BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University opens its 2017-18 postseason journey this weekend when it hosts Michigan Tech for a best-of-three Western Collegiate Hockey Association first round playoff match up. Game times are set for 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a 5:07 p.m. start Sunday, if needed.
The Beavers and Huskies meet for the second time this season. The teams split a regular-season series in Houghton, Mich. Feb. 9-10. After Bemidji State opened the two-game set with a 4-2 victory, MTU bounced back to claim a 5-1 win and it's own Winter Carnival title (based on goals scored).
Despite owning two of the most storied traditions in college hockey, the BSU and MTU didn't first meet until 2007. Since that time, the Huskies have built a 12-10-4 edge in the series. However, BSU has won four of the last six meetings (4-2-0) and is 7-5-0 when hosting MTU for games played in Bemidji, Minn.
Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State capped the 2017-18 regular-season earning 2-of-6 six points at No. 4/5 Minnesota State, Feb. 23-24. BSU dropped a 2-1 decision to open the series. BSU and MSU tied 2-2 Saturday, however, BSU won the shoot out to escape with an extra point in the standings. BSU moves to 16-12-8 overall and 13-9-6-4 in WCHA play to remain fourth in the standings (49 pts).
• The Beavers host the No. 5 seed Michigan Tech, this weekend with the winner advancing to the WCHA Playoffs’ semifinal round. Game times for the series are: 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5:07 p.m. Sunday (if needed) at Sanford Center.
• BSU has netted just 12 goals in its last eight games for an average of 1.50 GPG and is 2-4-2 during that span. In BSU’s prior 15 match ups (9-2-4) it averaged 3.20 GPG and netted at least four goals in seven of those contests.
• Jay Dickman snapped a seven-game goal scoring drought Friday to net his team-leading 14th goal of the season. His 2017-18 performance ranks ninth among for goals scored during a junior campaign at BSU.
• Dickman tied for eighth in the WCHA with 12 goals scored in league play.
• Kyle Bauman’s assist on BSU’s goal Friday keeps him atop BSU’s scoring list, netting a career-high 29 points (9g-20a).
• Bauman needs just one point to become the 23rd player of BSU’s Division I-era to eclipse the 30-point plateau and the first since Jordan George posted 31 (19g-12a) in 2011-12.
• Bauman’s BSU-best 20th assist marks the 17th 20-helper campaign since 1999-2000 and stands tied for 13th on BSU’s Division I-era assist scoring list. Brad Hunt was the last to top 20 in 2011-12 when he posted 21 helpers.
• Zach Whitecloud led BSU in scoring Saturday, having a hand in both BSU goals (1g-1a). This goal at the 2:15 mark of the first period shook a 13-game goal scoring drought, dating back to Jan. 6, and stood as his fourth of 2017-18.
• Adam Brady’s power-play goal Saturday snapped a 0-for-10 stretch for BSU on the man advantage dating back to the second period of BSU’s Feb. 15 contest.
• Gerry Fitzgerald leads all BSU players netting 1.00 point per home game this season with 14 points (3g-11a) at Sanford Center.
• While seven different BSU players have accounted for a game-winning goal at home this season, defender Zach Whitecloud leads the team with two game-winners on home ice.
• Michael Bitzer has been better on the road this season. He is 8-5-4 with a 2.08 GAA and a .920 save percentage to go with three shutouts. At Sanford Center he is 8-6-4 with a 2.19 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
• With 31 saves Friday, Bitzer moved into first place on BSU’s all-time saves list. Now with 3,085 the senior surpassed Steve O’Shea who held the BSU record since 1989 with 3,065.
• Bitzer’s 31-save performance Friday marked just the second time this season he has been called on to make in excess of 30 saves and was the 18th of his career. Saturday, he did it again posting 33.
• At 65-52-19 in his BSU career, Bitzer is second on BSU’s all-time wins list. Blane Comstock sits atop the list with 70.
• His 21 career shutouts is a BSU and WCHA all-time record. In addition, he is second on the NCAA all-time shut outs list and sits five behind Michigan State’s Ryan Miller, who recorded 26 shutouts from 1999-02.
• The BSU penalty-kill unit was 8-for-10 versus Minnesota State to move to 109-of-124 in 2017-18. The Beavers are third in the nation in PK efficiency at .879. At 87-of-98 (.888), the Beavers lead the WCHA.
• BSU was 1-for-9 on the power-play at MSU. BSU is 28-of-136 (.206) this season and is third in the WCHA at 23-for-111 (.207).
• Adam Brady has 13 power-play points (4g-9a) this season to lead all BSU players.
• Friday marked just the second occasion this season that BSU has dropped a game when opening the second period with a lead. BSU is 7-2-2 this season when leading after one period.
• When leading after two periods, BSU is 13-0-3. On the flip side, when trailing to start the third, BSU is without a win (0-10-3).
• BSU trails Michigan Tech 12-10-4 in a series that began in 2007, but the Beavers have a 7-5-0 edge over the Huskies when hosting MTU in Bemidji, Minn.
• The Beavers are 4-2-0 in their last six meetings with MTU, which includes a 4-2 victory and 5-1 loss to the Huskies in Houghton, Mich. Feb. 9-10 this season.
• This weekend marks the first time BSU and MTU have met in the WCHA postseason.
• Since joining the WCHA in 2010-11, BSU is 6-14 in postseason play including a 5-13 mark in first round/quarterfinal action and are 2-5 in WCHA postseason play at Sanford Center advancing to the semifinal a year ago after sweeping Northern Michigan.