Frozen Four: Ferris State advances to NCAA hockey title game with 3-1 win over Union

April 5, 2012

Ferris State will play for the NCAA hockey championship for the first time on Saturday night, and goaltender Taylor Nelson is concentrating on the team’s season-long motto.

“We can’t be satisfied,” Nelson said. “We’ve been saying it all along. We’re happy to advance, but we’re not done yet.”

Aaron Schmit scored two goals, Kyle Bonis had the tiebreaking tally in the third period and Ferris State beat Union 3-1 on Thursday to advance to the Frozen Four final.

The Bulldogs got the win in their first Frozen Four appearance and will face Boston College. The Eagles defeated Minnesota, 6-1, in the second semifinal.

Union College, a 2,133-student liberal arts school that does not offer athletic scholarships, fell to 26-8-7.

Ferris State (26-11-5), the Central Collegiate Hockey Association champion, is from Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 1 nationally for a two-week stretch early this season. That was the program’s high-water mark — until Thursday.

“It’s almost hard to comprehend right now,” Bonis said. “This is great, but we have to stay in the moment.”

Bonis snapped a tie at the 15:17 mark of the third. Senior Brett Wysopal’s shot from the left circle was deflected away by goaltender Troy Groesnick, but Bonis was there for the rebound.

Schmit put it out of reach with an empty-netter in the final minute.

“As tough as this is right now, as much as this hurts, this is something our program can build upon,” Union coach Rick Bennett said.

Union opened the scoring on sophomore Daniel Carr’s goal at the 7:56 mark of the second period. After a clean faceoff win by Union’s Jeremy Welsh, Greg Coburn blasted a one-timer from the center point position and Carr deflected it just over Nelson’s glove.

Schmit answered with a power-play goal at 17:02 of the second. Bonis’ shot was stopped by Grosenick, but Schmit put away the rebound.

Grosenick entered the game ranked second nationally in goals-against-average (1.64) and save percentage (.936). The sophomore was the first Union player to be among the 10 semifinalists for the Hobey Baker Award.

Grosenick had 34 saves, including 27 in the final two periods. Nelson had 27 stops.

In the second game, Paul Carey had two goals for Boston College. The Eagles (32-10-1) will bring an 18-game winning streak into Saturday night’s NCAA championship game against Ferris State, which beat Union College 3-1 in the first semifinal. Boston College is seeking its fifth hockey title.

Minnesota (28-14-1) made its first Frozen Four appearance since 2005.

Boston College junior Steven Whitney broke a scoreless tie at the 6:03 mark in the first. Whitney came in over the Minnesota blue line, then crashed the net. Barry Almeida found Whitney, who snuck past the defense.

The Eagles were leading 4-0 when Minnesota’s Jake Hansen scored at the 1:26 mark of the third. It was the first goal in 193 minutes, 49 seconds against the Eagles, who have outscored their opponents 12-1 in the NCAA Tournament.

Kevin Hayes and Brian Dumoulin had power-play goals for Boston College, and Chris Kreider also scored. Eagles goaltender Parker Milner collected 30 saves.

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