BSU opens four-game homestand with Alabama-Huntsville

BSU opens four-game homestand with Alabama-Huntsville
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
BSU opens four-game homestand with Alabama-Huntsville

BEMIDJI, Minn. --  The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team (6-6-2; 4-3-1-0 WCHA) is back at Sanford Center this weekend when it hosts long-time rival University of Alabama-Huntsville (1-13-0; 0-7-1-0 WCHA) in a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series. The Beavers look to extend their dominance in a rivalry dating back to the NCAA Division II ranks and where they have lost just four times since 2008 (26-4-2).

The Beavers, who are 1-5-1 in their last seven contests after opening the season 5-1-1, aim to get back on the winning track this weekend as they open a four-game homestand versus WCHA competition before the holidays. BSU exhibited a balanced scoring attack through 14 games. Eighteen of the Beavers’ 24 skaters have recorded at least a point this season, with a quartet leading the way with eight points apiece. Aaron Miller paces the team with five goals, while Charlie Combs comes in as the hot hand having recorded four points (2g-2a) in BSU’s last three games. Brendan Harris, who has missed BSU’s last three games due to injury, continues to lead the team with seven assists already matching his freshman season total through just 11 games played.

Defensively, BSU goaltenders Zach Driscoll and Henry Johnson have shared the goaltending duties. Each have accounted for three of the Beavers’ victories and have been among the top ten goaltenders nationally in goals against average. Johnson enters the weekend with a team-best 1.99 goals against average and .921 save percentage.
Alabama-Huntsville arrives at Sanford Center after being swept by Bowling Green a week ago. The Chargers are 1-13-0 overall and enter the weekend seeking their second win in league play.  Jack Jeffers (4g-1a), Madison Dunn (2g-3a) and Christian Rajic lead UAH in scoring with five points, while Jeffers, a freshman, has a team-best four goals.

Mark Sinclair and Jake Theut have split time in net this season.  Sinclair, a sophomore who traditionally gets the start to open the series, leads the team with a 1-8-0 record, a .919 save percentage and a 2.81 goals against average.

The Bemidji State/Alabama-Huntsville rivalry got its start March 11, 1994. The Beavers hold a 50-31-5 lead in the all-time series including a dominant 37-6-3 mark versus the Chargers since Mar. 3, 2006.  The Beavers enter this weekend’s series unbeaten by UAH in 26 of the last 30 meetings (25-4-1) and went 3-1-0 versus the Chargers in 2017-18, including a sweep (3-1 and 4-1) of a series in Bemidji, Minn., Dec. 29-30.
In addition to being current members of the WCHA and charter members of College Hockey America (1999-2009), these teams have a long-standing, bitter rivalry dating back to the NCAA Division II days. The Chargers and Beavers met in the national tournament on four occasions with BSU defeating UAH for NCAA Division II titles in 1994 and at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse in 1997.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State is coming out of a WCHA weekend during which it collected one point at Michigan Tech. BSU battled back to post a 3-3 draw Friday, but fell in the 3-on-3 overtime period.  Saturday, the Huskies used a four-goal second  to cruise to a 7-2 win. BSU move to 6-6-2 overall and 4-3-1-0 in WCHA play to match Lake Superior State for sixth  in the standings with 13 points.

• Friday’s overtime contest was the first of the Beavers’ 2018-19 season. It also marked the first time BSU has played extra time and came up on the short end since Dec. 9, 2017.

• In the 12 games BSU has played into overtime since the league went to the new format in 2016-17, Friday marked the second time BSU has been beaten in 3-on-3 play. It was 3-1-6 previously. In games that have been pushed to the shootout, BSU is 5-1.

• After just one point in BSU’s first six games of 2018-19, Senior Justin Baudry has five assists in BSU’s last eight games, which includes an assist in two of the last three contests.

• Charlie Combs led BSU with two goals Friday, posting his first multi-goal game of 2018-19 and the second as a Beaver.

• In the four games freshman Owen Sillinger has centered the Beavers’ top line, he has averaged a point per game (1g-3a).  It is the longest scoring run of his young collegiate career.

• Sillinger and Combs are now tied with Aaron Miller and Brendan Harris for the team’s scoring lead with eight points. Combs has five points in BSU’s last five games (2g-3a).

• Sillinger ranks third in WCHA rookie scoring with six points (3g-3a) for a 0.75 points per league game average.

• Jay Dickman leads all current BSU players with 27 career goals and 46 points as a Beaver. He has six points (3g-4a) this season.

• Newcomer Nick Cardelli has also contributed to BSU’s attack. The freshman has three points in BSU’s last six games, netting a goal on each of the last three Saturdays. He has six points (4g-2a) to sit seventh on the team and second among newcomers.

• Adam Brady posted the eighth multi-point game of his BSU career Friday netting a goal and an assist. Since the beginning of the 2017-18, Brady has 33 points (13g-20a) to lead all BSU players.

• The Beavers were 1-for-11 on the power-play versus MTU and have scored a power-play goal in two of its last 14 power-play chances (.143). BSU is 7-for-51 (.137) on the season.

• Brady (3g-1a), Combs (2g-2a) and Baudry (4a) each have four points on the power-play to lead the Beavers on the man advantage. Brady led all BSU players with 14 power-play points (4g-10a) in 2017-18.

• The BSU penalty-kill unit was 4-for-5 Friday and is 42-for-53 (.792) in 2018-19, which includes a 22-for-29 run in WCHA play (.759) to sit eighth in the league.

• Through his first seven collegiate starts, Friday’s goalkeeper sophomore Henry Johnson is 3-3-1 with a 1.70 GAA and a .931 save percentage to rank among the top goaltenders in the country in save percentage (20th) and goals against average (12th).

• BSU has held its opponents to one goal or less in six of its 14 games this season.  They are 4-1-1 in those games. When BSU has allowed more than one goal, it is 2-5-1.

• When BSU scores two or more goals this season, they are 6-3-1. When failing to log two goals, they are without a win (0-3-1).

• BSU is at home in 2018-19 it is 3-2-0 and has averaged 3.20 goals per game and allowed just 2.00.

• Aaron Miller, Owen Sillinger and Justin Baudry have each logged four points in BSU’s five home games this seasons. Miller leads the team with three goals at Sanford Center, while Baudry has four of his six assists this season on home ice.

• Despite playing just two games at home this season, Zach Driscoll has performed his best on home ice. He is 1-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA and a .921 save percentage.

• This weekend BSU returns home to kick off a four-game WCHA home stand with two versus Alabama-Huntsville. BSU owns a 50-31-5 all-time record versus the Chargers, which includes a 28-9-2 mark when hosting the Chargers in Bemidji, Minn.

• BSU may have just three wins versus UAH in the last five meetings, but since Nov. 9, 2007 BSU is 31-5-3.

• Justin Baudry leads all current BSU players in scoring success versus UAH. He has six points (3g-3a) in 10 games. In addition, one of his two career game-winning goals came versus the Chargers.

• Both Adam Brady  (3g-1a) and Aaron Miller (2g-1a) have averaged one point per game versus UAH during as Beavers.

• Zach Driscoll is the only BSU goalie to have previous experience versus the Chargers and it came during the 2016-17 season as a member of St. Cloud State. He posted 10 saves and allowed two goals in 59:55  for a 2.03 GAA and a .833 save percentage.