“I have seven family members who attended Ferris State,” Fillinger said. “My mom went there on a tennis scholarship and my dad graduated there as well. I’m excited to follow in their footsteps and play for a great university.”
Fillinger will know by next month whether or not he will play at Ferris State this fall or in 2008, returning to the Phantoms next season.
“They have been looking at me for some time,” said Fillinger, a Grand Ledge native. “After a recent game in Alpena, (Ferris State) coach (Bob) Daniels wanted to arrange a visit for me. After my visit, they made me an offer.”
“It’s definitely the right fit for Mike and we couldn’t be happier for him,” Phantoms coach Bob Mainhardt said.
Fillinger becomes the second Phantom this season, the third overall, to head to Ferris State. He joins center Derek Graham, who will play in Big Rapids in 2008, and former Phantom and current Bulldogs’ sophomore defenseman Evan Case.
“Mike has really become a more complete player,” Mainhardt said. “He reads the play well at both ends of the ice.”
In 52 regular season games this season, Fillinger recorded 44 points on 24 goals and 20 assists. Five of his goals were shorthanded, tying him for third in the North American Hockey League with teammates Dustin Cloutier and Nathan Longpre.
Mainhardt said that Fillinger’s skating ability sets him apart from others.
“Mike has learned how to use his speed much more effectively and put himself in situations that only his speed can place him in,” Mainhardt said.
“I’m gradually seeing the ice better as I move with the puck,” Fillinger said. “At the same time, I still need to improve my puck handling skills and my speed with the puck.”
The Phantoms right wing says a national championship is on his mind first and foremost.
“A lot of the players got together Saturday to watch Michigan State win the national championship,” Fillinger said. “We watched them celebrate and thought how great it would be to win one ourselves.”