Beavers host first-place Huskies to open play in February
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Beavers host first-place Huskies to open play in February

The match up
The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team (5-14-5; 4-10-4 WCHA) wraps up its current four-game homestand this weekend versus Western Collegiate Hockey Association and intrastate rival St. Cloud State University (15-10-1; 12-5-1 WCHA) for a special Hall of Fame and alumni weekend.
Bemidji State opens the two-game set seeking its first win since Dec. 15. Following a 5-1 victory over then-No. 10 University of Denver, BSU has gone 0-6-2, which includes 5-3 and 2-1 losses last weekend versus No. 14 University of Nebraska-Omaha. Brance Orban continues to lead the team in scoring, adding an assist versus UNO to bump his season point total to 16 (5g-12a), while fellow senior Aaron McLeod netted his team-leading 10th goal of the season. BSU goaltenders split time between the pipes last weekend. After sophomore goaltender Andrew Walsh, who has seen action in 17-of-24 games and leads the tandem with a 4-9-4 record, a 2.72 goals against average and .911 save percentage with 484 stops this season, dropped a 5-3 decision Friday, senior Mathieu Dugas made his first start since Dec. 7. Despite collecting 24 saves and allowing just two goals in his return, the Beavers were defeated 2-1.     

The Huskies open the weekend as the No. 13 team in the country after going unbeaten in their last seven WCHA contests (6-0-1). The SCSU attack is paced by Drew LaBlanc, who has 35 points (7g-28a). Nic Dowd is second on the team with 27 points (11g-16a) and is tied with three other players for a team-high 11 goals. Ryan Faragher has shouldered the bulk of the Huskies’ goaltending duties, seeing time in 24 of the team’s 26 games, which includes starting the last five consecutively. He is 14-8-1 on the season with a 2.22 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.

The rivalry
The Beavers head into the series owning a 45-39-4 record versus SCSU in a rivalry that began Jan. 18, 1948 and was based largely during the time both teams competed at the NAIA, NCAA Division II and Division III levels and were members of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA). Since the teams both made the move to NCAA Division I, SCSU has had BSU’s number level rolling up wins in 19 of the last 23 meetings, however, the Beavers were unbeaten in two games versus the Huskies last season, collecting a 6-6 (OT) tie and 3-1 victory Dec. 2-3 at the National Hockey Center.

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 1,004-520-100 (.655) in 1,624 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 200-173-44 (.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.
*Now in his eighth season at St. Cloud State, Bob Motzko has led the Huskies to a 137-109-34 overall record. The 2006 and 2007 WCHA Coach of the Year, has guided the Huskies to four WCHA Final Five appearances (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010), and three NCAA Division I tournament showings (2007, 2008 and 2010). Motzko’s top assistant coach knows the Beavers well. Mike Gibbons graduated from BSU in 1979 after playing 106 games during a four-year career, winning the NAIA national title in 1979. Gibbons also served as an assistant coach under R.H. “Bob” Peters for several seasons and led BSU to a 30-6-1 record and to the NCAA Division II championship game in 1982-83 while Peters was on sabbatical.

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 St. Cloud State
Bemidji State traveled to St. Cloud State early last season and earned three points in the two-game series. BSU got goals from Radoslav Illo and Aaron McLeod in the final 10 minutes of the series opener Dec. 2, 2011 to erase a 6-4 deficit and salvage a 6-6 draw in the series opener. Jordan George scored one of two BSU goals in the first period of the  finale and Radoslav Illo added a power-play goal late as the Beavers cruised to the 3-1 victory. George finished the weekend with four points (3g-1a) to lead all BSU players.

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 4-4-1 when scoring three or more goals, 1-10-4 when netting less than three goals and is 1-11-1 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.

Don’t call it a shutout
BSU has been shut out four times in 24 games this season marking the first time BSU has been held scoreless in four times in a single season in the 56-year history of the program.

Letting OT slip away
This season the Beavers have played eight overtime contests.  The team has yet to win an extra-session game posting a 0-3-5 record in those contests.  BSU has played seven or more overtime games just seven times during its 56-year existence and has never lost four OT contests the same season.

Scoring in OT
With three losses and five ties in eight overtime contests this year, the Beavers have not netted an extra-session goal yet this season marking a string of 11 consecutive overtime games without a win. The Beavers last OT victory came Nov. 4, 2011 at Lake Superior State. Jordan George scored the overtime game-winner. Of the current BSU players, George has two overtime game-winners to lead the team. Ben Kinne also has one to his credit.

