Beavers host Michigan Tech to begin a four-game homestand
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Beavers host Michigan Tech to begin a four-game homestand

The match up
The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team returns to Sanford Center this weekend for its first appearance at home since Oct. 20 to host Michigan Tech (2-6-0; 1-5-0 WCHA) for a must-win Western Collegiate Hockey Association series. The Beavers are coming out of a weekend at Colorado College during which they were swept, 3-2 and 6-3, while the Huskies are looking to correct a six-game losing skid.
    The Beavers have been led this season by goaltender Andrew Walsh. The sophomore has played nearly every second of BSU’s first six games and has posted a 2-3-1 record, a 2.32 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. Walsh has also backstopped a BSU penalty-kill unit that has allowed just three goals on 21 opponent power-play opportunities (.857). Seniors Ben Kinne and Brance Orban enter the weekend with five points (1g-4a). Kinne has one of the Beavers’ three power-play goals (3-24 (.125)), while Orban’s lone lamplighter stood as the game-winner in BSU’s last home game, Oct. 20.
    Michigan Tech is led by sophomore forward Blake Pietila (5g-2a). The New Jersey Devils’ draft pick also paces a power-play unit that has converted 7-of-38 (.184) man advantage opportunities with two power-play markers. Although all three MTU goaltenders have seen time in the net this season, freshman Pheonix Copley has shouldered the bulk of the net duties playing in six games. He has recorded a 1-5-0 record, .854 save percentage and 4.30 goals against average.

The rivalry
It seems ironic for teams toting histories dating back to 1919 and 1947, respectively, and have logged a total of 4,033 games between them to have met just eight times prior to this weekend series, but the first head-to-head match up between the Huskies and Beavers didn’t take place until Jan. 12, 2007. BSU enters the weekend with a 5-2-1 edge in the series and is unbeaten the last six times the teams have met (5-0-1). A year ago, BSU hosted a 4-0-0 Huskies team that eventually went 16-19-4 overall en route to a Red Baron Final Five appearance, Oct. 20-21 and earned back-to-back victories, 6-5 and 3-1.  

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 1,000-507-95 (.655) in 1,602 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 197-167-42 (.537). 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.
*In his second season at the helm of the Michigan Tech hockey program, Mel Pearson is no stranger to the collegiate hockey ranks or to MTU fans. The 1981 graduate of MTU, spent six years as an assistant coach (1982-88) there following his playing career and before moving down state to serve as an assistant on Red Berenson’s staff at the University of Michigan. During his 23 years at Michigan (1988-2011), the Terry Flanagan Award winner, which honors an assistant coach’s career, served at the Wolverines’ top recruiter and he helped guide the team to a 667-243-71 record, 11 Frozen Four appearances and two national championships.

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 Michigan Tech
The Beavers swept Michigan Tech at Sanford Center when Oct. 21-22 in the last meeting betwen BSU and MTU.  After a heated 6-5 victory in the series opener, that saw Brance Orban net a pair of goals, BSU got the game-winning goal and an assist from Ben Kinne in game two to complete the sweep. Andrew Walsh posted a pair of wins in net during the series, which included the first of his collegiate career.

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
Five 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 and Matt Hartmann calls Hugo home.  

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, which includes 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.  When its opponent scores three or more goals, BSU is 4-16-2 last winter. This season, BSU is already 2-1-1 when scoring three or more goals and 0-1-0 when netting less than three goals in a game. BSU is 0-2-1 this season when its opponents have met the three-goal threshhold.
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 1,000 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.

Friday is a perfect time for OT
All four of BSU’s overtime contests in 2011-12 came in the first game of a series and that trend has continued to BSU’s first OT game of 2012-13.  The Beavers were unbeaten in overtime last season at 1-0-3 and have not lost an overtime game since falling to Minnesota, 3-2, versus Minnesota Mar. 5, 2011--a streak spanning six games (2-0-4).

Don’t call it a shutout
BSU was shut out by Lake Superior State in its season opener, 2-0.  The shutout marked an end to a string of seven games with at least one goal scored.

Man advantage
Bemidji State finished the 2011-12 season going 25-for-118 (.212) on the man advantage  with a 20-for-91 (.220) success rate in WCHA play to rank fourth. BSU enters this weekend’s series having scored a power-play marker in each of its last three games.  BSU has three goals in 24 chances on the man advantage (.125) in 2012-13.  In WCHA play, BSU has converted 3-of-17 power-play opportunities (.176) to sit eighth in WCHA play.

It’s a fine line...
The Beavers were involved in 17 games that were decided by one goal or fewer last season.  BSU was 8-6-3 in those games. BSU is 1-1 in one-goal games 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. BSU is 18-for-21 (.857) on the penalty-kill this season and despite allowing a pair of power-play goals last weekend, has snuffed out 13-of-15 (.867) opponent opportunities in league play, to sit fourth in teh WCHA.

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 teams goal scoring, this year’s senior class is off to an early lead in the scoring race. The seniors have accounted for 22 points (7g-15a) in the Beavers’ first six games.  The freshman class ranks second with five goals and two assists for seven points and the sophomore class has two goals and four assist for six points.  The junior class rounds out the race in fourth with five points (2g-3a).
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 Dec. 31, 2011 versus Bowling Green, BSU didn’t get a single power-play opportunity (0-for-0). BSU also failed to get a man advantage opportunity Feb. 17, 2012 at Minnesota Since Bemidji State made the jump to the NCAA Division I level for the 1999-2000 season, that has only happened four times in 463 games and two came during the Beavers’ 2011-12 campaign.

