Ferris State draws Colgate in NCAA Midwest Regional in Cincinnati

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — Ferris State and Colgate began their 2013-14 seasons against each other back on the first Saturday in October. Now on the final Friday of March, one of them will close its season against the other.

The Bulldogs are back in the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years and for the third time in school history as a No. 5 overall seed facing No. 12 Colgate in a 4:30 p.m. Midwest Regional semifinal game on Friday at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati on ESPN3.com.

The Raiders and Bulldogs split a series at Colgate on the opening weekend of the season with FSU winning 7-4 on Oct. 5 and losing 1-0 on Oct. 6.

Colgate also beat Ferris on Jan. 4 in the Mariucci Classic Championship in Minneapolis, 3-0.

“We’re familiar with them and obviously they are very familiar with us,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “What’s interesting, we were talking about it, after that (NCAA) game, we’ll have played them more times than Minnesota State this year. We’ve got a healthy dose of respect for them.

“It didn’t come as any surprise to us they made the tournament. I thought they were one of the best teams we faced during the course of the year. Both them and Minnesota State and then Alaska-Fairbanks were in my opinion were three of the best teams we saw.”

Both teams earned at-large bids to the tourney after losing in their respective conference championship game on Saturday.

Colgate, which finished second during the regular season in the ECAC, fell to Union in the ECAC final.

Ferris won the WCHA regular season title by a point over Minnesota State, but fell to the Mavericks in the Final Five championship on Saturday in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“We came up short tonight,” Daniels said following the 4-1 loss Saturday to MSU. “The good news is that we’ll have an opportunity to move forward and kind of erase this one from our memory bank.”

The last time Ferris State was in the NCAA tournament in 2012 as the CCHA regular season champ, it won the Midwest Regional championship before falling to Boston College in the national championship game.

The Bulldogs first made the NCAA tournament after winning the CCHA regular season title in 2003. They fell in the regional final.

On the other half of the Midwest bracket, No. 4 Wisconsin plays No. 14 North Dakota.

North Dakota, which finished third at the first NCHC tournament, snuck into the tournament as the final at-large team while Wisconsin won the inaugural Big Ten tournament championship. During the regular season, North Dakota finished second in the NCHC and the Badgers took second in the Big Ten.