Beavers return to WCHA play with trip to Bowling Green

Beavers return to WCHA play with trip to Bowling Green
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Beavers return to WCHA play with trip to Bowling Green

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State men's hockey team is in Bowling Green, Ohio this weekend for a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series versus the Falcons. Opening face off is set for 6:37 p.m. (CST) Friday and 6:07 p.m. (CST) Saturday.

The series marks the extension of a series that got its start in 2011 and the formation of the current WCHA. The Beavers currently trial the Falcons 7-11-1 all-time with a 2-7-0 mark when facing BG on its home ice, Slater Family Ice Arena. The Falcons Open the series having defeated BSU in the last three meetings between the teams including a sweep of a best-of-three WCHA Playoff semifinal series, March 10-11, 2017.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State was split a non-conference series with Princeton, Nov. 22 and 24. The Beavers took the opener, 5-3, before falling in the finale, 4-1. BSU moves to 5-2-2 overall and are now 3-2-1 in non-conference play this season.

• The Beavers  return to WCHA action Dec. 1-2 or a two-game match up with Bowling Green State. BSU will open the series 2-3-1-1 in league play and are tied with Lake Superior State and Alaska for eight place in the WCHA standings with eight points.

• Bemidji State seeks its first WCHA victory since a 3-2 win at Alaska Nov. 4.

• Bemidji State is 7-11-1 all-time versus BGSU and was 3-3-0 versus the Falcons in 2016-17 with BGSU getting the best of BSU in the last three meetings, including back-to-back games (4-3 (OT) and 2-1) March 10-11 to bump BSU from the WCHA Playoffs.

• While BSU is 5-3-1 at Sanford Center versus BGSU, the Beavers have struggled at Slater Family Ice Arena, going 2-7-0 versus BGSU and have been out scored nearly two goals to one (32-18) in nine appearances.

• Seniors Kyle Bauman and Gerry Fitzgerald have flourished versus BGSU in their careers. Each has seven points on four goals and three assist, while Gerry has a pair of game-winning goals.

• In 14 career appearances versus BGSU, Michael Bitzer is 5-8-1 with a 2.26 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.

• Bemidji State is 2-2-1 on the road in 2017-18 and have averaged 2.4 goals per game. BSU has been out scored 13-12 on its opponents’ home ice this season, while its power-play unit is 4-for-17 (.235) and its penalty-kill squad is 14-for-16 (.875).

• 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 271-259-73 (.510).

• Senior Jordan Heller helped lead BSU wit the 5-3 victory Wednesday netting the second multi-goal game of his career and first since Jan. 9, 2016. In 108 career games for the senior he has 15 points (7g-8a).

• Freshman Charlie Combs posted the first multi-goal effort of his career Wednesday, doubling his season scoring output. He is currently tied for fifth on the team in scoring with six points (4g-2a). His second goal of the game also stood as his first collegiate game-winning goal. He was named WCHA Rookie of the Week for his effort.

• Since posting his first point in the Beavers’ sixth game of the season, Combs has six points (4g-2a) in seven appearances.

• Sophomore defender Zach Whitecloud made his presence known in his return to the line up posting two assists. It was his first appearance in the Green and White since Nov. 3-4 due to participating in the Karjala Cup in Switzerland and Finland Nov. 8-12 as a member of Team Canada.  It was his third multi-assist game as a Beaver and second of his sophomore season.

• Junior Jay Dickman moved into a tie with Kyle Bauman for the team’s goal-scoring lead after netting his sixth of the season, Friday. He also equalled his single-season career-high for goals scored.

• Currently third on the team in scoring with nine points (6g-3a), Dickman has four goals in BSU’s last three contests.  All but three points (1g-2a) have come in the second game of a series this season.

• After playing 40 games without an assist, junior Mike Soucier has logged an asset in his last two appearances.

• Sophomore Jack Burgart made his first collegiate start Nov. 24, as Michael Bitzer got his first day off since Feb 25, 2017 and just his third since Jan. 3, 2016. He pposted 36 saves on 40 shots in 57:39 of his BSU debut. He is 0-1-0 in his career.

• Bitzer completed the weekend with 2,606 saves. He is 51 stops from Chuck Scanlon (1971-75) and third place (2,657) on BSU’s all-time saves list.

• At 53-46-13 in his BSU career, Bitzer is eighth at BSU all time and in sole possession of the BSU Division I-era victories lead.

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

• This season, BSU is without a win when failing to score three goals (0-3-1).

• BSU has allowed three or more goals five times this season and is 0-5-0 in those games.

• Versus Princeton, the Beavers allowed power-play goals in back-to-back games for the first time since March 4-5, 2017—a streak spanning 14 games.  They were just the fourth and fifth power-play goals BSU has surrendered this season.

• The Beavers penalty-kill unit ranks second in the country (.900) in penalty-kill percentage snuffing out 36-of-40 opponent man-advantage opportunities. At 19-of-21 (.905) in WCHA play, BSU is second  only to Ferris State (.923).

• BSU was 0-for-4 on the power-play in the Nov. 22 and 24 series at Princeton. But BSU is 11-for-45 (.244) on the season to rank seventh nationally and its 7-for-25 (.280) in WCHA play to lead the league.