Beavers open WCHA slate at No. 8 Colorado College
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Beavers open WCHA slate at No. 8 Colorado College

Beavers open league campaign at No. 8 Colorado College
Bemidji State officially begins second season in the WCHA

The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team breaks the seal on it second season as members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this weekend as it hits the road for two-game set at Colorado College.  The nationally-ranked Tigers welcome the Beavers to World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. to open the series Friday at 8:37 p.m. (CST) before wrapping up the series Saturday at 8:07 p.m. (CST).
    Bemidji State is coming off of a 1-1 nonconference weekend at then-No. 1 Miami University (Ohio).  The Beavers knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team. 5-3, Friday before falling in the series finale, 3-2.  
    BSU finished its first season in the WCHA with an 8-15-5 mark in league play before making a run through the first round of the WCHA playoffs and winning its Red Baron WCHA Final Five quarterfinal match up with Minnesota Duluth, before bowing out to Denver in the semis.    
    BSU returns 20 players from its 2010-11 roster, including Jordan George.  The junior forward was the team’s scoring leader a year ago posting 17-19--36 points and the team top goaltender in senior Dan Bakala.  Bakala saw time in 31 games, posting a 14-13-4 record with three shutouts, a .919 save percentage and a 2.47 goals against average.
    Friday’s series-opener also serves as the Tiger’s official season-opener.  CC played two game during the exhibition season defeating McGill, 3-2, Oct. 2 and dropping the U.S. Under-18 team Oct. 8, 5-0.
    The Tigers capped the 2010-11 season 23-19-3 overall and a 13-13-2 mark in league play to finish sixth.
    A healthy Jaden Schwartz returns to the CC line up for 2011-12.  The sophomore led the Tigers in scoring a year ago with 17 goals and a team-high 30 assists, despite missing 15 games due to injury.  CC also returns the services of its goaltender corps.  Joe Howe led the crew posting a 2.94 goals agasint average and .903 save percentage playing in 36 games.  
The Rivalry
The Beavers and Tigers enter the weekend with a very short history. The teams have logged just six previous head-to-head contests with CC holding a 3-2-1 edge in the series and a 3-1-0 advantage in Colorado Springs. With that said, BSU was unbeaten in two WCHA meetings with the Tigers a year ago.  The teams played the Feb. 18 series opener to a 5-5 tie before BSU captured a 2-1 victory Feb. 19. The BSU-CC series got its start with a single nonconference game Dec. 12, 2000.

The Unparalleled Tradition

The 2011-12 season represents the 13th at the NCAA Division I level, and the 56th 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 55 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 one team, the 1958 Denver Pioneers, found its 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 982-487-91 (.658) in 1,562 games.

The Coaches
*Bemidji State’s Tom Serratore (Bemidji State ‘86) is in his 11th season has an overall record of 179-147-38 (.544) as BSU’s head coach. In addition to directing the Beavers to seasons of at least .500 hockey in seven of the last eight seasons, Serratore’s teams 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.
*In 13 seasons at the helm of the Colorado College men’s hockey program, Scott Owens has posted a 281-169-41 (.614) overall record. A 1979 graduate of CC, Owens has led the Tigers to three WCHA regular-season titles and seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament.  His teams have average better than 23 wins per season since he took over the program.

Last for the Beavers
Bemidji State University officially opened its 56th season of intercollegiate hockey Oct. 7-8 with a trip to then-No. 1 Miami.  Behind a three-point effort from forward Aaron McLeod, the Beavers topped the RedHawks, 5-3 in the opener.  Saturday, the Beavers allowed a 5-on-3 goal and a short-handed goal late to allow MU to escape with a series split, 3-2.  

Beavers picked to finish tenth

Western Collegiate Hockey Association coaches picked Bemidji State to finish 10th in the 41th Annual Grand Forks Herald Preseason Coaches’ Poll. A tenth-place finish is just where the Beavers end the 2010-11 season with a 8-15-5 mark in league play.  The Beavers garnered 30 points in the poll to six points behind University of Alaska-Anchorage. Denver University was forecast as the favorite to win the 2011-12 regular-season and the MacNaughton Cup. The Pioneers garnered seven of 12 first-place votes and 115 points to edge University of North Dakota (110).

Oh captain, My captain
Junior forward Ben Kinne (St. Paul, Minn.) will captain the Beavers during the 2011-12 campaign. Senior defenseman Brad Hunt (Ridge Meadows, British Columbia) and junior blueliner Jake Areshenko (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia)  will have the “A” on their jerseys designating them as alternate captains.

