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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bulldogs advance to WCHA Semifinals

By Tom Morelli/Ferris State Beat Writer

Never judge a book by its cover.

It's a lesson that Bemidji State learned the hard way this past weekend, when Ferris State defenseman Scott Czarnowczan rifled the game-winning shot from the blueline in double overtime to help the Bulldogs move onto the second round of the WCHA Tournament.

A senior, Czarnowczan has shown time and again that he plays much bigger than his 5-foot-10, 176 pounds frame may suggest. After an injury-plagued junior season, Czarnowczan has rebounded to become Ferris State's top scoring defenseman with 24 points (six goals, 18 assists) in 37 games, ranking him fifth overall on the team. In addition, the team captain was also recently named to the WCHA All-Second Team alongside classmate Garrett Thompson.

Czarnowczan's goal capped a run that saw the No. 6 ranked Bulldogs bounce back from a 2-1 deficit, which began with sophomore Matt Roberton's game-tying goal with 45 seconds left in regulation to force the extra session.

Ferris State took the initial lead on Saturday night following Brandon Anselmini netting his fifth goal of the campaign with 3:50 elapsed in the contest.

An untimely hit to Cory Kane later in the frame caused the glass boards to shatter behind the Beavers' net, causing a lengthy delay in action.

The Bulldogs' momentum would come to a temporary halt in the second period, when Phil Brewer evened-up the score at the 1:17 mark, followed by Nate Arentz's go-ahead marker a mere five minutes later.

Junior netminder C.J. Motte logged nearly 85 minutes of action to pick-up his 26th win of the season, collecting 34 saves in the process.

There was less dramatics on the previous night, as Ferris State coasted to an 8-0 decision in which six different players lit the lamp.

Forwards Justin Buzzeo and Kyle Schempp gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage midway through the opening stanza, scoring their goals nearly two minutes apart. The duo would also find themselves on the score-sheet later in the game, with Buzzeo's coming at 16:15 in the second and Schempp equaling the feat 5:23 into the third.

Junior defenseman Travis White made it a 3-0 affair just shy of the 11-minute mark of the second, blasting a knuckle-puck from the right slot that found its way past Bemidji State goaltender Andrew Walsh.

35 seconds after Schempp netted his second goal of the evening, Kane upped the Bulldogs lead to six off a costly turnover by the Beavers in their defensive zone. The play began with Gerald Mayhew chipping the puck out from along the boards and onto the stick of Andy Huff, who then flipped it up-ice for Kane to finish the tic-tac-toe play.

Robertson centered to puck to sophomore Kenny Babinski from down-low to make it a 7-0 affair at 12:47, before Huff finished off Ferris State's scoring binge a minute later.

Motte recorded 26 saves en route to his fourth shutout of the season, while Walsh stopped 15 shots on 23 opportunities.

Ferris State (27-9-3 overall) faces off with Alaska Anchorage in the WCHA Semifinals this Friday at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The winner of that contest will meet either Bowling Green State or Minnesota State in the WCHA Championship Game the very next night.

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