Bemidji State rides nine-game league unbeaten streak to road series at Ferris State

Bemidji State rides nine-game league unbeaten streak to road series at Ferris State
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Bemidji State rides nine-game league unbeaten streak to road series at Ferris State

BEMIDJI, Minn. —  The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team returns to Western Collegiate Hockey Association play Jan. 19-20 when it travels to Big Rapids, Mich. for a two-game league series at Ferris State University. The series will get underway from Ewigleben Ice Arena at 6:07 p.m. (CST) Friday with Saturday’s puck drop set for 6:07 p.m.

The Beavers open the series unbeaten in their last nine WCHA contests and winners of their last six.

Bemidji State is coming off of a non-conference series with No. 7 University of North Dakota.  Bemidji State dropped the first game of the home-and-home series 5-1 at Sanford Center, but bounced back to erase a pair of one-goal deficits Saturday in Grand Forks, N.D. To earn a 2-2 tie in overtime.

BSU is 9-15-3 all-time versus the Bulldogs with a 4-7-1 record when playing at Ewigleben Ice Arena in a series that got its start in 1999.  With that said, BSU is unbeaten in the last three meetings with FSU (2-0-1), which includes a series win versus the Bulldogs in Bemidji, Minn., Oct. 27-28. The Beavers and Bulldogs tied the series opener, 2-2, before BSU won the game in a shootout. Michael Bitzer posted 19 saves and Myles Fitzgerald scored twice to lead BSU to a 3-0 shutout victory in the series finale.

The Beavers, now 11-7-6 overall and 8-4-4-2 in WCHA play, hold down the fourth spot in the league standings with 30 points.

Bemidji State notables:

• Bemidji State dropped a 5-1 non-conference game to North Dakota Friday, suffering its first loss since a 3-1 loss at Bowling Green, Dec. 1. The Beavers move to 11-7-5 overall and is 8-4-4-2 in WCHA play to hold fourth place in the league standings.

• The loss snapped BSU’s nine-game unbeaten and a six-game winning streak, which tied a BSU Division I-era record (since 1999).

• Senior Kyle Bauman has recorded at least a point in five straight games (3g-3a). Including a two-point weekend, Jan. 12-13, Bauman has a point in eight of the Beavers’ last nine and has 13 points during that span (3g-10a).

• With 26 points (9g-17a) this season, Bauman not only leads BSU in scoring, he has set career-highs for assists and points.

• Jay Dickman added an assist Friday. He now has a point in 6-of-8 games (5g-4a) and has a team-best and career-high 11 goals.

• Although they failed to record a point Jan. 12-13, Adam Brady (3g-4a) and Gerry Fitzgerald (2g-5a) each has seven points in BSU’s last six games.

• BSU is 8-1-1 when Brady logs a point and are unbeaten in the five games in which he has a goal (4-0-1).

• Leo Fitzgerald posted a power-play goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw. It was his first point since a goal in the season opener, Oct. 13. After missing 16 games due to injury, he returned to the line up Dec. 30.

• Dillon Eichstadt also logged his second goal of the season Saturday in what proved to be the game-typing goal.

• BSU is now 4-3-3 on the road this season. The Beavers have scored 2.70 goals per game, while allowing 2.40. BSU’s power-play unit is 9-of-38 (.237) and its penalty-kill unit has allowed just four goals (33-37/.892).

• In 11 games since Dec. 2, Michael Bitzer is 6-1-4 with a 1.77 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. In BSU’s first 13 games, Bitzer was 4-5-2 with a 2.70 GAA and a .899 save percentage.

• Bitzer enters the Jan. 19-20 series with 2,871 saves. Currently second on BSU’s all-time saves list, Bitzer is 194 stops behind all-time leader Steve O’Shea who has the BSU record with 3,065.

• At 60-47-17 in his BSU career, Bitzer surpassed Jack Horner (1975-78) for fifth place on BSU’s all-time victories list and is in sole possession of the BSU Division I-era victories lead. Mark Liska (1981-85) is fourth with 61.

• His 20 career shutouts is a BSU and WCHA all-time record. In addition, he equalled Vermont’s Joe Fallon (2005-08) for second on the NCAA all-time shut outs list and sits six behind Michigan State’s Ryan Miller, who recorded 26 shutouts from 1999-2002.

• The BSU penalty-kill unit finished the weekend 5-for-7 to move to 70-of-79 in 2017-18. The Beavers rank third in the country (.886) for the nation’s most efficient unit. At 48-of-53 (.906) BSU leads the WCHA.

• BSU was 1-for-5 on the power-play Jan. 12-13.  BSU is 21-of-89 (.236) to sit eighth in the nation this season and is second in the WCHA at 16-for-64 (.250).

• BSU has allowed three or more goals nine times in 2017-18 (1-7-1). When scoring three or more, BSU is 11-2-2 and when failing to score three goals they are without a win (0-5-4).

• BSU is 5-2-4 on Saturdays in 2017-18 and has averaged 3.27 goals per game with an 14-for-43 clip on the power play to lead the nation at .326 and it’s penalty-kill unit has allowed just two goals 39-for-41 (.951) on Saturday—also a NCAA-best.

• Bemidji State jumps back into WCHA play Jan. 19-20 with a trip to Big Rapids, Mich. for a series with Ferris State. BSU is 9-15-3 all-time versus the Bulldogs, with a 4-7-1 mark when facing FSU on its own ice.

• Bemidji State has won its last six WCHA games and is unbeaten in its last nine (6-0-3) league contests.

• The Beavers won eight straight league games and were unbeaten in 12 (11-0-1) to open the 2016-17 campaign— both are BSU Division I-era records (since 1999).

• Gerry Fitzgerald and Kyle Bauman lead BSU with nine road points (3g-6a) in the Beavers’ 10 road games this season.

• BSU is riding a three-game unbeaten streak versus FSU (2-0-1) dating back to a Jan. 21, 2017, 5-1 win over the Bulldogs.  The streak includes tying FSU, 2-2, and winning in a shootout and a 3-0 shuts over the Bulldogs Oct. 27-28 in Bemidji.

• Seven of the last 13 BSU/FSU games have been pushed to overtime, including a double-overtime game in the 2014 WCHA playoffs and a triple-overtime affair in the 2015 postseason. BSU is 0-4-3 in those games with a shootout win Oct. 27, 2017.

• With seven points (4g-3a) in 10 career games versus FSU, Kyle Bauman leads all current Beavers. Although Myles Fitzgerald has only played four career games versus FSU, he has four points, which include three goals.

• Goaltender Michael Bitzer has a 3-4-2 career record versus the Bulldogs, which includes a 1.72 GAA and a .940 save percentage and a shutout.