No. 18 Beavers take 4-0-0 record to No. 1 North Dakota

No. 18 Beavers take 4-0-0 record to No. 1 North Dakota
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
No. 18 Beavers take 4-0-0 record to No. 1 North Dakota

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University takes its 4-0-0 record on the road for the second consecutive weekend, Oct. 21-22, when it travels west to Grand Forks, N.D. to battle regional rival the University of North Dakota. The No. 18 Beavers and No. 1 Fighting Hawks open the nonconference series at Ralph Engelstad Arena at 7:37 p.m. Friday, with the series finale set for 7:07 p.m. Saturday.

Bemidji State notables:
•The Bemidji State University extended its winning streak to four games Oct. 14-15 using a pair 2-0 victory at Northern Michigan to sweep the series and to improve to 4-0-0 for the first time since it went 4-0-0 to open the 2005-06 campaign.

• Last time BSU opened the season unbeaten through its first five games was 1984-85 when it rattled off wins in its first 11 games en rout to a 27-6-2 record, a NCHA Championship and a runner up finish in the NCAA Division III tournament.

• Sunday’s win over the Wildcats marked the Beavers’ second series sweep of the 2016-17 season. A year ago, BSU failed to garner two series sweeps until Jan. 9 after sweeping Alabama Huntsville (Nov. 25-27) and Alaska Anchorage (Jan. 8-9).

• The sweep in Marquette also gave the Beavers their first four-game WCHA unbeaten streak since BSU went 3-0-1 at Alaska and Alaska Anchorage Jan. 2-9 of last winter.

• Friday night’s 2-0 victory marked the 30th of Michael Bitzer’s collegiate career.

• With Bitzer’s back-to-back 21-save shutouts last weekend, the junior matched Matt Climie (2004-08) for the all-time program shutouts record (12) and was named WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

• Bitzer already owns the BSU single-season shutouts record, registering six in 2015-16.

• Michael Bitzer has backstopped the Beavers to a 4-0-0 start. He owns a 0.50 GAA and .977 save percentage. He has allowed just two goals, including a shot-handed goal,  in 239:53 of play this season.

• Bitzer leads the country in wins (4) and shutouts (2), is tied for second in GAA (0.50 ) and in save percentage (.977).

• BSU head coach Tom Serratore begins his 16th season as head coach at his Alma Mater (’87). He is 249-240-67 (.504).

• After registering just four points in 35 games as a freshman a year ago, Dan Billett already has three points through the Beavers’ first four games of 2016-17.

• With a perfect penalty-kill record (22-for-22) through four games, BSU is tied with Penn State and RPI for the national lead. No other team among the top 10 has for than BSU’s 22 penalty-kill appearances.

• Through four games, the Beavers have not trailed for a second and have held a lead for 194:39 of 240 minutes played.

• Jay Dickman scored his first goal of 2016-17 Friday and added his second Saturday, the fourth and fifth goals of his 22-game BSU career.

• Leo Fitzgerald opened the scoring of his junior season Friday netting the first game-winning goal of his career.

• Saturday night marked Leo Fitzgerald’s 70th game in a Bemidji State uniform. He has 23 points (6g-17a) in 70 games. Senior Charlie O’Connor leads all current BSU players with 111 games played.

• BSU has recorded a power-play goal in three of its first four games of the 2016-17 season and is 3-for-21 (.143).

• Now 2-0-0 away from Sanford Center, last season, the Beavers were 10-7-2 on the road.

• BSU is 3-28-4 since BSU and UND began their series in 1970, but since March 2, 2013, The Beavers are unbeaten in four of seven meetings with the Fighting Hawks (1-3-3).

• The Beavers are 2-18-2 all-time when playing UND in Grand Forks, which includes a 5-1 victory to open the season Oct. 10, 2014.

• Gerry Fitzgerald leads all current BSU players in scoring success versus UND. In four career games played versus the Fighting Hawks, the junior has three goals and an assist.

• Junior goaltender Michael Bitzer is 1-1-1 versus UND in his career and carries a 2.93 GAA and .897 save percentage versus UND.

• BSU was 6-4-1 in non conference pay a year ago, including a 4-4 (OT) tie with North Dakota Oct. 16 in Bemidji, Minn.

• Last season, BSU was 2-2-1 versus teams hailing from the NCHC.

• BSU is 0-3-1 versus UND when it is the nation’s top ranked team according to the USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine poll, which includes a 4-4 (OT) tie Oct. 16, 2015.

• In their 61st season, the Beavers, who are 1,051-581-120 all-time, rank second only to Boston College in all-time wining percentage (.634).