Playing close to home

Seven of the 28 players on the Beavers’ 2011-12 roster hail form the state of Minnesota.  Drew Fisher calls International Falls his hometown, Shea Walters is from Hibbing, Sam Rendle is from Grand Rapids and Ben Kinne, from St. Paul, Danny Mattson, from Minneapolis, Matt Hartmann, who calls Hugo home, and Sam Windle, from Maple Grove, are from the Twin Cities-metro area.  

Conference openers
In the 42 years during which the BSU hockey program has been affiliated with a conference, the Beavers have opened their league schedule season with a victory on 26 occasions.  The Beavers are 26-15-1 (.646) in league season-openers and are 50-29-5 ((.638) in conference schedule-opening series.  The Beavers have yet to win a WCHA-season-opening game (0-1-0) after dropping last year’s opener to North Dakota, 5-2.

Familiar look
Tom Serratore returns 20 letter winners from a year ago including Jordan George and Brad Hunt. George posted a career-high 17-19=36 points in 2010-11 to lead the team, while Hunt registered 3-18=21 to finish fourth on the team. BSU returns 59 percent of scoring for a year ago, which includes 62 percent of its assist scoring (90-of-145), 49 percent of its goal scoring (43-of-89).

Road warriors
The Beavers will have to adapt to playing on the road quickly in 2011-12 as eight of their first 10 game of the season will take place away from home.  BSU was 7-9-2 on the road a year ago, including a 7-4-3 stretch on the road after Jan. 7, 2011.  The Beavers are already 1-1-0 this season.

Three is the magic number

In 2010-11, the three-goal mark was a threshold for Bemidji State.  The Beavers were 0-15-2 when allowing more than two goals and were 13-3-2 when scoring at least three.  BSU won just one game last season when scoring fewer than three times--a Feb. 12 1-0 victory at Michigan Tech and garnered two points when allowing more than two goals--a 5-5 tie with Colorado College Feb. 18 and a 3-3 deadlock with Minnesota March 4. In 2011-12 BSU is 1-0-0 when scoring in excess of three goals, and is 0-1-0 when scoring fewer than three.

Wins versus three

Last weekend, BSU won the opening game of the series at Miami, 5-3.  That victory marked the first time in 52 games that the Beavers had allowed three goals and gained a victory.  The last time BSU was victorious when its opponent scored three-or-more goals was a 5-4, overtime victory at Minnesota Duluth Jan. 23, 2010.

BSU 18th in all-time wins
Bemidji State became the 18th program among the 58 current members of NCAA Division I to post its 900th all-time victory when it defeated Ala.-Huntsville, 3-2, on Dec. 15, 2006. BSU’s 980 victories currently rank 18th all-time among current members of Division I. Cornell is next ahead of BSU, in 17th all-time with 1,002 victories. Seventeen Division I programs have posted 1,000 wins, including 2010-11 BSU foe Minnesota which leads Division I with 1,631 all-time victories, and is the only program in the nation with 1,600 or more all-time wins, while Michigan is second with 1,528 victories.

Quick to strike
Scoring first in 20 of 38 contests of 2010-11 the Beavers lit the lamp during the first minute of play three times a year ago. Even more, the Beavers found the back of the net on their first shot on goal in six games last season. BSU was 10-8-2 when scoring first.  BSU has yet to score first in 2011-12.

Climbing BSU’s Division I assists list
Brad Hunt has accumulated 70 assists during his first 114 games, or three complete seasons as a Beaver to settle into second on the BSU Division I assists list and seventh on BSU’s all-time assist-scoring by defensemen list.  His three assists versus  Miami Oct. 7-8 helped him to climb past BSU greats Andrew Murray (2001-2005) and Luke Erickson (2003-07) on BSU’s Division I-era assists list to second behind Matt Read (2007-11) (78).  

BSU versus the nationally-ranked
In 2010-11 the Beavers played 17 games against teams holding down one of the nation’s top 15 rankings, which included three of the top four teams according to USAToday and USA Hockey Magazine. BSU was 7-8-2 versus the nation’s top 15 last season.  After going 0-5-1 versus nationally-ranked competition during the first two months of 2010-11, the Beavers are 8-4-1 versus the top 15 since Dec. 3.  BSU is 1-1-0 versus the nationally-ranked in 2011-12
    Since the Beavers made the jump to the NCAA Division I ranks for the 1999-2000 campaign, BSU is 15-46-4 (.262) versus teams in the top-15. With that said, BSU is now 13-11-2 (.583) versus the top 15 since the beginning of the 2008-09 campaign.

