Beavers tangle with Michigan Tech in return to league play
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Beavers tangle with Michigan Tech in return to league play

The Match up
The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team (5-11-4; 4-7-3 WCHA) jumps back into Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) competition for the first time since a Dec. 14-15 series versus University of Denver this weekend when it travels to Michigan’s upper peninsula to battle the Huskies of Michigan Tech. The series is slated for a 6:07 (CT) opening faceoff Friday and Saturday.

Bemidji State opens the two-game set after a bye week. Despite wrapping the first half of the conference season  2-1-1 in its last four WCHA games, the Beavers are winless in nonconference play since. After falling to UMass (4-3) and New Hampshire (3-2 OT)) at the Ledyard Bank Classic, BSU dropped a 6-0 decision to Western Michigan before earning a 2-2 tie with the then-No. 7 Broncos.  Cory Ward and Aaron McLeod each recorded goals in the series, while Danny Mattson helped on both goals to lead all BSU players with two points (0g-2a) in the series. Brance Orban currently leads the team in scoring with 15 points (5g-10a), while McLeod’s eighth goal of the season places him atop the BSU goal scoring list and Mattson’s 11 helpers pace the team.  Andrew Walsh, who has seen time in net in each of the Beavers’ last  seven games, is 4-7-3 on the season with 223 saves, a .914 save percentage and a 2.57 goals allowed average.  

Michigan Tech welcomes BSU to MacInnis Arena in search of its first WCHA victory since sweeping the Beavers Nov. 16-17, going 0-5-3 in league play since. Last weekend the Huskies traveled to rival Minnesota Duluth and were defeated 1-0 and 5-4. Alex Petan leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points. Blake Pietila is the team’s top goal-scoring threat with 10 already this season, while newcomer Jujhar Khaira paces the team with 12 assists.

The rivalry
It seems ironic for teams toting histories dating back to 1919 and 1947, respectively, and have logged a total of 4,056 games between them to have met just 10 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 slight 5-4-1 edge in the series and is looking to rebound from talking its first two losses to MTU in its last its last eight games (5-2-1). When the Beavers and Huskies last met, Nov. 16-17, BSU saw a 4-3 lead evaporate in the third period of the series opener--a game MTU would come back to win on an Alex Petan game-winner 2:12 into overtime. In the finale, BSU battled back to the tie the game 1-1 late in the third period only to see Blake Pietila score with 30 seconds left in the extra session to complete the sweep.

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 1,004-517-99 (.655) in 1,620 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 200-171-44 (.534). 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
Bemidji State hosted Michigan Tech at Sanford Center Nov. 16-17. The Huskies snapped the Beavers’ six-game unbeaten streak in the series (5-0-1) with a pair of overtime victories. Jordan George led all BSU players with two goals, while senior defender Jake Areshenko collected two assists in addition to a team-best six blocked shots.

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
Six 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, Matt Hartmann calls Hugo home and newcomer Reid Mimmack is from Brainerd.  

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, 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.  This season, BSU is 4-3-1 when scoring three or more goals, 1-8-3 when netting less than three goals and is 1-9-1 when its opponents have met the three-goal threshold.
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 1,003 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 into 2012-13.  Four of BSU’s seven overtime games this season have come on Friday as well. BSU is 0-3-4 in OT this season.

Don’t call it a shutout
BSU has been shut out three times in 20 games this season.  Lake Superior State held the Beavers scoreless, 2-0, in the season opener, Minnesota State posted a shutout, 3-0, Nov. 30 and Western Michigan shocked BSU with a 6-0 victory Jan. 4.  Prior to this season, the last time BSU was shut out three times during a single season was the 2001-02 campaign and the Beavers have never been held scoreless four times in a single season in the 56-year history of the program.

Letting OT slip away
This season the Beavers have played seven overtime contests.  The team has yet to win an extra-session game posting a 0-3-4 record in those contests.  BSU has played seven or more overtime games just seven times during its 56-year existence and has never lost four OT contests the same season until this year.

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  conference series having scored a power-play marker in four of its last five games and is 5-for-19 in those games (.263).  The BSU power-pay unit is 12-for-61 (.197), with 10 power-play goals coming in 14 WCHA games. The Beavers are 10-for-42 (.238) in WCHA play to rank second in the league.

It’s a fine line...
The Beavers have been involved in 13 games this season that have been decided by a goal or less. BSU is 3-7-0 in one-goal games and has three draws 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. The Beavers’ penalty-kill unit has struggled a bit this season, going 67-for-85 (.788), while it has stymied 50-of-62 opponent power-play chances in WCHA play to sit eighth in the league (.806).

