Beavers travel to Fairbanks for WCHA series with the Nanooks

Beavers travel to Fairbanks for WCHA series with the Nanooks
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Beavers travel to Fairbanks for WCHA series with the Nanooks

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State men's hockey team takes its 2-0-1-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association record on the road this weekend as it travels to Fairbanks, Alaska for a two-game series versus the University of Alaska.

The Beavers and Nanooks have met on 15 prior occasions in a series that got is start in 1982 when both teams were competing at the NCAA Division II level. BSU holds a 10-3-2 all-time record versus the Nanooks and is unbeaten in its last five match ups with UAF (4-0-1). IN its six previous appearances on the Olympic Ice surface at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, BSU is 4-1-1.

The Beavers who are 3-1-2 overall are coming off a series victory over Ferris State University. The Beavers and Bulldogs tied, 2-2, ib the series opener but BSU took the game in the shoot out. BSU took the finale 3-0 on the strength of a two-goal effort from Kyle Buaman and a 19-save shutout by Michael Bitzer.

Bemidji State notables:
• Defending champion Bemidji State opened its 2017-18 WCHA season with a series victory over Ferris State, Oct. 27-28. BSU started the series with a 2-2 tie Friday  but earned an extra point in the WCHA standings by winning the game in a shootout. Saturday, BSU finished the series with a 3-0 shutout.

• Last season BSU was 20-6-2 in league play to claim the MacNaughton Cup the regular-season crown with two games to play.
• BSU head coach Tom Serratore is in his 16th season as head coach at his Alma Mater (’87). He is 270-255-73 (.510).

• Senior Kyle Bauman, who leads the team with four goals this season, posted his second multi-goal game of the season as he netted both of BSU’s goal Friday. In BSU’s last four contests he has four goals.

• Bauman (4g-1a) and Gerry Fitzgerald (1g-4a) lead all BSU players with five points in five games at Sanford Center this season.

• Junior Jay Dickman scored a shoot out goal to tilt the contest in BSU’s favor Friday. Officially he collected two assists in the game and is tied for fifth on the team with three points (1g-2a).

• Dickman has now cast the deciding goal in each of BSU’s shoot out victories this season. He also scored to break a 0-0 overtime draw at Minnesota Duluth, Oct. 14.

• A 2016-17 Third-Team All-WCHA selection, Gerry Fitzgerald was held without a point Friday, but remains in possession of the team’s scoring lead with six points (1g-5a) in six games, netting two assists Saturday.

• Myles Fitzgerald accounted for two of BSU’s three goals Saturday. It was the fourth of his career and first since he scored twice versus Alabama-Huntsville Feb. 26, 2016.

• Bitzer enters Saturday with 2,490 saves. He is 167 stops from Chuck Scanlon (1971-75) and third place (2,657) on BSU’s all-time saves list.

• At 51-43-12 in his BSU career, Bitzer is eighth at BSU all time and in sole possession of the BSU Division I-era victories lead.

• Bitzer posted 19 saves Saturday en route to his second shutout victory of the 2017-18 season. He is tied with Clarkston’s Jake Kelly for the NCAA lead.

• His 18 career shutouts is a BSU all-time record and stands as the mark for career shuts for a WCHA goaltender.

• Bitzer is among the top 10 in the country for save percentage (9th -.941), GAA (7th - 1.56) and shutouts (T1st – 2).

• Bauman’s goal at the 13:06 mark of the first period Friday night marked the first time BSU has scored first in 2017-18. The replicated that feat Saturday on a Dan Billett goal.

• Despite holding a 2-1-2 record, BSU has held the lead for just 94:04 of 370:00. That’s less than 25 percent of time played.

• The BSU penalty-kill unit allowed its first power-play goal of the season Friday. It finished the weekend going 7-for-8 on the kill for a season total of 21-for-22 (.955) to rank fourth in all of NCAA Division I. BSU is is third in league play at 7-for-8 (.875).

• BSU was 0-for-3 on the power play Friday and 1-for-4 on Saturday. At 7-of-8 (.143) on the man advantage BSU is BSU is sixth in the WCHA, while it  is 5-for-23 (.217) on the season.

• After sitting second the nation in goals allowed a year ago (1.93), while it allowed a meager 1.57 in WCHA play to lead the league. This season BSU is sixth in the country at 1.87 goals allowed per game. BSU also matches Northern Michigan for the WCHA lead allowing 1.00 goal per league contest.

• BSU is now 0-0-2 in overtime this season. Dating back to a 3-2 OT loss to Ferris State Jan. 24, 2016, BSU is 2-0-6 in regular-season overtime contests.

• The Beavers are 9-15-3 all time versus Ferris State, which includes a 4-8–2 mark versus the Bulldogs in Bemidji, Minn.

• Kyle Bauman (4g-3a) and Gerry Fitzgerald (3g-4a) lead all current BSU players scoring seven points in 10 games versus FSU.

• Bitzer is 4-4–2 all-time versus FSU with a 1.56 goals against average and a .943 save percentage and two shutouts.

• Bemidji State next turns its focus to the University of Alaska.  BSU is 10-3-2 all-time versus the Nanooks and is 4-1-1 in games played in Fairbanks.

• BSU is unbeaten in its last five games versus Alaska (4-0-1).

• Gerry Fitzgerald leads all current BSU players with eight points (2g-6a) in eight games versus Alaska.  Leo and Myles Fitzgerald each have a team-best three goals versus UAF.

• Michael Bitzer is 3-1-1 all-time versus Alaska with a 1.78 GAA and a .920 save percentage.