Offensive Defenseman
Junior defenseman Brad Hunt has been a big factor for BSU on both ends of the ice since becoming a Beaver in 2008-09.  In addition to his duties in BSU’s defensive zone, he has been a true offensive threat--especially on the power play. As a freshman, he was third on the team scoring 9-23=32 points with a team-leading 7-16=23 coming on the man advantage.  As a sophomore he had seven goals and a team-leading 26 assists to pace all BSU defenders, while ranking sixth among the nation’s top blueliners (0.89 ppg). His 17 points (5-12=17) on the power play again paced the team.  Last season, he had two goals and 18 helpers. Twelve points (2-10=12) have come on the man advantage to place him fourth on the team in power-play scoring.  This season he enters the second week of play tied for the team lead in points (0-3=3) and leading the team with three assists and has one power-play point (0-1=1).

175 in the books
In his 11th season as a collegiate head coach, BSU’s bench boss Tom Serratore recently achieved another milestone--his 175th victory as a head coach.  He is 179-147-38 (.546) since inheriting the Beaver hockey program from legendary R.H. “Bob” Peters prior to the 2001-02 season.  Serratore is second at the school in victories by a head coach behind Peters, who posted 702 wins at BSU from 1966-2001.

Put it in the books after two

Since making the jump to NCAA Division I in 1999-2000, the Beavers are 154-10-12 when leading after two periods of play, which includes an 11-1-0 mark in 2010-11.  Heading into its March 5, 2011 game, BSU had not lost a contest when taking a lead into the third period since Jan. 18, 2008 at Colorado College--a streak spanning 48 games (46-0-2).  But the Gophers mounted a comeback to tie the game in regulation and win 20 seconds into overtime ending the nation’s longest current streak of wins without blowing a lead after two periods.

The Hunt for power-play goals

In his fourth season, defenseman Brad Hunt has piled up 14 power-play goals, including seven in 2008-09, which matched a BSU Division I-era record for power-play goals by a defender.  Hunt is currently tied Clay Simmons (1999-02) for BSU’s Division I-era mark for power-play goals by a defenseman.

Beaver scoring by class

Buoyed by career scoring numbers from Matt Read and Ian Lowe, the Beavers’ 2010-11 seniors class led the points race with 42 goals and 56 helpers.  The junior (15-46=61) class ranked second with a five-point cushion over the sophomores (22-34=56), while the freshman class, which has 19 points (10-9=19) to its credit, rounds out the group. This seasons juniors currently lead BSU’s scoring race with 5-3=8 points after the first weekend.  Next is the seniors with 1-4=5 points, followed by the sophomores (1-1=2).  The BSU freshman class has yet to log a point this season.

Don’t call it a shutout
Held scoreless in a Dec. 11 game at Wisconsin, BSU was been shutout twice in 2010-11.  The last time the Beavers were blanked three times in a season was 2000-01.

Penalty killers...
This season, BSU has killed off 8-of-11 (.727) opponent power-play opportunities.  In 2010-11, BSU’s penalty-kill unit held opponents scoreless on 133-of-168 opponent man advantage opportunities (.792) and was 106-for-134 (.791) in WCHA play.

Freaky Friday
Although Bemidji State was victorious in the first game of series three times after the start of the new year,  in 2010-11 BSU was a meager 4-10-4 in the first game of the weekend, while the team has experience much greater success, a 10-7-1 record, in the final game of a series.  The Beavers was been out scored 55-43 in game one this season, which included a 48-36 deficit in 14 Friday contests versus WCHA competition.

Man advantage

BSU has struggled to get its power-play unit clicking early.  In 2011-12, BSU is just 1-of-6 (.167). Bemidji State finished the 2010-11 season 26-for-127 on the power play (.205), while it was 21-of-99 on the man advantage in WCHA play.

Power shortage
BSU completed 2010-11 12th in the league in penalties taken with only 99 power-play opportunities in WCHA play--that is 51 fewer opportunities than Colorado College and North Dakota which led the league in chances with 150 apiece.

Shoot the Puck

BSU was out shot 25 times last season to the tune of 1,146-951 overall and 939-712 in league play. BSU was 8-14-3 in those 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 Flyer’s 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 seasons 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 (64) of the 85 games that have needed extra time to decide the outcome.
    Since March 11, 2006, BSU is 11-6-17 in games extended to sudden death, including a 3-4-5 record in extra time in 2010-11.

Directions to the scoring column
With nine new faces in the BSU line up, the opening of the WCHA season brings with it many collegiate firsts--games, goals, assists.  Sophomore Garrett Ladd and junior Matt Hartmann (0-0=0) remain the only BSU veterans without a point to their name.

Assistance from the crease
January 7, BSU’s blueliners produced a goal and three assists including a helper from goaltender Dan Bakala.  The assist was the third of his career and first to come from between the pipes for the Beavers since Bakala contributed to a goal Nov. 12.  With three in his career, he is just two behind Jim Scanlan who holds BSU’s all-time record with five during his career.

