Beavers host Bowling Green to cap 2011 calendar year
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Beavers host Bowling Green to cap 2011 calendar year

The match up
The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team returns from a week of rest and relaxation to wrap up the 2011 calendar year and its 2011-12 nonconference schedule this weekend as it hosts first-time opponent Bowling Green State University for a two-game set at Sanford Center.  
    The Beavers, 9-9-2 overall and 4-2-0 in nonconference action, are coming off a sweep of University of Alabama-Huntsville Dec. 16-17 to climb to the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 21. Andrew Walsh posted 20 saves en route to his first collegiate shutout, 3-0, in the opener before making 27 saves and blanking UAH, 5-0, in the finale. Junior defender Brady Wacker led all BSU players in the series logging a goal and two assists.
    Offensively, BSU is lead by senior defenseman Brad Hunt (4-13=17) and junior forward Jordan George (11-6=17). Hunt leads the team with 13 assists this season, while George has a team-best 11 goals. It’s been goalie by committee through BSU’s first 20 games as all three of the team’s goaltenders have seen time between the pipes. Walsh improved to 5-2-1 with back-to-back shutouts and rides a streak of 128:14 without allowing a goal into the BGSU series. The freshman owns team-bests in goals against average (1.98) and save percentage (.932) making six starts and eight appearances. Dan Bakala is 4-6-1 in 13 appearances. Defensively speaking, BSU last allowed a power-play goal Dec. 2 at St. Cloud State--a streak spanning 22 opponent power-play opportunities and six games. The Beavers’ penalty-kill unit is now 74-of-86 (.860) on the season to sit 15th in the country.
    Bowling Green (6-11-3), comes into this weekend’s series without a win in its last eight contests (0-6-2).  Most recently, the Falcons came out of a hone-and-hone series with Western Michigan earning a 3-3 tie before dropping the finale 6-1, Dec. 9-10.    
    Freshman Ryan Carpenter has provided an offensive spark for a BGSU attack averaging 1.80 goals per game. The forward has 14 points and leads the team with six goals.  Sophomore forward Camden Wojtala has posted 3-10=13 points and leads the team in assists (10). Junior goaltender Andrew Hammond has seen all but 55:30 from between the pipes for the Falcons.  He totes a 6-10-3 record with a .889 save percentage and a 2.79 goals against average.

The rivalry
Despite logging more than 3,200 games between them, Bemidji State and Bowling Green will meet for the first time this weekend. The nonconference series will serve as a preview for things to come as the Falcons will be joining the WCHA for the 2013-14 campaign and become a regular opponent of the Beavers.

The unparalleled tradition
The 2011-12 season represents the 13th at the NCAA Division I level, and the 56th year of intercollegiate competition, for a BSU program which has assembled one of the finest traditions in all of American collegiate sport.
* BSU owns 13 NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III national titles.
* The Beavers have captured 21 conference titles in 55 seasons of intercollegiate competition.
* In 2009, BSU became the first No. 16 seed to ever earn a spot in the Frozen Four.  In just its 10th year at the NCAA Division I level, only one team, the 1958 Denver Pioneers, found its way to college hockey’s grandest stage faster.
* BSU has developed seven NHL players, six Olympians and 82 All-America honorees.
* BSU has compiled an all-time record of 990-495-93 (.657) in 1,578 games.

The coaches
* Bemidji State’s Tom Serratore (Bemidji State ‘86) is in his 11th season and has an overall record of 187-155-40 (.542) as BSU’s head coach. In addition to directing the Beavers to seasons of at least .500 hockey in seven of the last eight seasons, Serratore’s teams won CHA regular-season championships five times since 2003-04 and made trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010, with a 2009 appearance in the Frozen Four.  He is a five-time CHA Coach of the Year recipient and was Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year Runner-up in 2009.
*Chris Bergeron has directed the Falcons to a 16-38-7 record in two seasons at Bowling Green. Prior to taking his first head coaching post in 2010, Bergeron was an assistant at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he helped resurrect the RedHawks program to national prominence. A 1993 graduate and letterwinner at MU, Bergeron then played seven seasons of professional hockey in the EHL, IHL, CHL and made one stop in the USHL where he served as a player/assistant coach for the Port Huron Bordercats.