Man advantage
BSU enters this weekend’s conference series without a power-play goal in its last three games and was 0-for-17 in those games.  The BSU power-pay unit is 12-for-77 (.156), with 10 power-play goals coming in 18 WCHA games. The Beavers are 10-for-58 (.172) in WCHA play to rank eighth in the league.

It’s a fine line...
The Beavers have been involved in 16 games this season that have been decided by a goal or less. BSU is 3-8-0 in one-goal games and has five 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 74-for-93 (.796), while it has stymied 57-of-70 opponent power-play chances in WCHA play to sit eighth in the league (.814).

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 75 points (30g-45a) in the Beavers’ first 24 games.  The sophomore class is second with 28 points (5g-23a) and the junior class is third with 21 points (9g-12a), while the freshmen round out the race in fourth with 17 points (10g-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 484 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
In the 11 years since the Beavers moved to Division I, they have escaped overtime with at least a tie in 75 percent (72) of the 97 games that have needed extra time to decide the outcome.
    Since March 11, 2006, BSU is 12-9-26 in games extended to sudden death, including an 0-3-5 mark in 2012-13.

Shoot the puck
This season BSU has been out shot in 18 of 24 games and is trailing its opponents 755-582 in the shot department for an average of -7.2 shots on goal per game.  BSU is 3-11-3 when being out shot in 2012-13, 2-2-1 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 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
Jan. 19, BSU’s goaltender Andrew Walsh collected the second assist of his career. It marked the second time in the Beavers’ last five games he has collected an assist. He enters this weekend’s series tied with Danny Mattson for most assists during that span with two.

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 136 games. He sat out of the Jan. 16, 2010 contest at Niagara, but has played in the last 114 games consecutively.

Hints at the outcome
The Beavers are 19-5-4 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 1-1-1 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 57 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 115 points (57g-59a) in 135 games. With two points last weekend, he surpassed Andrew Murray (2001-05) for third place on BSU’s Division I-era scoring list.
Success versus the Huskies
No current Beaver has had more success versus SCSU than senior Jordan George.  In just six career games versus the Huskies, George has 11 points (4g-7a), which includes two power-play goals. In the Beavers last four games versus SCSU, the senior has an astounding 10 points (4g-6a) for an average of 2.5 points per game.

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 eight (2g-6a) 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 five, his three PP goals in WCHA play place him in a tie for 10th place among league leaders.

Block party
This season BSU has made it difficult on opposing attackers.  As a team, BSU has blocked 387 shots. Defenders Sam Windle and Matt Prapavessis lead the team with 41 blocks apiece.

Slow series starters
BSU is winless (0-8-3 (.136) on Fridays in 2012-13, while it is 5-4-2 (.545) in Saturday contests and 0-1-0 (.000) on Sundays and 0-1-0 (.000) on Mondays.  

BSU versus the nationally-ranked
BSU has faced just four nationally ranked team through 24 games this season. BSU is 1-4-2 in 2012-13 versus the nations’ top 15 teams according to the USAToday poll.

BSU versus nationally-ranked Huskies
Since 1999-2000, eight of the 18 times BSU has met SCSU, the Huskies have ranked among the nations top 15 teams. In those games, BSU is 1-7-0, which includes a pair of losses to the No. 1 Huskies Dec. 14-15 of the 2001-02 season.

Home Sweet Home
This season Radoslav Illo, Jordan George  and Danny Mattson each have eight points at home  to lead the team. Mattson is averaging one point per home contests, while Illo has logged all but one point (2g-7a) this season at Sanford Center

Home team goals
Bemidji State is 3-6-3 on its home ice this season, while it is 2-8-2 away from Sanford Center. Aaron McLeod has six goals on home ice this season to lead all BSU players. Jeff Jubinville is right behind with five.

January has typically been a very good month for BSU.  Since 1999-2000, the Beavers are 44-30-9 (.599) in the first month of the new year, however, BSU was without a January win in 2013 going 0-4-2. BSU is 42-43-13 in February all time.

Short-handed first
BSU got its first short-handed goal of the season last weekend at Michigan Tech off the stick of captain Ben Kinne. It marked the Beavers’ first short-handed goal in nearly a year. David Boehm netted the Beavers’ last shorty Jan. 28, 2012.  Kinne leads all current players with two career short-handed goals, while Boehm, Sam Rendle and Jordan George each have one.

Fading late
BSU has been out scored 56-35 after the first period this season, which includes a 25-15 differential in the third period.