Ferris hockey freshman Norris off to flying start

Coale Norris

BIG RAPIDS — The hockey season is only two games old and it’s perhaps premature to draw certain conclusions.

But Ferris State coach Bob Daniels liked what he saw from his fourth line of freshmen Coale Norris and Lucas Finner and junior Trevor Recktenwad.

Norris scored what proved to be the winning goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Western Michigan University.

Finner also assisted on defenseman Tyler Dorantes’ goal for Ferris’ only score in Friday’s 6-1 loss at Western Michigan.

“Lucas Finner won a draw and Tyler scored from the point,” Daniels said. “They played excellent on Friday. On Saturday, they played very well again. Coale is a goal scorer and will score a lot of collegiate goals. That fourth line was a good line for us all weekend. Hats off to them.”

It was a goal Norris won’t soon forget.

“It started off as a broken play in our zone,” he said. “We came down on a broken 3-on-3. Lucas got it over to me and tried to get off a quick shot. We tried to do all the little things right and got better as the day went.”

The Oxford, Mich., native played for the Youngstown Phantoms in the United States Hockey League and was a teammate of fellow freshman Marshall Moise. He was in 60 games in his only season in the USHL, had 15 goals and 15 assists for 30 points and was a plus 9.

Norris also spent parts of two seasons in the North American Hockey League prior to the 2016-17 season with the Amarillo Bulls and Springfield Jr. Blues.

“I started talking to Ferris probably the summer of last year,” he said. “It was a no-brainer. It’s a hockey institution. In the past 10 years they have a better record than any other program in Michigan. It was an easy decision for me to make.”

His father Dwayne Norris played college hockey at Michigan State University from 1988-1992 and collected 218 points on 105 goals and 113 assists, and also played 20 games in the National Hockey League for the Quebec Nordiques and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Being on the collegiate level means dealing with more physicality, Norris said.

“In junior hockey you’re playing against guys your own age, maybe a year older,” he said. “Here, you’re playing guys three or four years older. I think I’m ready to roll. I’ve gotten better in just two games. I came here to make an impact right away. I hope to contribute as much as I can whether it be blocking shots or scoring goals, whatever it takes.”

The Bulldogs open their Western Michigan Collegiate Hockey Association season with games Friday and Saturday at home against Northern Michigan University.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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