Last time out for the Beavers
Bemidji State posted back-to-back shutout victories in a nonconference series with Alabama-Huntsville Dec. 16-17.  Freshman goaltender Andrew Walsh was the star of the series posting 20 saves in the opener to record his first collegiate shutout and lead the Beavers to a 3-0 victory only to turn aside 27 in the finale as BSU cruised to a 5-0 win.

Last time versus Bowling Green
The Beavers and Falcons have never met. However the teams share three common opponents through the first half of the season in Alabama-Huntsville, Miami (Ohio) and Lake Superior State.  The Beavers are 4-1-0 versus these teams while BSU is 3-2-1. Both teams swept UAH and split with LSSU, but while BSU also split with MU, the Falcons last the opener and salvaged a tie in the finale versus the RedHawks

Beavers picked to finish tenth

Western Collegiate Hockey Association coaches picked Bemidji State to finish 10th in the 41st Annual Grand Forks Herald Preseason Coaches’ Poll. A tenth-place finish is just where the Beavers end the 2010-11 season with a 8-15-5 mark in league play.  The Beavers garnered 30 points in the poll to six points behind University of Alaska-Anchorage. Denver University was forecast as the favorite to win the 2011-12 regular-season and the MacNaughton Cup. The Pioneers garnered seven of 12 first-place votes and 115 points to edge University of North Dakota (110).

Oh captain, My captain
Junior forward Ben Kinne (St. Paul, Minn.) will captain the Beavers during the 2011-12 campaign. Senior defenseman Brad Hunt (Ridge Meadows, British Columbia) and junior blueliner Jake Areshenko (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia)  will have the “A” on their jerseys designating them as alternate captains.

Playing close to home
Seven of the 28 players on the Beavers’ 2011-12 roster hail form the state of Minnesota.  Drew Fisher calls International Falls his hometown, Shea Walters is from Hibbing, Sam Rendle is from Grand Rapids and Ben Kinne, from St. Paul, Danny Mattson, from Minneapolis, Matt Hartmann, who calls Hugo home, and Sam Windle, from Maple Grove, are from the Twin Cities-metro area.  

Familiar look
Tom Serratore returns 20 letter winners from a year ago including Jordan George and Brad Hunt. George posted a career-high 17-19=36 points in 2010-11 to lead the team, while Hunt registered 3-18=21 to finish fourth on the team. BSU returns 59 percent of scoring for a year ago, which includes 62 percent of its assist scoring (90-of-145), 49 percent of its goal scoring (43-of-89).

Home sweet home
The Beavers had to adapt to playing on the road quickly in 2011-12 as eight of their first 10 games of the season took place away from home in a string that concluded Nov. 5. Now BSU finds itself wrapping up a string of 10-of-12 games at Sanford Center this weekend. The Beavers are 3-6-1 on the road this season and are 6-3-1 at home.

Three is the magic number

In 2010-11, the three-goal mark was a threshold for Bemidji State.  The Beavers were 0-15-2 when allowing more than two goals and were 13-3-2 when scoring at least three.  That trend has continued into 2011-12.  This season, BSU is 7-1-2 when scoring in excess of three goals, and is 2-8-0 when scoring fewer than three.

Bemidji State vs. the CCHA
BSU’s and BGSU may be meeting for the first time this weekend, but the Beavers have a long-standing history with programs hailing from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) reaching back into the days of NCAA Division II and III play.  Since the 1999-2000 season, BSU is 12-17-3 versus the CCHA. BSU has wins over Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan, a triumph over then-No. 2 Notre Dame at the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal Mar. 28, 2009, a 3-2 win over top-ranked Miami (Ohio) Nov. 27, 2009 and again Oct. 7, 2011.  The Beavers are 33-41-4 all-time versus CCHA member teams.  

Quick to strike

BSU is 6-3-1 when scoring first in 2011-12. Even more, the Beavers have found the back of the net on their first shot on goal four times this season and scored on one of its first three shots on goal eight times.

