Bemidji State opens WCHA Playoffs at Bowling Green

Bemidji State opens WCHA Playoffs at Bowling Green
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Bemidji State opens WCHA Playoffs at Bowling Green

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men's hockey team opens the 2015-16 postseason Friday at Bowling Green State University. The sixth-seeded Beavers and third-seeded Falcons open a best-of-three Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff series at 6:07 p.m. Friday with Saturday's and Sunday's games, if needed, set for 6:07 p.m. at BGSU Ice Arena.

BSU opens the series looking to shake a two-game losing skid to the Falcons and its first win at the BGSU Ice Arena (0-4-0).

Bowling Green holds a 6-3-1 edge in a series that dates back to the 2011-12 season.

Since joining the WCHA for the 2010-11 campaign, BSU is 3-9 in postseason play and seeks its first victory since a 3-2 overtime thirller versus the University of Minnesota Duluth in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Five, March 17, 2011.

Bemidji State notables:

• BSU finished the 2015-16 regular season 16-14-6 overall and 11-12-5 in WCHA play to sit sixth (27) in the standings.  The Beavers will face the No. 3 seed Bowling Green State University in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs.

• In his 15th season as head coach of the Beavers, Tom Serratore has a career record of 243-237-67 (.503).

• Markus Gerbrandt scored BSU’s only goal Friday. It was the seventh of his senior season and the 32nd of his career. He is second among all current Beavers in career goal scoring.

• Brendan Harms netted BSU’s only goal Saturday. It also happened to be the game-winner. He leads the team with four game-winning goals this season, which include three of BSU’s last four wins.

• Gerbrandt has scored in two of the Beavers’ last three games (1g-2a).

• John Parker posted his career-best sixth assist of the season Friday and has four points (2g-2a) in BSU’s last five games. He has a career-high 16 points this season.

• Goaltender Michael Bitzer recorded a 38-save shutout victory Saturday.  It was the sixth of his season, surpassing Blane Comstock (1968-69), Jack Horner (1976-77) and Matt Climie (2007-08) for a new BSU single-season record. He now has 10 career shuts to sit second only to Climie (12).

• After going 2-9-2 to open the season, Michael Bitzer is 10-5-3 in his last 18 appearances, has stopped 401-of-430 shots (.933) and has a 1.75 goals against average in 995:59 minutes during that span.

• Brendan Harms, who leads BSU with a career-high 17 assists, leads the team with a career-high 25 points (8g-17a).

• Senior defender Graeme McCormack sat out of the BSU line up Saturday. It marked the end of a consecutive games streak of 114 games. The last time he didn’t dress for a BSU game was March 9, 2013.

• McCormack leads all BSU blueliners and is fourth on the team with 20 points (6g-14a). He has a team-best 14 points (4g-10a) on the power play. He is tied for 14th on the national power-play scoring list.

• McCormack has a team-high 70 blocked shots to lead the WCHA and rank 17th in the country.

• BSU’s power-play unit is 27-of-135 (.200) in 2015-16, while posting a 21-of-113 (.186) effort in WCHA play to rank second.

• On the season, BSU has surrendered 15 power-play goals in 138 opponent opportunities. At nearly 90 percent (.891), BSU is fourth in the country in penalty-kill success.

• Since moving to the NCAA Division I level, BSU has never allowed fewer than 20 power-play goals in a season and has only once (2004-05/.868/190-of-219) finished with a penalty-kill percentage over .860.

• The Beavers’ PK is 93-of-105 (.886) in league play to sit third in the WCHA, including a 5-for-5 effort March 4-5.

• In BSU’s 14 losses this season, it has been out scored 21-4 in the third period and overtime. In its 15 wins and six ties, BSU has out scored its opponents 39-11 in the third period and overtime.        

• Junior Nate Arentz is one point from reaching the 40 point plateau. He has 16g-23a in 94 games as a Beaver.

• Cory Ward is one point from 80 (44g-35a) at BSU. He is currently 12th on BSU’s Division I scoring list (Since 1999-2000).

• Ward’s 44th goal ranks him ninth on BSU’s Division I-era goal scoring list behind former NHLer Andrew Murray (46g-69a) who played for BSU from 2001-2005.

• BSU is 9-5-2 on the road this season and have averaged 2.38 goals per game while allowing 2.06 goals per game.

• This season when leading after two BSU is 7-0-0, while it is 0-8-3 when trailing after 40 minutes.

• Bemidji State is 3-6-1 all-time versus Bowling Green, including a 0-4-0 record versus the Falcons at BGSU Ice Arena.

• BGSU is unbeaten in seven of the last eight meetings between the teams dating back to a March 7, 2014 meeting (6-1-1), which includes 4-1 and 2-0 victories over the Beavers in Bemidji Dec. 11 and 12 of this season.

• In four appearances in the BGSU Ice Arena, BSU has averaged 2.25 goals per game, while surrendering 4.00.

• BSU’s leading scorer Brendan Harms has had a tremendous amount of success versus BGSU during his career. In eight appearances, he has eight points (3g-5a).

• Since joining the WCHA in 2010-11, BSU is 3-9 in postseason play including a 2-8 mark in first round/quarterfinal action.

• Brendan Harms, Nate Arentz and Cory Ward lead BSU in postseason scoring with two points apiece (1g-1a). Harms and Arentz have played four postseason games, while Ward has six games.