Miami fans can relate to Ferris State’s 2020-21 campaign, but FSU’s COVID-shortened season went far worse.
While the Bulldogs have boasted plenty of success historically, they could not get into the win column last season, finishing 1-23-1 with their lone win coming against a non-Division I school.
But Ferris State’s Ewigleben Arena has always been a tough place for opponents to win, and the Bulldogs boast a talented six-freshman class as they return to the reinvented CCHA.
WHO: Miami RedHawks (5-18-2) at Ferris State Bulldogs (1-23-1).
WHERE: Ewigleben Ice Arena (2,490), Big Rapids, Mich.
WHEN: Saturday – 6:07 p.m.; Sunday – 4:07 p.m.
STREAMING: Flohockey.tv ($).
NOTES: For Ferris State, its record was truly much worse than its play.
The Bulldogs lost eight games by one goal and another five by two tallies. Their only tie was against Bemidji State.
Ferris State’s biggest problem last season was allowing too many goals. Opponents scored 103 times vs. FSU, or 4.12 times per game.
Senior Roni Salmenkangas and sophomore Logan Stein pretty much split time for the Bulldogs with similar results.
Salmenkangas posted a goals-against average of 3.87 and an .877 save percentage, and he earned Ferris State’s lone win over Trine via shutout.
Stein had the better save percentage at .887 and a slightly lower GAA of 3.80.
Blake Evennou is the only FSU defenseman to reach 10 points last season, scoring once and adding nine assists.
Ben Schultheis had a solid freshman season, as he played all 25 games and racked up five helpers.
Sophomores Drew Cooper and Luke Farthing and junior Connor Fedoruk also return after logging significant minutes in 2020-21.
Up front, Ferris State has 19 forwards listed on its roster but lost its top scorer from last season – Coale Norris.
Seniors Jake Transit and Ethan Stewart, who finished with identical 6-8-14 lines, are the Bulldogs’ top returning forwards in terms of points.
Sophomore Mitch Deelstra and Justin Michaelian ended the season with 11 points each, and Deelstra netted seven goals, tops among all skaters back this season.
Ferris State added five freshman forwards, including USHL products Zach Faremouth, Nick Nardecchia and Bradley Marek, who should be a fan favorite as he is from Big Rapids and played juniors at Muskegon.
The eight-team CCHA reemerged from dormancy after the WCHA recently disbanded, and the Bulldogs rejoined their former league.
Other members are Minnesota schools Bemidji State, Minnesota State and first-year Division I program St. Thomas, led by former RedHawks head coach Enrico Blasi; UP institutions Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State plus Bowling Green.
Miami leads the all-time series by two games, 46-44-16 but is two games under .500 in Big Rapids.
But these teams have only played twice since the RedHawks joined the NCHC eight years ago. They split that series in Oxford on Oct. 18-19, 2019.
Senior defenseman Derek Daschke recorded three assists in the win that weekend, and Monte Graham is the lone active RedHawks to have scored against Ferris State.