BSU 18th in all-time wins
Bemidji State became the 18th program among the 58 current members of NCAA Division I to post its 900th all-time victory when it defeated Ala.-Huntsville, 3-2, on Dec. 15, 2006. BSU’s 990 victories currently rank 18th all-time among current members of Division I. Cornell is next ahead of BSU, in 17th all-time with 1,010 victories. Seventeen Division I programs have posted 1,000 wins, including 2011-12 BSU foe Minnesota which leads Division I with 1,645 all-time victories, and is the only program in the nation with 1,600 or more all-time wins, while Michigan is second with 1,542 victories.

180 in the books
In his 11th season as a collegiate head coach, BSU’s bench boss Tom Serratore recently achieved another milestone--his 180th victory as a head coach in a 6-5 triumph over Michigan Tech Oct. 21, 2011.  He is 187-155-40 (.541) since inheriting the Beaver hockey program from legendary R.H. “Bob” Peters prior to the 2001-02 season.  Serratore is second at the school in victories by a head coach behind Peters, who posted 702 wins at BSU from 1966-2001.

Climbing BSU’s Division I assists list

Brad Hunt has accumulated 80 assists during his first 132 games, or just over three complete seasons as a Beaver to surpass BSU great Matt Read (2007-11) to sit atop the BSU Division I assists list and match Paul Ferry (1989-93) and Chris Morque (1990-94) for second on BSU’s all-time assist-scoring by defensemen list. Terry Mattson (1986-89), father of current Beaver freshman Danny Mattson, currently holds that title after piling up 81 helpers during his collegiate career.  

BSU versus the nationally-ranked

In 2010-11 the Beavers played 17 games against teams holding down one of the nation’s top 15 rankings, which included three of the top four teams according to USAToday and USA Hockey Magazine. BSU was 7-8-2 versus the nation’s top 15 last season.  After going 0-5-1 versus nationally-ranked competition during the first two months of 2010-11, the Beavers are 8-4-1 versus the top 15 since Dec. 3.  BSU is 3-7-0 versus the nationally-ranked in 2011-12
    Since the Beavers made the jump to the NCAA Division I ranks for the 1999-2000 campaign, BSU is 17-52-4 (.254) versus teams in the top-15. With that said, BSU is now 15-17-2 (.469) versus the top 15 since the beginning of the 2008-09 campaign.

Offensive defenseman
Junior defenseman Brad Hunt has been a big factor for BSU on both ends of the ice since becoming a Beaver in 2008-09.  In addition to his duties in BSU’s defensive zone, he has been a true offensive threat--especially on the power play. As a freshman, he was third on the team scoring 9-23=32 points with a team-leading 7-16=23 coming on the man advantage.  As a sophomore he had seven goals and a team-leading 26 assists to pace all BSU defenders, while ranking sixth among the nation’s top blueliners (0.89 ppg). His 17 points (5-12=17) on the power play again paced the team.  Last season, he had two goals and 18 helpers. Twelve points (2-10=12) came on the man advantage to place him fourth on the team in power-play scoring.  This season he enters the 13th week of play leading the team (4-13=17) in scoring and has three power-play points (1-4=5).

Comeback kids
Through 20 games of the 2011-12 campaign, the Beavers have trailed in all but five.  However, BSU has not trailed its opponent since a 3-2 third period deficit versus Denver Dec. 9--a streak spanning more than three games.  

The Hunt for power-play goals
In his fourth season, defenseman Brad Hunt has piled up 15 power-play goals, including seven in 2008-09, which matched a BSU Division I-era record for power-play goals by a defender.  With his first power-play goal of the season Dec. 17, Hunt surpassed Clay Simmons (1999-02) for BSU’s Division I-era mark for power-play goals by a defenseman.  The goal ended a 25-game pp goal scoring drought for Hunt--the longest of his career.

Beaver scoring by class
This season’s juniors currently lead BSU’s scoring race with 28-36=64 points after 4-8=12 points versus Ala.-Huntsville Dec. 16-17.  Next is the senior class with 16-20=36 points, followed by the sophomores (5-12=17).  The BSU freshman class has two goals and 12 assists to its credit this season.

Don’t call it a shutout
BSU was held without a goal Oct. 29 at Minnesota Duluth.  The shutout marked the first time the Beavers were scoreless in a game since a Dec. 11, 2010 game at Wisconsin.  

