison Watt/CHN Reporter
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Ferris State found themselves in a rare position Saturday night in the new-look WCHA’s first ever Final Five Championship.
Minnesota State walked into an essential road game at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena, which lies 50 miles south of the campus of Ferris State, and shut down the nation the tournament's No. 1 seed in a 4-1 win.
“In the third ,we just needed to find a way to score a goal,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “If you had to look at one moment, a defining moment or turning point if you will, the third goal that they scored.”
Daniels was referring to Maverick sophomore forward Brett Knowles’ goal at 8:38 of the third period to put Minnesota State up 3-1.
The goal noticeably deflated FSU which pulled within one when freshman forward Gerald Mayhew scored his third goal in two games at the end of the second.
“Gerald’s been real good,” Ferris senior forward Cory Kane said. “We give him a hard time because he was getting a lot of chances, and he just wasn’t putting them away, but this weekend he found a way. He had a two-goal game last night and a big one tonight as well.”
On home ice, Ferris went 16-1-1, and 10-7-2 on the road, as well as 2-2 on neutral ice.
While Van Andel would be considered neutral, Ferris did bring a large contingent over the weekend, packing nearly 4,500 fans into seats on the first night, and 3,968 in the championship game.
Ewigleben Ice Arena in Big Rapids, home of the Bulldogs, seats 2,500 fans.
The Mavericks avenged losing the regular season title on the last day of the regular season by thoroughly handling the Bulldogs physically, and possessing the puck more effectively than FSU.
“Personally, it means a lot because I know it's history,” Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said of the Broadmoor Trophy.
The win clinched an NCAA Tournament bid for Minnesota State, while FSU's dominant regular season has long since guaranteed them a second trip in three years.
Tournament MVP Cole Huggins, the freshman goaltender for the Mavericks, allowed just Mayhew’s goal in the Final Five, after shutting out Bowling Green in Friday's semifinal.
“Go and check any level, whether its high school hockey, Midget hockey, junior hockey, college hockey or the National Hockey League, you cannot get it done without outstanding goaltending,” Hastings said. “Cole made some saves that he shouldn’t have.”
Despite knowing that the NCAA Tournament lies ahead, the conference championship loss to the Mavericks still stung.
“It definitely sucks,” Kane said. “But you know we have another shot, we could be done for the season like some other teams.”
When Ferris went to the Frozen Four in 2011-12, they lost a first round CCHA playoff series to Bowling Green, but managed to overcome the loss and advance on the national stage.
“That was devastating, I’m not going to fib about that,” Daniels said. “This one hurts, but Minnesota State’s a really good hockey team. I would expect them to go very far, I think they have a chance to go deep in this tournament.”