No. 15 Bemidji State travels to No 11 Minnesota State in battle for WCHA bragging rights

No. 15 Bemidji State travels to No 11 Minnesota State in battle for WCHA bragging rights
Thursday, November 10, 2016
No. 15 Bemidji State travels to No 11 Minnesota State in battle for WCHA bragging rights

BEMIDJI, Minn. — The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team takes its 8-2-0 overall record and perfect 8-0-0 mark in league play to Mankato, Minn. this weekend to battle the Minnesota State University. The two-game series will get underway at 7:07 p.m. Friday from the Verizon Wireless Center. The series finale is set for a 7:07 p.m. opening face-off Saturday.

The Beavers split with the Mavericks last season when the teams met in Mankato, Minn. (L, 6-1, W, 1-0) and look to improve upon that success this weekend seeking their fifth series sweep of the young 2016-17 season.

Bemidji State Notables:

• Bemidji State improved to 8-2-0 on the season in 8-0-0 in WCHA following a 6-2 and 3-1 series sweep at Alaska., Nov. 4-5. The Beavers moved to No. 15 in the poll—its highest rank since it was No. 10 March 22, 2010.

• BSU head coach Tom Serratore begins his 16th season as head coach at his Alma Mater (’87). He is 252-242-67 (.504).

• Michael Bitzer has backstopped the Beavers to a 8-2-0 start. He owns a 8-0-0 record in league play with a .938 save percentage and 1.40 goals against average.

• Bitzer leads the country in wins (8) and shutouts (3), is second in goals against average (1.40 ), seventh in save percentage (.938) and 13th in saves (213).

• Bemidji State allowed its first power-play goal in league play Friday, snapping a streak of 33 consecutive opportunities killed. The Beavers went 7-for-9 versus Alaska to improve to 36-of-38 (.947) to lead the WCHA and 42-of-46 (.913) overall. The BSU unit is seventh in the country.

• The Beavers netted four power-play goals versus Alaska, going 4-for-8 on the weekend. BSU is now 12-for-51 (.235) overall and 10-for-40 (.250) in WCHA play to lead the league.

• Gerry Fitzgerald (3g-4a) leads all Beavers in power-play scoring, netting seven of his 10 (4g-6a) points this season on the man advantage.

• BSU is now 4-2-0 away from Sanford Center this season and has averaged 3.17 goals per game on the road, while allowing 1.83.

• At 8-0-0, the Beavers sit atop the WCHA standings. The last time BSU opened a conference season with nine consecutive wins was the 1994-95 campaign in NCHA play. BSU finished 16-3-1 in NCHA play and won the NCAA Division II title.

• Gerry Fitzgerald has logged at least a point in the Beavers’ last six games (3g-5a) and leads BSU in scoring with 10 points (4g-6a). Last season he posted 14 goals and 11 assists to match Brendan Harms for the team’s lead in scoring.

• Phillip Marinaccio logged his fourth career game-winning goal Friday. He has figured in on the scoring in five of BSU’s eight game-winners this season (2g-3a).

• Kyle Bauman has six points in BSU’s last seven games (4g-2a).

• Freshman Zach Whitecloud leads all BSU rookies and is tied for sixth among all Beavers in scoring with five points (1g-5a). He is tied for second in WCHA defensemen scoring with five points (1g-4a) in league play. All of his points have come on the power play.

• Following a four-point weekend in Alaska, Charlie O’Connor has netted six points in BSU’s last four games (2g-4a).

• Brendan Harms collected a goal and an assist in the series finale at Alaska. The two-point night marked the first multi-point effort of the year for the senior. He leads all BSU players with 12 career multi-point games.

• No. 1 North Dakota led BSU for more than 40 minutes Oct. 22. Still through eight games, the Beavers have trailed for just 47:29 and have held a lead for 392:58 of 602:05 minutes played--that’s 65-percent.

• This season, the Beavers have been the first to score in each of their 10 games played and have out scored their opponents 12-3 in the first period.

• O’Connor logged his 40th collegiate point Friday. He now has 23 goals and 19 assists in 117 games played for BSU.

• With three series sweeps in the entire 2015-16 season, BSU already has four in five series in 2016-17.

• In BSU’s last three games, the Beavers have out scored their opponents 8-1 in the third period and 16-6 from the third period on this season.

• The Beavers have out shot their opponents 235-158 in league play, which includes a 124-71 differential in the last three league games alone.

• Bemidji State continues its road swing as it travels to Mankato, Minn. for a top-15 match up with No. 11 Minnesota State University, Mankato.

• BSU leads a series with Minnesota State that began in 1974, 50-48-13 and are 17-30-8 all time in Mankato. But since both BSU and MSU moved to the Division I level, the Beavers trail the Mavericks 11-28-2.

• Brendan Harms leads all current Beavers with seven points (2g-5a) in 13 collegiate games versus MSU.

• Gerry Fitzgerald has piled up five points (2g-3a) in nine games versus the Mavericks. Both of his goals have come on the man advantage, with one standing as a game winner.