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 team’s goal scoring, this year’s senior class is off to an commanding lead in the scoring race. The seniors have accounted for 43 points (25g-39a) in the Beavers’ first 20 games.  The sophomore class is second with 25 points (4g-21a) and the junior class is third with 20 points (9g-11a), while the freshmen round out the race in fourth with 17 points (10g-7a).
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 Nov. 23 the Beavers failed to record a single power-play opportunity (0-for-0). Since BSU made the jump to the NCAA Division I level in 1999-2000, that has only happened five times in 480 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 Flyers’ 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
In the 11 years since the Beavers moved to Division I, they have escaped overtime with at least a tie in 75 percent (71) of the 96 games that have needed extra time to decide the outcome.
Since March 11, 2006, BSU is 12-9-25 in games extended to sudden death, including an 0-3-4 mark in 2012-13.

Shoot the puck
This season BSU has been out shot in 15 of 20 games and is trailing its opponents 636-476 in the shot department for an average of -8.0 shots on goal per game.  BSU is 3-8-3 when being out shot in 2012-13, 2-2-0 when out shooting its opponent and 0-1-1 when the shots are even.

Big shots
BSU has allowed 40 shots on goal four times already this season. Not surprisingly, BSU is without a win (0-3-1) in those games.

Directions to the scoring column
With six new skaters in the BSU line up to begin the 2012-13 season, only James Hansen opens this weekend in search of his first collegiate point, 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
Jan. 5, BSU’s goaltender Andrew Walsh collected the first assist of his career.  The helper was the first for the Beavers since Dan Bakala contributed his fourth assist March 3, 2012.

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 132 games. He sat out of the Jan. 16, 2010 contest at Niagara, but has played in the last 110 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 offensive production from its blue line to the tune of 1.10 (2g-19a) points per game. Matt Prapavessis leads all BSU defensemen with seven points (0g-7a).

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 1-1-0 when he scores.  This season, BSU is unbeaten when senior David Boehm scores a goal (2-0-0).

Eyeing BSU’s goal-scoring record
Senior forward Jordan George became the first current NCAA Division I men’s hockey player to reach the 50-goal plateau Nov. 9. Only 25 players in the history of BSU men’s hockey and just four in BSU’s Division I era have reached the 50-goal plateau. Now with 56 goals to his credit, George sits alone in second place on the BSU Division I goal scoring list. Matt Read (2007-11) set the BSU Division I record for goals scored at 65.

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 114 points (56g-58a) in 130 games. He needs just one point to match Andrew Murray (2001-05) for third place on BSU’s Division I-era scoring list.
Success versus the Huskies
No current Beaver has had more success versus MTU than senior Jordan George.  In six career games versus the Huskies, he collected five goals and two assists. Fellow senior Ben Kinne has also experienced success versus MTU logging three goals and two assists in six appearances versus Michigan Tech. Both players have one game-winning goal in the series versus MTU.

Power-play fuel
Forwards Aaron McLeod and Danny Mattson have played significant roles in the success of the BSU power-play this season.  Mattson is pacing the team eight (2g-6a) and is fourth in the WCHA with seven special teams points (2g-5a), while McLeod not only leads BSU in power-play goal scoring this year with a career-high five, his three PP goals in WCHA play place him in a tie for third place among league leaders.

Block party
This season BSU has made it difficult on opposing attackers.  As a team, BSU has blocked 324 shots. Defender Sam Windle and Matt Prapavessis lead the team with 33 blocks apiece.

Slow series starters
BSU is winless (0-6-3 (.166) on Fridays in 2012-13, while it is 5-3-1 (.555) in Saturday contests and 0-1-0 (.000) on Sundays and 0-1-0 (.000) on Mondays.  

BSU versus the nationally-ranked
BSU has faced just three nationally ranked team through 20 games this season. BSU is 1-2-2 in 2012-13 versus the nations’ top 15 teams according to the USAToday poll.

New face for the second half
BSU added goaltender Reid Mimmack for the second half of the 2012-13 season and beyond. Mimmack is a native of Brainerd, Minn. and is a three-year veteran of the NAHL, most recently with Jamestown, where he posted a 17-5-1 record this season with a .917 save percentage and a 2.34 goals against average. He left the team tied for second in the league with 17 victories, tied for third with three shutouts and was among the top 10 NAHL goaltenders in goals against average and goals allowed (52). Mimmack replaces Fabian Sivnert, who left the team at the semester break.

Road woes
Bemidji State is 3-3-2 on its home ice this season, while it is 2-7-1 away from Sanford Center. BSU is 1-5-0 on the road in WCHA play, but is coming off its first league road win of the season at Minnesota Duluth Dec. 8.

Happy New Year!
January has typically been a very good month for BSU.  Since 1999-2000, the Beavers are 44-27-8 (.608) in the first month of the new year.

Road warrior
BSU’s leading scorer Brance Orban with 15 points (5g-10a) has recorded the bulk of his scoring on the road this season. Of his 15 points, nine (2g-7a) have come in 10 games on the road.