Bemidji State wraps up regular season at No. 5 Minnesota State

Bemidji State wraps up regular season at No. 5 Minnesota State
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Bemidji State wraps up regular season at No. 5 Minnesota State

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men's hockey team will travels to Mankato, Minn. this weekend for its final road trip of the 2017-18 regular season. The Beavers will battle No. 5 Minnesota State University, Mankato in a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at the Verizon Center. 

The series will get underway at 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Since 1974, the Beamidji State and Minnesota State have met 117 times with BSU clinging to a slight 52-51-14 edge in the all-time series. Minnesota State swept the series, 5-2 and 8-6, when the teams met in Bemidji, Minn. Nov. 10-11 of this season.   The Beavers have not fared as well when playing on the Mavericks’ home ice (18-30-9), however, the Beavers care unbeaten in their last three games (2-0-1) at Verizon Center.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State earned a series victory over Alaska, Feb. 15-16, skating to a 2-2 tie to open the WCHA series Thursday and took an extra point in the standings with a goal in the 3-on-3 overtime period before a 2-1 victory in the regular-season home finale.

• The Beavers moved to 16-11-7 overall and 13-8-5-3 in WCHA play to own fourth place in the league standings and clinched the right to host its first round WCHA Playoff series.

• The Beavers will host the No. 5 seed Michigan Tech, March 2, 3 and 4 at Sanford Center with the winner advancing to the WCHA Playoffs semifinal round. Game times for the series are: 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5:07 p.m. Sunday (if needed).

• Of BSU’s eight OT games this season, seven have officially gone into the recordbook as a draw. However, BSU has come away from those ties with four extra points. It is 3-1 in shootouts and 1-1 in games decided in 3-on-3 play.

• Charlie Combs led BSU in scoring Thursday netting the second two-goal night of his freshman season. He now has 12 goals to rank second on the team and owns BSU’s best goal scoring performance by a freshman since Jordan George in 2009-10 (13).

• Adam Brady matched Gerry Fitzgerald for a team-best seventh multi-point night of 2017-18 Thursday and added a goal Friday. After sitting out his freshman season due to injury, Brady is tied for second on the team with 23 points (7g-16a).

• Senior Kyle Bauman shook a four-game scoring drought Thursday posting an assist on BSU’s first goal of the game. He continues to lead BSU is scoring, netting a career-high 28 points (9g-19a).

• His career-best 19 assists also leads BSU and ties him for eighth in the WCHA (17 assists in league play). His 19 assists are most by any BSU player since Brad Hunt had 21 in 2011-12.

• Defender Dan Billett posted his ninth helper of 2017-18 Thursday, matching a career-high set a year ago. In the 10 games since Jan. 19, the junior blueliner has six assists. In his previous 27 appearances for the Beavers, he had four points (1g-3a).

• BSU is now 8-5-3 on the road this season. The Beavers have scored 2.75 goals per game, while allowing 2.38. BSU’s power-play unit is 14-for-62 (.226) and its penalty-kill unit has allowed seven goals (48-55/.873).

• Adam Brady has netted 11 (1g-10a) of his 23 points this season on the road to lead all BSU players.

• After an assist on the power-play Thursday, Adam Brady has 12 power-play points (3g-9a) this season to lead all BSU players.

• Jordan Heller scored the game-wining goal Friday. His seventh goal of the season not only stands as a career-high, it surpasses his previous single-season scoring high (1g-5a) set a year ago.  It was the second game-winner of senior’s career.

• Heller has five points (4g-1a) in BSU’s last four games.

• BSU junior Mike Soucier has four points (1g-3a) in 13 games this season and has two assists in the Beavers’ last four games.

• Michael Bitzer is 8-4-3 on the road this season with a 2.10 GAA and a .916 save percentage to go with three shutouts.

• Bitzer enters the series finale with 3,054 saves. Currently second on BSU’s all-time saves list, Bitzer is 11 stops behind all-time leader Steve O’Shea who has the BSU record with 3,065.

• At 65-50-18 in his BSU career, Bitzer is second on BSU’s all-time wins list.  Blane Comstock sits atop the list with 70.

• His 21 career shutouts is a BSU and WCHA all-time record. In addition, he is second on the NCAA all-time shut outs list behind Michigan State’s Ryan Miller, who recorded 26 shutouts from 1999-02.

• The BSU penalty-kill unit was 9-for-9 versus Alaska to move to 101-of-114 in 2017-18. The Beavers are second in the nation in PK efficiency at .886. At 79-of-88 (.898), the Beavers lead the WCHA.

• BSU was 1-for-8 on the power-play Feb. 15-16. BSU is 27-of-127 (.213) this season and is second in the WCHA at 22-for-102 (.216).

• The Beavers are 52-51-14 versus the Mavericks dating back to the series beginning Nov. 25, 1974.

• BSU is 18-30-9 in games played on MSU’s home ice, which includes a 2-1-1 record and a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) in the Beavers’ last two trips to Mankato, Minn.

• Gerry Fitzgerald leads all current BSU players in scoring versus the Mavericks with nine points (6g-3a), which includes four power-play goals and a pair of game-winners, in 15 career games versus MSU.

• Michael Bitzer carries a career 4-6-0 record in 10 appearances versus MSU. He has a 3.28 goals against average and a .884 save percentage and a shutout.

• When leading after two periods, BSU is 13-0-2. On the flip side, when trailing to start the third, BSU is without a win (0-9-3).

• BSU was 1-0-1 last weekend despite netting just two goals in each game of the series. BSU is now 2-7-5 when failing to score three goals this season.