First thing is first, hopefully everyone had a great holiday break. I know I did. Sorry for the lapse in coverage, but I needed some time off. The players got to go home over the break as well for the first time since Dallas Ferguson took over as head coach. Players were able to go home for nearly two weeks and rest and take time with family. And also for the first time since I've been close to the program, everyone on the roster is 100% healthy. The extra time off did wonders for the guys as a few minor injuries were able to heal. Dallas revealed that Shawn Hochhausen had been playing with a lower body injury that had prevented him from getting all of his gear on, and had kept him out of practice for nearly three weeks. But he didn't miss a single shift, gutting it out and getting things done.
Friday night is also family night. I hadn't heard this until today after the luncheon, but the powers that be have come together to put a family night package together: $44 gets you 4 tickets, 4 sodas, and 4 hot dogs. $44 wouldn't even get 4 people in the door normally. I'm told that if this is successful, it will come back more often. So bring the families out! I would have gotten this out earlier, but I hadn't heard of it either so the word isn't getting out there as much as I would like. Usually I get told about things like this too, but not this time.
Now as far as Ferris State is concerned, they are a bit fresher this weekend. They played last weekend at Michigan/MSU/MTU's Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena. The Bulldogs didn't fare too well, getting goose-egged at the hands of Michigan State, and a 2-4 loss against Michigan Tech who some argue are a top 5 team in the country right now.
FSU made C.J. Motte their captain this year. Yes, the same C.J. Motte that lost his damn mind before our very eyes. And he's started every game this season thus far. With all of those minutes, his Bulldogs are 9-9-1 coming into this weekend and with a 1.81 goals against average with a .935 save percentage he's got the numbers to back a successful team. As a team, Ferris State is allowing just under 2 goals per game, where Alaska is allowing 2.7. The difference is in scoring as the Bulldogs have mustered a 2.53 goals for per game average compared to Alaska's 2.83.
But outside of Chad Macdonald and Gerald Mayhew, none of the Bulldogs players have scored more than 4 goals this season. Chad has 8 while Gerald has 6. Getting goal scoring was a point of emphasis for Bob Daniels as he addressed the Coach's luncheon attendees this afternoon. The team has struggled to be consistent offensively.
The worst of it is their special teams. The Bulldogs power play is at 11.2% on the season, 50th out of 59 teams in the country. The Bulldogs get themselves into some penalty trouble though. Even though they're top 10 in penalty kill, they average almost 15 minutes a game in penalties. And with the way the Nanooks power play has been (24% in the last 6 games), the Bulldogs' aggressiveness and tenacity can get themselves into some trouble.
Should be a good series as both teams have a history of playing each other really close. The Nanooks have had some great luck against C.J. Motte in the past as I alluded to earlier. Hopefully he'll get lit up again :)
I have plans after the game Friday night, so I will give a weekend recap after the game Saturday. Hope to see lots of faces in the stands this weekend. Get the family up and out to the games tonight to take advantage of the deal, and enjoy yourselves!