A 18-game slate in the Ewigleben Ice Arena, an appearance in the reputable Wisconsin Badger Hockey Showdown, and another highly-competitive season of CCHA action highlight the 2009-10 Ferris State schedule.
The challenging 36-game schedule features matchups against four opponents who were either ranked or received votes in the final 2008-09 USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll.
"This season's schedule features a number of quality opponents," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels, who embarks on his 18th year at Ferris State in the 2009-10 season and is the program's all-time winningest coach. "I'm excited to begin the season with six non-conference games which allows us opportunities to get considerable ice time for a lot of different players and also experiment with various line combinations.
"We're also thrilled to be invited back to the Wisconsin Badger Hockey Showdown Tournament and hope to win their tournament title for the third straight time."
The appearance by Ferris State at the 21st annual Badger Hockey Showdown Tournament (Jan. 2-3) will represent the program's third as the Bulldogs captured back-to-back Showdown Tourney titles in 2003 and 2004. FSU opens the holiday tournament against 2008-09 ECAC champion Yale on Jan. 2 in the opening semifinal tilt while host Wisconsin tangles with Merrimack in the other semifinal-round outing. The third-place and championship games will be held Jan. 3 with Wisconsin skating in the late encounter regardless of its semifinal-game outcome.
Ferris State will drop the puck on its 32nd year of varsity competition on Sunday, Oct. 4, with a home exhibition contest against Wilfred Laurier (Ontario) at Ewigleben. Opening faceoff is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. (EDT).
The following weekend (Oct. 9-10), the Bulldogs officially start the 2009-10 regular-season with a two-game non-league series versus Canisius in Buffalo. The two teams faced off a season ago in Big Rapids for a two-game set in what represented the first-ever meetings between the two schools. FSU then returns home the next two weekends, starting Oct. 16-17 with its home-opening series against Connecticut followed by a pair of encounters versus Robert Morris on Oct. 23-24. As with Canisius a season ago, Robert Morris will be making its debut on the Bulldogs' ice this campaign.
Ferris State will travel to Fairbanks, Alaska to open its 28-game CCHA schedule on Oct. 30-31 against Alaska and then return home to face Bowling Green Nov. 6-7 in its league home opener.
The remaining CCHA home dates for the Bulldogs include Ohio State (Nov. 20-21), Nebraska-Omaha (Dec. 4-5), Western Michigan (Dec. 12 and Feb. 26), Miami (Jan. 15-16), Michigan (Jan. 23), Northern Michigan (Feb. 5-6), and Michigan State (Feb. 19).
"I anticipate the CCHA games will be exciting and highly competitive," said Daniels. "This is perhaps going to be the strongest year we've had from top to bottom. There are a number of nationally top 10-caliber teams in our league which will require us to play at a consistently high level for us to achieve success."
The CCHA competition cluster schedule format for this season has Ferris State paired with Miami and Ohio State. As a result, Ferris will play each of those teams four times with a pair of games at home and on the road. The Bulldogs will continue to face Western Michigan four times on an annual basis as the Broncos are FSU’s “rivalry pairing” opponent as part of the cluster scheduling format which was implemented prior to the 2002-03 season.
The first round of the CCHA Playoffs will commence Mar. 5-7 at campus sites with tourney seeds 5-8 hosting. The top four seeds each receive a opening-round bye. The CCHA playoff quarterfinals will be conducted from Mar. 12-14 at campus sites and those four teams who claim the best two-of-three series will advance to the 2009 CCHA Championships (Mar. 19-20) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
Game start times for all 2009-10 Ferris State hockey home contests will be 7:05 p.m. (ET) on Fridays and 5:05 p.m. (EDT) for Saturday matchups.
"We started experimenting with the early start times three years ago and it has been well received by our fans," noted Daniels. "Moreover, we're starting to see other CCHA teams go to an early start as well based on what we were doing and it has been embraced in a positive way."