Bemidji State Travels to Niagara with CHA Lead at Stake
Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Storylines
• Bemidji State received a vote in both major polls this week for the first time since making the jump to Division I in 1999, including its first-ever point in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll. BSU is the only CHA program to receive points in either major poll this week.
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BEMIDJI, Minn. - Standing in sole possession of first place in College Hockey America with a 7-1-0 record, Bemidji State (10-6-2 / 7-1-0 CHA) looks to solidify its position as the team to beat in CHA in what promises to be a crucial two-game weekend series at second-place Niagara (10-8-2 / 6-0-0 CHA), Jan. 9-10. While the Beavers were a near-unanimous pre-season pick to win the league by both the coaches and national hockey media, Niagara was picked second just as often.

The Purple Eagles have stormed out to a CHA-record start as the only program in the league’s five-year history to post six wins in their first six starts. BSU holds first place in the league only by virtue of having played two additional league games (eight to six), but its 7-1-0 start ranks as the second-best eight-game start in CHA history behind only Niagara’s 1999-2000 NCAA Tournament team which opened CHA play 7-0-1. Ironically, Niagara’s lone tie in that eight-game burst was a 3-3 draw at Bemidji State.

But being king of the hill is never easy, and BSU will be further hampered by a bloody history in Niagara’s Dwyer Arena. BSU has never won on Niagara’s home ice, having posted an 0-7-1 record in eight starts against the Purple Eagles and a loss to Ala.-Huntsville in the 2002 CHA Tournament, hosted by Niagara. However, that lone tie against Niagara came in BSU’s last trip to New York, a 3-3 draw on Dec. 14, 2002 which saw the Beavers rally from a 2-0 defecit.

Bemidji State will take the ice this weekend as a program receiving votes in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine coaches poll for the first time in its Division I history. The Beavers received one vote in this week’s AHCA poll, which would rank them 23rd in the nation if the poll were extended.

Bemidji State is in its fifth season of Division I play, continuing the evolution of a program which has assembled one of the finest traditions in college hockey and all of American collegiate sports. A small-college dynasty prior to its ascension to Division I status in 1999, the Beavers hold 13 NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III national titles and have developed five NHL players, five Olympians and more than 80 All-America selections. Now in its 48th season of collegiate hockey, Bemidji State has compiled an all-time record of 839-378-68 (.679) and has the highest all-time winning percentage of the 58 programs which currently comprise NCAA Division I ice hockey.

Web Sites
Bemidji State: /athletics/
Niagara: http://www.purpleeagles.com
College Hockey America: http://www.collegehockeyamerica.com

BSU Head Coach Tom Serratore
• Third season at Bemidji State, third season as a collegiate head coach; 36-38-15 record

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