Beavers host No. 7 Western Michigan to open 2013
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Beavers host No. 7 Western Michigan to open 2013

The match up
The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team (5-10-3; 4-8-2 WCHA) returns to Sanford Center this weekend to lift the lid on the new calendar year by hosting No. 7 Western Michigan University (11-5-2; 8-3-2 CCHA) in its last nonconference series of the 2012-13 campaign. The series is slated for a 7:37 p.m. start Friday, with the finale scheduled for a 7:07 p.m. opening faceoff.

Bemidji State opens the two-game set after going 0-for-2 in the Ledyard National Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H. Dec. 30-31. The Beavers dropped the opening game to University of Massachusetts, 4-3, and took No. 4 New Hampshire, to overtime before letting the consolation game slip away, 3-2. Brance Orban led all BSU players logging a goal and two assists in the classic, while Jordan George netted a goal in each game. With two goals and four assists in the Beavers’ last three outings, Orban has claimed the team’s scoring lead with 15 points (5g-10a), while George’s seven goals matches fellow senior Aaron McLeod  for BSU’s top goal scoring spot. Andrew Walsh saw his overall record dip to 4-6-2 on the weekend, but remains solid in net. In his last five appearances, he is 2-2-1 with 152 saves, a .938 save percentage and a 1.98 goals allowed average. 

Western Michigan arrives in Bemidji after going winless in the Great Lakes Invitational. The Broncos settled for a 1-1 tie with Michigan State University before falling to Michigan Tech in the championship game, 4-0. The No. 7 team in the land is led in scoring by senior forward Dane Walters, who has accumulated 13 points (7g-6a), which includes a team-best seven goals. Dennis Brown, a junior defenseman, holds the team’s lead in assist scoring after registering nine (0g-9a) in the team’s first 18 games of the season. Sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski has seen time in all 18 of the Broncos’ games this season and his record mirrors the team to prove it.  He is 11-5-2 with a 1.98 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.

The rivalry
The Beavers and Broncos have met in just three prior series match ups.  Bemidji State holds a slight 3-2-1 advantage in the rivalry, which includes being unbeaten in four of the last five meetings (3-1-1). The current members of the CCHA and future NCHC members have seen three of its last six games extended to overtime with WMU holding a 2-0-1 edge in those contests. This weekend marks the Broncos’ second trip to Bemidji. The teams each took one game in that December 2004 series.

The unparalleled tradition
The 2012-13 season represents the 14th at the NCAA Division I level, and the 57th 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 56 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 two teams, the 1958 Denver Pioneers and the 1980 Northern Michigan Wildcats, found their 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 1,004-516-98 (.655) in 1,618 games.

The coaches
*Bemidji State’s Tom Serratore (Bemidji State ‘86) is in his 12th season as BSU’s head coach and has an overall record of 200-171-44 (.534). In addition to directing the Beavers to records of at least .500 in seven of the last nine seasons, Serratore’s teams have 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.
*Andy Murray is in his second season at Western Michigan and has already lead the Broncos to a 32-18-7 record. A 10-year head coach in the NHL, Murray recorded a 333-278-58-71 mark with the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues.  Prior to his head coaching stints, he held assistant coach positions with the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota North Stars and Philadelphia Flyers.  Murray also has an extensive international resume after leading Team Canada to gold medals in the 1997, 2008 and 2007 World Hockey Championships. He is a 1972 graduate of Brandon University.

Last Season for the Beavers
The BSU men’s hockey team is coming off its second season in the WCHA.  The Beavers posted a 17-18-3 record which included an 11-14-3 mark in league play, which was good for 10th place in the league’s final standings. Was swept by eventual WCHA Final Five Champion University of North Dakota in the first round of the 2012 WCHA playoffs, 4-1, 4-3.

Last time versus Western Michigan
Bemidji State and Western Michigan last met Jan. 2-3 of 2010 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The series got underway with a rare 0-0 (OT) tie--the first and only scoreless tie in the 56-year history of Beaver hockey. BSU claimed the nonconference series with a 3-0 victory in the  back half of the two-game set.  Then a sophomore, forward Ben Kinne posted the second multi-goal game of his career to propel the Beavers to the win, while Former Beavers Matt Read and Brad Hunt each collected an assist on each of BSU’s goals. Goaltender Dan Bakala registered the first and second shutouts of his career.

Beavers picked to finish eleventh
Western Collegiate Hockey Association media picked Bemidji State to finish 11th in the annual 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll. Defending regular-season champion University of Minnesota was picked as the favorite to win the league and the MacNaughton Cup in 2012-13. The Gophers garnered 24 of 25 first-place votes and 11.92 points per ballot to edge University of North Dakota (10.76).

Oh captain, My captain
For the second consecutive season, senior forward Ben Kinne (St. Paul, Minn.) will captained the Beavers during the 2012-13 campaign. Senior defenseman Jake Areshenko (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia) will wear the “A” for the second season, while Aaron McLeod and Matt Prapavessis were also selected alternate captains for 2012-13.  

