Bemidji State opens WCHA play at Alaska

Bemidji State opens WCHA play at Alaska
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Bemidji State opens WCHA play at Alaska

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men's hockey team will open Western Collegiate Hockey Association play and its quest for the MacNaughton Cup this weekend when it travels to Fairbanks, Alaska for a two-game set versus the University of Alaska.

The series will get underway at 10:07 p.m. (CST) Friday while the puck will drop on the series finale at 10:07 p.m. (CST) Saturday.

In a series that got its start Jan. 3, 1982, Bemidji State leads the all-time series 13-5-3, which includes a 5-2-1 mark in Fairbanks.


Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State dropped a non-conference at No. 16 North Dakota Oct. 25-26 falling 2-1 loss in overtime Friday before a 4-1 loss Saturday. The Beavers dip to 0-2-2 overall.

• This week the Beavers open WCHA play with a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska to face the University of Alaska. BSU and Alaska first met Jan. 3, 1982 for a 12-0 BSU victory Since then, Bemidji State leads the all-time series 13-5-3, which includes a 5-2-1 mark in Fairbanks.

• Despite losing the last meeting between the teams, 2-1 in overtime Jan. 12, 2019, BSU is unbeaten in  nine of the last 11 meetings (7-2-2) Between the teams.

• The last time BSU made the trip to Fairbanks, Nov. 3-4, 2017, the Beavers and Nanooks split the series. Alaska won the opener 4-3 in overtime and BSU bounced back to split the series with a 3-2 win.

• Of the 21 previous meetings between the teams, seven have ended in a tie and 10 have been decided by a goal or less.

• On BSU’s current roster, senior Adam Brady and junior Charlie Combs have experienced the most success versus the Nanooks. Brady has a goal and six assists in seven career games, while Combs three goals, including a power-play tally, and two assists in six games.

• Zach Driscoll is the only current Beaver goaltender to have faced Alaska. He is 1-1-0 with a 0.99 goals against average and .962 save percentage. 

• Following a goal Saturday, junior forward Aaron Miller leads the Beavers’ lead in scoring with four points (1g-3a). He finished the 2018-19 season fourth on the team in scoring with a career-best 20 points (11g-9a) and matched fellow junior Charlie Combs with a team-high 11 goals.

• Senior captain Adam Brady recorded an assist Friday.  The helper was the 50th point of Brady’s career. In just over two seasons at BSU, he leads all current Beavers in scoring (18g-32a).

• Tyler Vold has come into his own this season. In the first 39 games and two seasons as a Beaver, he had four points (4g). Four games into his junior season he already has two points (2a)--the first two assists of his collegiate career.

• Owen Sillinger netted his second goal of the season Friday. The Fighting Hawks bring out the best in the sophomore. In four career games versus North Dakota, he has two goals.

• Without a point in Friday’s game, Alex Ierullo saw his three-game assist streak reaching back to the final game of the 2018-19 postseason stopped.

• BSU’s sophomore class leads its scoring push netting four goals and five assists for nine points. It’s juniors have eight points (1g-7a), seniors have five (2g-3a) and freshman two points (1g-1a).

• BSU was 1-for-5 on the power at UND and is 1-for-9 (.111) for the season. BSU was 20-for-143 (.140) last year and 16-for-108 (.148) in WCHA play.

• Friday’s power-play goal snapped an eight-game stretch without a PPG that dated back to Feb. 16 and 23 opportunities. 

• BSU’s penalty-kill unit held UND without a goal in five opportunities. The Beavers are now was 9-for-10 (.900). Last season, BSU was 112-for-131 (.855) in 2018-19, which included a 83-of-93 mark in WCHA play (.892) to lead the league.

• BSU allowed just 19 power-play goals in 2018-19 and posted a .855 (112/131) penalty kill percentage. Since moving to the NCAA Division I level, BSU has never allowed fewer than 18 power-play goals in a season and has only once (2004-05/.868/190-of-219) finished with a penalty-kill percentage over .865.

• A year ago, when BSU played on the road, it averaged 2.37 goals per game and allowed 3.05 and it was 6-9-4. The Beavers were 9-6-2 at the Sanford Center and averaged 2.76 goals per game, while it surrendered just 1.71. 

• BSU has allowed two SHG already this season following six a year ago. BSU allowed a program record eight SHG in 2000-01.

• BSU head coach Tom Serratore ranks second on BSU’s all-time coaching wins list to legendary R.H. “Bob” Peters who posted a 702-293-49 from 1966 to 2001. Serratore is 297-287-95 now in his 20th season.

• The Beavers have been slow out of the gates this season. BSU has failed to score in the first period of its first four games of the season. The earliest the Beavers have scored this year is at the 3:09 mark of the second period.

• BSU has twice seen third-period leads vanish early this season. The Beavers have been outscored 7-4) in the third period and overtime in 2019-20.

• Freshman Brad Belisle made his collegiate debut Friday and fellow rookie Carter James Saturday. That leaves only goaltender Michael Carr and injured Sam Solensky as newcomers waiting to debut.

• BSU has played extra time in three of its first four games of the season. The last time BSU played four straight overtime games was actually a string of five straight OT contests Oct. 18 to Nov. 1, 2002. BSU was 0-2-4 in those games.