Beavers travel to Michigan with sights set on climbing WCHA standings
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Beavers travel to Michigan with sights set on climbing WCHA standings

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State men's hockey team makes its first full-fledged road trip of the 2015-16 seaosn this weekend as it travels to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association match up with Northern Michigan University. The series is set to get underway at 6:07 p.m. (CST) Friday with a 6:07 p.m. (CST) opening faceoff again Saturday.

Bemidji State notables:

• The Bemidji State men’s hockey team was swept by Minnesota State last weekend but the score of 3-2 both Friday and Saturday at Sanford Center. BSU dips to 1-3-1 overall and 0-2-0 in WCHA play.

• The sweep at home marked the first time BSU has dropped both games of a regular-season series on its home ice since a Nov. 14-15 meeting with then-No. 5 Michigan Tech a season ago.

• In his 15th season as head coach of the Beavers, Tom Serratore has a career record of 228-227-62 (.503) and is 5-3-2 all-time versus NMU.

• Sophomore Gerry Fitzgerald continued his hot start to 2015-16 with his team-leading fifth and sixth goals of the season during the MSU series. He leads the team with seven points (6g-1a) through the team’s first five games.

• Gerry Fitzgerald has now scored a goal in each of the Beavers’ first five games of the season to establish a career-high goal-scoring streak and match a career-best five-game point streak set last season from Nov. 28-Dec. 12.

• Gerry Fitzgerald’s six goals tied him for second in the country among NCAA Division I top scorers, while he is fourth in goals per game (1.50) and his seven points (6g-1a) has him tied for 19th.

• As a freshman a year ago, Gerry Fitzgerald was fourth on the team in scoring and led all BSU rookies, with 19 points (7g-12a). Five of his career 11 goals have figured into the decision. He has four game-winning goals.

•Charlie O’Connor scored his second goal of the season Friday. Last year, he led BSU in goal scoring with a career-high 11.

• Junior Brendan Harms set up both BSU goals Friday, accounting for his second and third points of the season and the first multi-assist night of his collegiate career. He now has 28 assists in the green and white to lead all current BSU players.

• With five power-play points this season (3g-2a), which includes an assist Friday and goal Saturday, BSU captain Graeme McCormack is currently tied for third in NCAA Division I power-play scoring.

• After posting five blocked shots in the MSU series, including a season-high four Friday, McCormack has a team-best 12 to rank second in the WCHA and rank among the top 20 shot blockers in the nation.

• Sophomore Myles Fitzgerald made his 2015-16 debut Friday, completing the Fitzgerald line with his triplet brothers, Gerry and Leo. Last year in 30 games, Myles totaled nine points (4g-5a).

• Goaltender Michael Bitzer is now 1-3-1 on the season with a 3.19 goals against average and .879 save percentage.

• Friday, Bemidji State surrendered two short-handed goals, which is a rarity. The last time an opponent netted two short-handed goals in a single game was a 5-2 loss versus Minnesota Duluth Feb. 26, 2005. In fact, now in its 17th season at the NCAA Division I level, BSU has allowed two or fewer short-handed goals in 11 complete seasons.

• The BSU power-play unit was 1-of-6 Friday and 2-of-5 Saturday to move to 7-of-21 (.333) on the season. The Beavers rank sixth in the country in power-play efficiency.

• The BSU power-play has scored on better than one of every three opportunities at home this season. In 20 chances, BSU has six power-play goals in four games on its home ice.

• The Bemidji State penalty-kill unit was perfect Friday (6-for-6), and finished the weekend killing 2-of-11 MSU power-play opportunities. On the season, BSU has allowed only four opponent power-play goals in 26 opportunities. At nearly 91 percent (.905), BSU is 20th in the country.

• In BSU’s three losses this season, it has been out scored 6-0 in the third period.  In its win and tie, BSU has out scored its opponents 4-1 in the third.

• BSU embarks on its first road series of 2015-16. Currently 0-1-0 on the road this season, BSU was 4-10-3 away from Sanford Center last year, which includes a 3-8-3 on the road versus WCHA competition and a pair of victories at NMU.

• Bemidji State is 5-3-2 all-time versus Northern Michigan in a series that got its start Oct. 23, 2009.

• BSU is unbeaten in games at Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich. posting a 3-0-1 mark on the Wildcats’ home ice.

• BSU goaltender Michael Bitzer is 3-0-1 versus NMU all-time with a 1.00 goals against average, a .960 save percentage and a shutout in 245 minutes.

• Nate Arentz leads all current BSU players with two goals in six career games versus the Wildcats, while Graeme McCormack and John Parker each have three assists in six games.

• This weekend marks BSU’s first game on Olympic ice this season. In 2014-15, BSU was 2-2-2 on the big sheet, with a 3.0 goals per game average and its power-play operated at a 6-for-27 clip (.222). Charlie O’Connor led all BSU players with three goals and an assist in those six contests.