Playing close to home
Six of the Beavers’ 27 rostered players in 2012-13 hail from the state of Minnesota.  James Hansen and Sam Windle call Maple Grove their hometown, Sam Rendle is from Grand Rapids, Ben Kinne hails from St. Paul, Danny Mattson grew up in Minneapolis, Matt Hartmann calls Hugo home and newcomer Reid Mimmack is from Brainerd.  

Familiar look
Tom Serratore returns 20 letter winners from a year ago including Jordan George and Aaron McLeod. George posted 31 points (19g-12a), which included a career-high 19 goals scored in 2011-12 to lead the team, while McLeod more than doubled his point total by registering 23 points (9g-14a) to finish fourth on the team. BSU returns 72 percent of scoring from a year ago, 73.3 percent of its goal scoring (74-of-101) and 71.4 percent of its assist scoring (115-of-161).

Three is the magic number
In 2011-12, the three-goal mark was a threshold for Bemidji State.  The Beavers were 5-15-1 when allowing more than two goals and were 12-3-2 when scoring at least three.  This season, BSU is 4-3-1 when scoring three or more goals, 1-7-2 when netting less than three goals and is 1-8-1 when its opponents have met the three-goal threshold.
BSU 18th in all-time wins
Bemidji State became the 18th program among the 58 current members of NCAA Division I to post its 1,000th all-time victory when it defeated Nebraska-Omaha, Oct. 27, 2012 in Omaha, Neb. BSU’s 1,003 victories currently rank 18th all-time among current members of Division I. Cornell is next ahead of BSU, in 17th all-time with 1,022 victories. Seventeen Division I programs have posted 1,000 wins, including 2012-13 BSU foe Minnesota which leads Division I with 1,655 all-time victories, and is the only program in the nation with 1,600 or more all-time wins, while Michigan is second with 1,552 victories.

Friday is a perfect time for OT
All four of BSU’s overtime contests in 2011-12 came in the first game of a series and that trend has continued into 2012-13.  Four of BSU’s six overtime games this season have come on Friday as well. BSU is 0-3-3 in OT this season.

Don’t call it a shutout
BSU has been shut out twice in 18 games this season.  Lake Superior State held the Beavers scoreless, 2-0, in the season opener and Minnesota State posted a shutout, 3-0, Nov. 30.  The last time BSU was shut out three times during a single season was the 2001-02 campaign.

Man advantage
Bemidji State finished the 2011-12 season going 25-for-118 (.212) on the man advantage  with a 20-for-91 (.220) success rate in WCHA play to rank fourth. BSU enters this weekend’s nonconference series having scored a power-play marker in three of its last five games and is 4-for-16 in those games (.250).  The BSU power-pay unit is 11-for-54 (.204), with 10 power-play goals coming in 14 WCHA games. The Beavers are 10-for-42 (.238) in WCHA play to lead the league.

It’s a fine line...
The Beavers have been involved in 11 games this season that have been decided by a goal or less. BSU is 3-5-0 in one-goal games and has three draws in 2012-13.

Penalty killers...
The BSU penalty-kill finished the 2011-12 season 123-of-147 (.837) to sit 10th in the country, which included killing 92-of-109 (.844) in WCHA play to lead the league. The Beavers’ penalty-kill unit has struggled a bit this season, going 62-for-78 (.795), while it has stymied 50-of-62 opponent power-play chances in WCHA play to sit eighth in the league (.806).

Beaver scoring by class
Coming off a 2011-12 campaign in which it led the BSU scoring race, with 126 points (55g-71a), which included netting nearly 57 percent of the team’s goal scoring, this year’s senior class is off to an commanding lead in the scoring race. The seniors have accounted for 63 points (24g-39a) in the Beavers’ first 18 games.  The sophomore class is second with 22 points (4g-18a) and the junior class is third with 19 points (9g-10a), while the freshmen round out the race in fourth with 16 points (9g-7a).
Power-play goose eggs
It’s not all that uncommon for a team to be held without a power-play goal in any individual game, but Nov. 23 the Beavers failed to record a single power-play opportunity (0-for-0). Since BSU made the jump to the NCAA Division I level in 1999-2000, that has only happened five times in 480 games.

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 Flyers’ 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 75 percent (71) of the 95 games that have needed extra time to decide the outcome.
Since March 11, 2006, BSU is 12-9-24 in games extended to sudden death, including an 0-3-3 mark in 2012-13.

Shoot the puck
This season BSU has been outshot in 13 of 18 games and is trailing its opponents 574-439 in the shot department for an average of -7.5 shots on goal per game.  BSU is 3-7-2 when being out shot in 2012-13, 2-2-0 when out shooting its opponent and 0-1-1 when the shots are even.

Big shots
BSU has allowed 40 shots on goal four times already this season. Not surprisingly, BSU is without a win (0-3-1) in those games.

Directions to the scoring column
With six new skaters in the BSU line up to begin the 2012-13 season, only James Hansen opens this weekend in search of his first collegiate point, while senior Matt Hartmann (0-0=0 in 19 gp) remains the only BSU veteran without a point to his name.