Penalty killers...
The BSU penalty-kill unit finished the weekend series versus Ala.-Huntsville a perfect 8-for-8 (1.00). On the season, BSU is now 74-for-86 (.860) to rank 15th in the country.  The mark includes snuffing out 52-60 (.867) opponent power plays in WCHA play to lead the league in efficiency. BSU last allowed a power-play goal Dec. 2 at St. Cloud State--a streak spanning 22 opponent power-play opportunities and six games.

Freaky Friday
BSU was a meager 4-10-4 in the first game of the weekend series in 2010-11, while the team has experience much greater success, a 10-7-1 record, in the final game of a series.  Ironically, this season BSU is 4-4-2 on Friday this season and 5-5-0 on Saturday.

Man advantage
The Beavers finished their WCHA series versus Ala.-Huntsville going 3-for-8 (.375) on the man advantage.  Bemidji State scored three power-play goals, in the series finale marking the first time since Jan. 3, 2010 the Beavers have netted three power-play goals in a single game. BSU is now 13-for-63 (.222) on the power-play this season and 10-for-44 (.227) to rank fourth in WCHA play.

Walters-powered power play
Shea Walters leads all BSU players with 3-4=7 points on the power-play, with 2-4=6 coming in WCHA play to share the No. 19 spot among league players.

Then there were seven
Matt Read, a 2011 graduate of Bemidji State and the Beavers’ Division I-era scoring leader, made the Philadelphia Flyers’ 2011-12 opening-day roster and scored his first NHL goal in the Flyer’s second game of the season.
    Read’s trip to the NHL makes seven products of the Beaver Hockey program to skate in the NHL ranks.  He joins former BSU goaltender Matt Clime (2005-2009) and his teammate Andrew Murray (2001-05) as the only other former Beavers currently in the NHL.

Its share of OT
Extending their March 17 WCHA Final Five quarterfinal game versus Minnesota  Duluth to overtime, the Beavers completed the 2010-11 season playing in 12 overtime games, marking its most since playing in a school-record 15 in 2002-03.  
    In the 11 years since the Beavers moved to Division I, they have escaped overtime with at least a tie in 76 percent (67) of the 88 games that have needed extra time to decide the outcome.
    Since March 11, 2006, BSU is 12-6-19 in games extended to sudden death, including a 1-0-2 record in extra time in 2011-12.

Shoot the puck
BSU has been out shot in 15 of its 20 games this season.  BSU out shot UAH in each game of the nonconference series and held a 52-47 edge overall.  However, the Beavers continue trail their opponents 609-470 (-7.0 spg) on the season, which includes a 461-326 (-9.6 spg) differential in WCHA games. BSU is 4-9-2 when being out shot this season and 4-0-0 when out shooting its foes with a win in its only game with the shots even.

Directions to the scoring column
With nine new faces in the BSU line up, the opening of the WCHA season brings with it many collegiate firsts--games, goals, assists.  Freshman Mitch Cain and junior transfer David Boehm were the first of BSU’s new faces to log a point.  Rookies Danny Mattson and Tyler Tosunian each scored their first collegiate points versus Ala.-Huntsville Dec. 17. Sophomore Garrett Ladd and junior Matt Hartmann (0-0=0) remain the only BSU veterans without a point to their name.

Assistance from the crease

January 7, BSU’s blueliners produced a goal and three assists including a helper from goaltender Dan Bakala.  The assist was the third of his career and first to come from between the pipes for the Beavers since Bakala contributed to a goal Nov. 12.  With three in his career, he is just two behind Jim Scanlan who holds BSU’s all-time record with five during his career.

1-0 wins...
BSU’s victory versus UND Nov. 20 seventh 1-0 victory in the history of the program. Since making the jump to NCAA Division I for the 1999-2000 campaign, BSU is 3-57-7 when scoring only one goal.

It’s a fine line...

Last season, 19 of BSU’s 38 games were decided by one goal or less, which included seven one-goal losses by the Beavers.  Bemidji State was 7-7-5 in games decided by a goal or less. BSU is 4-4-0 in one-goal games this season.

