BEMIDJI, Minn. -- This weekend the Bemidji State University men's hockey team breaks from WCHA play and turns its focus to its inaugural appearance in the North Star College Cup presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The event, now in its second season, features all five NCAA Division I hockey programs in The State of Hockey--Minnesota.
The four-game event will begin with BSU versus University of Minnesota Duluth at 4 p.m. Friday from Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota State University will play University of Minnesota at 7 p.m. that evening. The losers of the two semifinal match ups will play in the consolation round at 4 p.m. Saturday, with the 2015 North Star College Cup championship set for 7 p.m. Saturday.
All four games will be televised on Fox Sports North with the semifinals on FSN+ and Saturday's match ups broadcast on FSN. As always, audio of both of BSU's games with be broadcast locally on Mix 103.7 FM and online at BeaverRadioNetowrk.com.
Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team saw its record dip to 7-12-3 overall and 5-8-3 in WCHA play Jan. 16-17 as it was swept, 1-0 and 4-2, by Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
• Bemidji State has now been swept in its fifth series of the season — but its first since Nov. 21-22 at Bowling Green State University.
• BSU is 1-8-2 on the road in 2014-15.
• Friday night’s 44-shot performance was the top BSU’s top shooting effort of the season and marks the second time BSU has been over the 40-shot plateau this season.
• After averaging 27.4 shots per game and eclipsing the 30-shot mark five times in its first 14 games of the season, BSU has posted at least 30 shots in each of it last eight games and is averaging 35.25 during that stretch.
• The Beavers’ Jan. 16 loss to LSSU ended BSU’s unbeaten streak at seven games (4-0-3)—it’s longest since an eight-game streak to open the 2009-10 season.
• Surrendering a goal in the final moments of the game Friday snapped goaltender Michael Bitzer’s shutout streak at 238:23--the longest of his career.
• The power-play goal by the Lakers Friday was the first BSU has surrendered since the third period of its Dec. 6 game.
• The shutout marked the first time the Beavers have been held scoreless since an 8-0 loss at Ferris State University March 14, 2014.
• BSU is winless this season when scoring three or fewer goals in a game (0-12-2). Conversely, when scoring four or more, BSU is 7-0-1.
• The Beavers were 0-for-4 (.000) on the man advantage at Lake Superior State. The BSU power play is now 13-of-82 (.159), while it is 9-of-58 (.155) in WCHA play.
• The Beavers’ last power-play goal came off the stick of Matt Prapavessis in BSU’s Jan. 9 game versus UAH. Since, BSU is 0-for-7 on the man advantage.
• Prapavessis leads BSU, and ranks seventh in the WCHA, with three goals and four assists for seven power-play points. With five goals and a team-best 9 assists, his 14 points is good for fourth among WCHA defenders.
• BSU has stymied 71-of-88 opponent power-play opportunities and is at .807 on the season, with a 50-for-61 (.820) mark in WCHA play.
• The BSU penalty-kill unit has now snuffed out 24 of its opponents’ last 27 power-play chances and is .889 on the penalty kill since Dec. 5.
• This season, BSU has allowed seven short-handed goals. No team in the country has allowed more in 2014-15. If the Beavers surrender one more this season, it will match a Division I-era program record set in 2000-01 (8).
• Markus Gerbrandt scored his fifth goal of the season Saturday--his first goal since Nov. 14—marking the end of 13-game scoreless streak for the junior.
• Matt Prapavessis netted his team-leading ninth assist of the season Saturday.
• Cory Ward Netted the Beavers’ first extra-attacker goal of the season late in the third period Saturday.
• Freshmen Gerry, Leo and Myles Fitzgerald are one of 27 sets of brothers playing collegiate hockey this season and became the second known set of triplets ever to play college hockey. They follow Brian, Craig and Glen Seabury, who played for UMass-Lowell in 1989-90. Gerry leads all BSU rookies in scoring with three goals and eight assists.
• BSU is 11-22-1 versus UMD in the all-time series, however, BSU is 9-7-1 in the last 17 meetings between the teams.
• The teams first met in Duluth Feb. 8, 1947--in just the 13th game of the BSU program’s existence. The Bulldogs prevailed, 4-3, and would go on the win the next 10 meetings. Dec. 2, 2002, Bemidji State put an end to the Bulldogs’ 54-year stronghold in the series with a 3-2 victory at the DECC.
• BSU is 1-0-0 versus the Bulldogs when playing on neutral ice, winning a WCHA Final Five quarterfinal match up March 17, 2011. The game was played at the site of the North Star College Cup--Xcel Energy Center.
• The University of Minnesota holds a 18-1-1 advantage over the Beavers in the all-time series
• Bemidji State holds a 47-44-13 lead in the all-time series with Minnesota State--a rivalry that got its start in 1974. However, BSU is just 1-8-0 in the last nine meetings versus the Mavericks and has lost five straight to MSU.