Assistance from the crease
March 3, 2012 BSU’s defense produced a goal and two assists including a helper from goaltender Dan Bakala.  The assist was the fourth of his career and first to come from between the pipes for the Beavers since Bakala contributed to a goal Jan. 7, 2011.  

1-0 wins...
BSU’s victory versus UND Nov. 20, 2011 marked the 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.

I am Iron Man
Since stepping on campus in the fall of 2009, Jordan George has missed just one of the of the Beavers’ last 130 games. He sat out of the Jan. 16, 2010 contest at Niagara, but has played in the last 108 games consecutively.

Blueline’s offensive push
Beaver defensemen finished the season scoring in 31 of BSU’s 38 games in 2011-12 and accounted 16 goals and 46 assists (16-46=62) accounting for 24 percent of BSU’s total scoring with an average of 1.63 points per game in 2011-12. In 2012-13, BSU is getting offensive production from its blue line to the tune of 1.11 (2g-18a) points per game. Matt Prapavessis leads all BSU defensemen with seven points (0g-7a).

Hints at the outcome
The Beavers are 19-5-3 since 2008-09 when captain Ben Kinne scores a goal.  Last season Kinne had 10 goals and BSU was 6-3-1 in those contests. In 2012-13, BSU is 1-1-0 when he scores.  This season, BSU is unbeaten when senior David Boehm scores a goal (2-0-0).

Eyeing BSU’s goal-scoring record
Senior forward Jordan George became the first current NCAA Division I men’s hockey player to reach the 50-goal plateau Nov. 9. Only 25 players in the history of BSU men’s hockey and just four in BSU’s Division I era have reached the 50-goal plateau. Now with 56 goals to his credit, George sits alone in second place on the BSU Division I goal scoring list. Matt Read (2007-11) set the BSU Division I record for goals scored at 65.

Elite company at 100
There are currently just eight players in NCAA Division I college hockey that have accumulated 100 points during their careers and BSU’s Jordan George is one of them.  The senior has 114 points (56g-58a) in 130 games. He needs just one point to match Andrew Murray (2001-05) for third place on BSU’s Division I-era scoring list.
Success versus the Broncos
With only six current players with any playing experience against Western Michigan, Ben Kinne is the only player with any points versus the Broncos.  He scored a pair of power-play goals in a 3-0 victory at Western Michigan Jan. 3, 2010.

Power-play fuel
Forwards Aaron McLeod and Danny Mattson have played significant roles in the success of the BSU power-play this season.  Mattson is pacing the team and is fourth in the WCHA with seven special teams points (2g-5a), while McLeod not only leads BSU in power-play goal scoring this year with a career-high four, his three PP goals in WCHA play place him in a tie for third place among league leaders.

Block party
This season BSU has made it difficult on opposing attackers.  As a team, BSU has blocked 296 shots. Defender Sam Windle lead the team with 32 blocks.

Slow series starters
BSU is winless (0-5-3 (.186) on Fridays in 2012-13, while it is 5-3-0 (.625) in Saturday contests and 0-1-0 (.000) on Sundays and 0-1-0 (.000) on Mondays.

Home Cookin’
Radoslav Illo has played his best hockey at home in 20121-3. He leads the team netting seven (1g-6a) of his eight (2g-6a) points at Sanford Center. Jeff Jubinville leads all Beavers potting all five goals of his goals this season on home ice.

BSU versus the nationally-ranked
BSU has faced just two nationally ranked team through 18 games this season. BSU is 1-1-1 in 2012-13 versus the nations’ top 15 teams according to the USAToday poll.

Lucky sevens
Senior Aaron McLeod scored his team-leading seventh goal of the season Friday night adding to a career-high water mark for goals scored in a season. Jordan George netted his seventh of the season Saturday to match McLeod.

New face for the second half
BSU added goaltender Reid Mimmack for the second half of the 2012-13 season and beyond. Mimmack is a native of Brainerd, Minn. and is a three-year veteran of the NAHL, most recently with Jamestown, where he posted a 17-5-1 record this season with a .917 save percentage and a 2.34 goals against average. He left the team tied for second in the league with 17 victories, tied for third with three shutouts and was among the top 10 NAHL goaltenders in goals against average and goals allowed (52). Mimmack replaces Fabian Sivnert, who left the team at the semester break.

Home Sweet Home
Bemidji State is 3-3-2 on its home ice this season, while it is 2-7-1 away from Sanford Center.

Netting results
Andrew Walsh saw his overall record dip to 4-6-2 after a pair of one-goal losses last weekend, however, in his last five appearances, he is 2-2-1 with 152 saves, a .938 save percentage and a 1.98 goals allowed average. He has been especially effective at home this season. In five appearances, he is 2-2-1 with a 1.57 GAA and a .948 save percentage.

Happy New Year!
January has typically been a very good month for BSU.  Since 1999-2000, the Beavers are 44-26-7 (.617) in the first month of the new year.