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 season 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 nearly 77 percent (69) of the 90 games that have needed extra time to decide the outcome.
    Since March 11, 2006, BSU is 12-6-22 in games extended to sudden death, including an 0-0-1 mark in 2012-13.

Shoot the puck
This season BSU has been outshot in four of six games and is trailing its opponents 187-155 in the shot department for an average of -5.3 shots on goal per game.  BSU is 1-2-1 when being out shot in 2012-13 and 1-1-0 when out shooting its opponent.

Big shots
BSU has allowed 40 shots on goal two times already this season. Not surprisingly, BSU is without a win (0-1-1) in those games.

Directions to the scoring column
With six new skaters in the BSU line up, the 2012-13 season brings with it many collegiate firsts--games, goals, assists.  Freshman Phil Brewer and Cory Ward opened their collegiate careers Oct. 19-20 and each scored a goal in their second game in the green and white. Markus Gerbrandt added his first collegiate goal Oct. 27 in a win over Nebraska-Omaha. James Hansen, Brad Robbins, and Graeme McCormack open this weekend in search of their first collegiate points, 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
March 3 BSU’s defense produced a goal and two assists including a helper from goaltender Dan Bakala.  The assist was the fourth of his career and first to come from between the pipes for the Beavers since Bakala contributed to a goal Jan. 7, 2011.  With four in his career, he is just one behind Jim Scanlan (1978-82) who holds BSU’s all-time record.

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 119 games. He sat out of the Jan. 16, 2010 contest at Niagara, but has played in the last 96 games consecutively.

Blueline’s offensive push
Beaver defensemen finished the season scoring in 31 of BSU’s 38 games in 2011-12 and accounted 16 goals and 46 assists (16-46=62) accounting for 24 percent of BSU’s total scoring with an average of 1.63 points per game in 2011-12. In 2012-13, BSU is getting production from Sam Windle, Matt Prapavessis and Brady Wacker. All three defenders have two points, while the blueline is averaging 1.00 ppg.

Hints at the outcome
The Beavers are 19-5-3 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 1-0-0 when he scores.  Alternate captain Jake Areshenko scores less frequently, but has the same effect on the game’s outcome.  BSU is 9-3-3 when he logs a point and 3-1-0 when he scores a goal.

50th goal in the books...
Senior forward Jordan George became the only current NCAA Division I men’s hockey player to reach the 50-goal plateau Nov. 9 at Colorado College. Only 25 players in the history of the BSU men’s hockey program and just four in BSU’s Division I era have reached the 50-goal plateau.  

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 105 points (50g-55a) in 118 games.

At home in the net
Andrew Walsh has been nothing short of spectacular at home during his career. In nine games played, he owns a 7-2-0 record and has stopped 240-of-250 shots for a .960 save percentage and a goals against average of 1.14 In addition, all three of his collegiate shutouts have come at Sanford Center.
Climbing the BSU slaves list
Piling up 171 saves in six games this season, Andrew Walsh has climbed into the ninth spot on BSU’s Division I-era saves list.  He now has 441 stops and needs 24 this weekend to bypass Orlando Alamano (2004-09), who compiled 465 during his BSU career, to clime the No. 8 spot.

Success versus the Tigers
No current BSU player has had more success versus Michigan Tech than senior forward Jordan George.  In four games versus MTU he has five points (3g-2a), which includes a game-winning goal.  In addition, in just two prior meetings sophomore defender Matt Prapavessis has recorded three assists, which accounts for 20 percent of his career assist scoring. Both players carry a +2 plus/minus rating versus MTU.

Tiger tamer in the crease
Andrew Walsh made his collegiate debut a year ago versus Michigan Tech.  In just under 48 minutes of relief for Dan Bakala, he stopped 17-of-18 shots and picked up the first win of his career, 6-5, Oct. 21.  He followed that with a 31-save performance to propel the Beavers to the series sweep, 3-1, the following night. He enters the series with a 1.68 GAA and a .941 save percentage versus MTU.

Early contributor
Freshman Markus Gerbrandt netted his second goal of the seasons in last weekend’s 6-3 loss to Colorado College.  With both goals coming in league play, Gerbrandt is currently tied for 11th in WCHA rookie scoring.

Happy to help
Senior Brance Orban is currently tied for 10th in the WCHA with four assists in league play.  He and fellow senior Ben Kinne lead the Beavers with four helpers apiece.

There is no place like home
The Beavers are 1-1-0 at home this season, but welcome a Michigan Tech team they are perfect against on home ice, winning all four previous meetings in Bemidji, Minn. (4-0-0). BSU has out scored MTU 2-to-1 (14-7) on its home ice.

Instant offense
Last weekend sophomore Danny Mattson returned from injury to make his 2012-13 debut.  On his first shot back, he scored a power-play goal and finished the weekend with two points (1g-1a). Stretching back to last season, he has a goal and three assists in his last five appearances.

Block party
This season BSU has made it difficult on opposing attackers.  As a team, BSU has blocked 88 shots, while defender Sam Windle leads the team with 15.