Another goal for Walters
With a goal in the UAH series Dec. 16-17, Shea Walters established a new career-high single-season goal scoring total with eight.  His previous high water mark came in 2008-09 when he recorded four goals as a freshman.

I am Iron Man
Brad Hunt is BSU’s current Ironman.  Since stepping on campus in the fall of 2008, he has dressed and played in each of the Beavers’ 132 games consecutively. Matt Read set a new mark for game played during BSU’s Division I era a year ago, playing in 147 games for BSU, which included 143 straight to begin his career.

The Hunt for 100 is over
Alternate Captain Brad Hunt scored the game-winning goal in a 3-1 victory at St. Cloud State Dec. 3 eclipsing the 100-point plateau. During his three seasons in the green and white, he has accumulated 23-80=103 points to climb into a tie for fifth on BSU’s all-time defensemen scoring list and fourth on BSU’s Division I-era scoring list. With three points this weekend, he will tie Terry Mattson (1986-89) and Greg Biskup (1984-88) for third on the Beavers defensemen scoring list.

Blueline’s offensive push

The Beavers’ got three goals and five assists from its defensive corps Dec. 16-17 versus DU.  Beaver defensemen have now scored in 16 of BSU’s 20 games this season and have accounted 10 goals and 29 assists (10-29=39) accounting for 27 percent of BSU total scoring with an average of 1.95 points per game in 2011-12.

It’s good to be home
After eight of their first 10 games on the road, the Beavers are glad to be back on home ice for eight of 10.  No two players are more excited to be back home than Jordan George and Brad Hunt.  Ten of George’s team leading 17 points have come in 10 games at Sanford Center, while Hunt has registered seven of his team-best 13 helpers at home.

Hints at the outcome
The Beavers are 17-2-3 since 2008-09 when captain Ben Kinne scores a goal.  This season Kinne has six goals and BSU is 4-1-1 in those contests.  Alternate captain Jake Areshenko scored less frequently, but has the same effect on the game’s outcome.  BSU is 9-2-3 when he logs a point and 3-0-0 when he scores a goal.

WCHA laurels for Walsh
Freshman goaltender Andrew Walsh was named WCHA Rookie of the Week Dec. 20 after 47 saves and a pair of shutout victories versus UAH--marking the second consecutive week and third time of 2011-12, the Dawson Creek, B.C. native has been recognized by the league.

Rookie contributions in goal

In his last three starts, Andrew Walsh has allowed just one goal on 84 shots.  He has posted a .988 save percentage and a 0.33 GAA.

Rendle out of commission
Sophomore blueliner Sam Rendle is out for the season electing to have surgery to repair his injured shoulder over the semester break.  He posted 3-8=11 points in 34 games for the Beavers as a freshman a year ago.

Anyone interested a short-handed goal?
This season BSU has just one short-handed goal and that came off the stick of injured Sam Rendle Oct. 7 at Miami--the Beavers’ first game of 2011-12.  Only two players in BSU’s lineup have a short-handed goal Ben Kinne (3/7/09) and Jordan George (2/12/10).  Since moving to the NCAA Division I level for the 1999-2000 season, BSU lowest single-season total for shorties is three in 2002-03, 2007-08 and 2010-11.

Beavers at Sanford Center
This season BSU is 6-3-1 on its home ice.  BSU had just five wins on its entire 16-game home slate in 2010-11 (5-8-3).

Nonconference action
The Beavers are 4-2-0 in nonconference play this season and a perfect 2-0-0 in nonconference games played at home this season. BSU was 1-1-0 in non-WCHA play at home last year.

Back-to-back shutouts
BSU’s back-to-back shutouts versus UAH Dec. 16-17 stand as the first since 3-0 victories over Northern Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha Nov. 27 and Dec. 3 of last season and the first time a BSU team has posted back-to-back shutouts to sweep a series since 2-0 and 5-0 victories at Air Force March 7-8, 2003.  With that said, BSU recorded back-to-back shutouts at Western Michigan Jan. 2-3, 2009, but the Beavers and Broncos opened the series with a 0-0 tie before BSU took game two with a 5-0 shutout giving the Beavers the series victory, but not the sweep.