Incoming Ferris State freshman Dan Riedel
Ferris State Preview, 2005-2006
Last season, the Ferris State Bulldogs boasted an unimpressive record of 13-22-4 (7-17-4, CCHA). Their sub-par performance was reflected in the low rankings they earned coming into the 2005-2006 season. Slated to finish 10th by the CCHA Coaches’ Poll and 12th by the CCHA media poll, the Bulldogs could easily be staring down a long and dismal losing season.
However, despite dire forecasts (and graduating seven seniors), Ferris could be a surprise sleeper team this year. The Bulldogs return eighteen lettermen and welcome eight incoming players—a class that Inside College Hockey deemed the tenth best recruiting class in the nation.
The class of 2009 is led by forward Dan Riedel of Rochester Hills. Reidel was named USHL Forward of the Year last season and led that league in points. Four additional new forwards will look to help Reidel contribute to the Bulldogs’ offensive efforts. On defense,Waterford native Chris Zarb, ranked as within the top fifteen incoming defensemen, is projected to make an immediate impact on the blue line. Ferris also replaced graduating goaltender Mike Brown with Central Junior ‘A’ Hockey League (CJHL) standout Mitch O’Keefe, who holds the CJHL record for most shutouts and was named league MVP last season.
The newbies won’t be the sole supporters of the Ferris squad – they will be contributing to a corps of strong returning players. Captain Adam Welch is only a sophomore, but the defenseman has a strong season behind him, and was named Ferris’s Rookie of the Year last season. He will be assisted by senior forward Nick Scheible.
On offense, the Bulldogs expect solid performances by juniors Zac Pearson, Matt Verdone and Mark Bomersback, sophomore Matt Stefanishion and senior Greg Rallo. Welch and junior Joe Van Culin will anchor the defense. In goal, sophomore Derek MacIntyre will build on his freshman performance, where he established a 3.19 GAA and a .880 save percentage.
Coach Bob Daniels, returning for his thirteenth season behind the Bulldogs bench, has laid out an ambitious schedule for his team. In addition to the consistently competitive action they will face in the CCHA, the Bulldogs will have the opportunity to test their skills against some storied eastern programs. They will open their season at the Mutual Omaha Stampede, where they will be matched with the University of New Hampshire in the first round. And later this winter, they will face off against Boston College in the first round of the Wells Fargo Denver Cup.
In a league filled with powerhouses like Michigan and Ohio State, an underdog like Ferris is easy to overlook – but with solid veterans and an exciting incoming class, this team may have more bite than anticipated.
Jeff Legue F
Derek Nebitt F
Skip Renauld F
Carter Thomson F
Matt York D
Mike Brown G
Dan Riedel F (Rochester Hills) (USHL)
Justin Lewandowski F (USHL)
Brendan Connolly F (AJHL)
J.T. Dahlinger F (Grosse Pointe Park) (WOJHL)
Corey Couturier F (Traverse City) (USHL)
Evan Case D (Grosse Pointe Woods) (NAHL)
Chris Zarb D (Waterford) (USHL)
Mitch O’Keefe G (CJHL)
Riedel photo courtesy of Robert Meyer