One-goal wins...
BSU’s victory at MTU Feb. 12 stands as just the sixth 1-0 in the history of the program and is the first since scoring the only goal of the game Dec. 1, 2006 to defeat Wayne State University.  Since making the jump to NCAA Division I for the 1999-2000 campaign, BSU is 2-54-7 when scoring only one goal.

It's a fine line...

Last season, 19 of BSU’s 38 games were decided by one goal or less, which included seven one-goal losses by the Beavers.  Bemidji State was 7-7-5 in games decided by a goal or less. BSU is 0-1-0 in one-goal games this season.

I am Iron Man
Brad Hunt is BSU’s current Ironman.  Since stepping on campus in the fall of 2008, he has dressed and played in each of the Beavers’ 114 games consecutively. Matt Read set a new mark for game played during BSU’s Division I era a year ago, playing in 147 games for BSU, which included 143 consecutively.

Bak-stopping Bemidji State
Dan Bakala turned away 210 of 227 shots in BSU’s final six outings of 2010-11, which included three consecutive 40-plus save efforts and a career-high 46 versus Nebraska Omaha Mar. 11.  He finished the seasons ranked third in the WCHA in total saves trailing the league-leader, John Falkner (931) of UNO, by 56 saves despite playing in eight fewer games

Hunting for 100
Alternate Captain Brad Hunt is quickly approaching the 100-point plateau. During his three seasons in the green and white, he has accumulated 19-70--89 points and has already climbed to 10th on BSU’s all-time defensemen scoring list. With one point this weekend, he will match Greg Ambrose (1995-99) for ninth with 90 career points. In the history of the BSU hockey program, only five blueliners have topped the 100-point mark with the last being Jude Boulianne Jr. in 1994-95.

Back in the saddle
BSU captain Ben Kinne is back in action this season after missing the entire 2010-11 season after suffering a stroke in the offseason.  He has been practicing, is in good health and has been cleared to play.  In his first two seasons at BSU he piled up 18-21=39 points and played a significant role on BSU’s power-play and penalty-kill units.

Players May Come...
Bemidji State welcomes a group of nine new players into the fold - eight freshmen and one transfer with six playing forward, two looking for a home on the blue line along with a goalie.
    Freshmen forwards Sean Rudy, Cody Strang, Danny Mattson, Tyler Tosunian and Mitch Cain are looking to earn their way into the BSU lineup, while the sixth forward in the mix is sophomore transfer David Boehm.  He is in his second season with the Beavers after sitting out and practicing with the team in 2010-11 after transferring from UMass.
    Sam Windle and Matt Prapavessis are the team’s new defensemen. While they possess very different games, both bring great length to the Beavers’ line up as both stand over 6-1, which Windle measuring in at 6-4.  Prapavessis is an offensive defender and will see time on the Beavers’ power-play, while Windle is a hard-nosed defender.
    The final addition is Andrew Walsh.  The goaltender comes into the 2011-12 campaign from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, where he also played junior hockey in the NAHL.

...and Players May Go
The conclusion of the 2010-11 campaign, meant the end of the collegiate careers of BSU’s six seniors.  The 2011 seniors make up a class that has been a part of three College Hockey America regular-season championships, a CHA Tournament title, BSU’s first at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament a trip to the 2009 Frozen four and the transition into a new building-Sanford Center--and the WCHA.  BSU’s 2011 senior class includes: Ryan Adams, Emil Billberg, Ryan Cramer, Dan MacIntyre, Matt Read and Ian Lowe.
    Read, now with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, left his mark on the program more than any of his departing teammates.. Read left BSU as its Division I-era leading scorer (143) and tops the list in goals scoring (65) assist scoring (78) games played (148) and ranks 18th on BSU’s all-time scoring list.    

Bakala in the crease

BSU goaltender Dan Bakala enters his senior season atop the BSU all-time save percentage list.  In 3,700 minutes between the pipes for the Beavers, he made 1,661 saves at a clip of .918.  In addition, his total of six shutouts is tied for fourth all-time at BSU and he is third in goals-against average at 2.40.  He finished 2010-11 making an appearance in 31 of the Beavers’ 38 games.  He was 14-13-4 with a 2.47 GAA and a .919 save percentage.

MacQueen vs. the Tigers
Senior forward Jamie MacQueen is certainly excited to face CC this weekend.  In two career games versus the Tigers, He has two goals with one of the standing as a game-winner.  

BSU Connection
CC goaltender Joe Howe has a close tie to Bemidji State.  His grandfather was a defenseman for the Beavers from 1948-50.  He posted 3-6=9 points in 13 games.