Beavers open 2016 with Alaskan road trip
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Beavers open 2016 with Alaskan road trip

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State men's hockey program will ring in the new year with a four-game, 10-day road trip to play its Alaska counterparts. The Beavers opener the trip at University of Alaska Saturday and Sunday.

The Beavers open the series tied with the Nanooks for eighth in the WCHA Standings, owning a 5-9-3 overall record and 4-8-2 mark in league play.

BSU is 7-3-1 versus Alaska all-time, which includes a 1-1-0 mark versus the Nanooks at Carlson Center.

Earlier this season, the Beavers and Nanooks split a WCHA series at Sanford Center. After dropping a 4-3 decision to open the two-game set, BSU used two-point performances from Markus Gerbrandt (1g-1a) and Cory Ward (2a) to generate a 6-3 victory in the finale.

Bemidji State hopes to use this trip as a spring board into the final 16 games of the regular season and, ultimately, the WCHA playoffs. A year ago, BSU went 11-5-2 during the second half of the regular season, which included a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) from Feb. 13-March 7, and secured its first WCHA home playoff series.


Bemidji State notables:

• Bemidji State wrapped up the first half its season dropping 4-1 and 2-0 contests to Bowling Green, Dec. 11-12, at Sanford Center, suffering its second sweep of 2015-16.  

• Bemidji State dips to 5-9-3 overall and 4-8-2 in WCHA play.

• In his 15th season as head coach of the Beavers, Tom Serratore has a career record of 232-234-64 (.499) and is 4-3-1 versus UA as BSU’s head coach.

• Cory Ward netted BSU’s lone goal Dec. 11. It stood as the 70th point of the senior’s 129-game BSU career (39g-31a).

• Ward’s 39 career goals is tops among his current teammates and ranks ninth in BSU’s Division I Era (since 1999-2000).

• With 34 career assists, no current Beavers has more helpers than Harms.

• Junior Charlie O’Connor added an assist in the Dec. 11 game. He now has five points (1g-4a) in BSU’s last five contests.

• With O’Connor’s next point, he will reach 30 for his career. He currently has 17 goals and 12 assists in 85 games.

• Harms (3g-9a) and Gerry Fitzgerald (8g-4a) lead BSU in scoring with 12 points apiece despite Fitzgerald missing BSU’s last four games due to injury.

• Senior defender Graeme McCormack leads all BSU blueliners and is tied for third on the team with 11 points (6g-5a). He has a team-best nine points (4g-5a) on the power play. He is tied for seventh on the national power-play scoring list.

• McCormack has a team-high 39 blocked shots to lead the WCHA and rank 10th in the country.

• The Beavers have averaged 3.8 goals in their five wins and 1.56 goals per game in their eight losses.

• The Beavers are 2-6-2 at home this season. BSU averages 2.40 goals, while surrendering 2.90 goals per game with a .271 (13-of-48) power-play mark and .868 (33-of-38) penalty-kill mark.

• Conversely, the Beavers are 3-3-1 on the road in 2015-16. The Beavers average 2.00 goals, while surrendering 1.71 goals per game. BSU has posted a .045 (1-of-22) mark on the man advantage and a .935 (29-of-31) penalty-kill clip.

• The BSU power-play unit was 0-for-7 versus Bowling Green to move to 14-of-70 (.200) on the season, while posting a  10-of-59 (.169) effort in league play to rank third in the WCHA.

• BSU was held without a power-play goal Dec. 12, marking seven straight games without a goal on the man advantage--extending the Beavers’ longest drought of the season (0-for-22).

• The Beavers last power-play goal came Nov. 20 off the stick of Gerry Fitzgerald at the 14:20 mark of the second period. BSU has now gone 0 for its last 20 power-play chances.

• BSU successfully killed all five of BGSU’s power-play opportunities, Dec. 11-12. On the season, BSU has surrendered seven power-play goals in 69 opponent opportunities. At nearly 90 percent (.899), BSU is fourth in the country.

• Killing 49-of-54 opponent power-play chances in league play, BSU’s unit leads the WCHA at 90.7%.

• BSU has snuffed out 41 of its opponents’ last 44 power-play chances (.932) dating back 12 games to Oct. 24.

• In BSU’s nine losses this season, it has been out scored 11-0 in the third period. In its five wins and two ties, BSU has out scored its opponents 15-3.   

• BSU is 7-3-1 versus Alaska all time, including a split versus the Nanooks Nov. 13-14 (L, 4-3, W, 6-3) and 1-1-0 in games played at the Carlson Center.

• Cory Ward leads all current BSU players in scoring versus Alaska. In eight career games versus the Nanooks, he has nine points (4g-5a). In addition, both Brendan Harms (3g-5a) and Nate Arentz (4g-2a) have averaged a point per game.

• Michael Bitzer has been the BSU goaltender with the msot success versus UA, posting a 1-1-0 record in two appearances, while allowing 1.00 goals per game, wich includes a shutout, and recording a .891 save percetnage.

• BSU is 0-1-1 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).

• A year ago, Bemidji State went 11-5-2 during the second half of the regular season, which included a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) from Feb. 13-March 7.