Bemidji State rekindling its rivalry with Alabama-Huntsville this weekend

Bemidji State rekindling its rivalry with Alabama-Huntsville this weekend
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Bemidji State rekindling its rivalry with Alabama-Huntsville this weekend

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team is back at Sanford Center this weekend to host the University of Alabama-Huntsville in a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series.

The Beavers are unbeaten on their home ice this season at 2-0-2. The streak equals two others for the longest unbeaten stretch at home since a six-game win streak Oct. 7-Nov. 19, 2016.

Adam Brady has been a vital cog in the BSU attack. The senior captain has at least a point in each of BSU’s last six games (4g-3a) and along with Aaron Miller (4g-6a) leads the team in scoring with 10 points (6g-4a). Brady also has a team-best two power-play goals.

Zach Driscoll has handled the bulk of the goaltending duties for the Beavers this season. Starting each of BSU’s last six games, he leads the team with a 4-3-1 record, a 1.61 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. He is currently fourth in the nation in goals against average, while he ranks seventh in save percentage.

Driscoll and the BSU penalty-kill unit has been stingy all season, allowing just three power play goals in 29 opponent opportunities (.931) to rank fifth in all of Division I. The team’s power-play, on the other hand, has struggled to get back on track. Despite getting a power-play goal in two of the last three games, BSU is just 3-for-29 on the season (.103).

Alabama-Huntsville arrives in Bemidji, Minn., this weekend seeking its first win of the season. Coming off a bye weekend, the Chargers are 0-9-1 overall and 0-5-1 in WCHA play.

Freshman forward Josh Latta leads UAH in scoring with seven points (1g-6a) and a team-best six assists, while junior Christian Rajic and sophomore Jack Jeffers each have three goals to lead the team. Tyr Thompson has scored two power-play goals for a unit that is 5-for-46 (.109), while its penalty-kill crew has stopped 29-of-38 opponent opportunities (.763).

Junior Mark Sinclair has occupied the net for the majority of the season. In seven appearances, he is 0-6-1 with a 4.29 goals against average and .876 save percentage.

The Rivalry
The Bemidji State/Alabama-Huntsville rivalry got its start March 11, 1994. The Beavers hold a 51-32-5 lead in the all-time series including a dominant 38-7-3 mark versus the Chargers since Mar. 3, 2006.  The Beavers enter this weekend’s series unbeaten by UAH in 27 of the last 33 meetings (26-5-1) and split their only meeting of the 2018-19 season, Dec. 7-8, 2018. BSU opened the series in Bemidji, Minn. with a 4-0 win before UAH bounced back with a 4-2 win in the finale.

In addition to being current members of the WCHA and charter members of College Hockey America (1999-2009), these teams have a long-standing, bitter rivalry dating back to the NCAA Division II days. The Chargers and Beavers met in the national tournament on four occasions with BSU defeating UAH for NCAA Division II titles in 1994 and at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse in 1997.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State and Ferris State split a WCHA series in Big Rapids, Mich., Nov. 15-16. FSU got the opener, 2-1, but BSU bounced back to salvage the split with a 4-1 victory in the finale. The Beavers move to 4-4-2 overall and are 4-2-0-0 in league play and are tied with Bowling Green for fourth place in the WCHA standings.

• Senior forward Adam Brady scored a goal Friday and added an assist Saturday. It extended his point streak to six games (4g-3a), while he has a goal in the last three of the last four games. He leads all current Beavers with 57 points (22g-35a).

• Brady has a team-best six goals this season.  He scored eight goals in each of the last two seasons.

• Brady’s goal Friday came on the power play. He has two of BSU’s three power-play goals this season. Of his 22 collegiate goals, 10 have come on the man advantage.

• Elias Rosén was credited with the assist on the BSU’s power-play goal Friday. It was the rookie defender’s third of the year and fourth collegiate point. He leads all BSU newcomers (1g-3a).

• Zach Driscoll has made six straight starts for the Beavers. He is 4-3-1 overall with a 1.61 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. He ranks fourth in the nation in goals against and seventh in save percentage.

• BSU’s sophomore class leads its scoring push with 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points, its juniors have netted 24 points (10g-14a). It’s seniors have 16 (7g-9a) and freshman nine points (2g-7a).

• BSU was 1-for-7 on the power play versus FSU and is 3-for-29 (.103) for the season. BSU was 20-for-143 (.140) last year and 16-for-108 (.148) in WCHA play.

• After just one power-play goal in its first seven games and 18 (.056) man advantage opportunities, BSU has power-play goals in two-of-three games and is 2-for-11 (.182) in those games.

• BSU’s penalty-kill unit held FSU without a goal in nine opportunities. BSU has allowed just two power-play goals in 29 opponent opportunities this season. At .933 overall, BSU is fifth among NCAA Division I teams. At .947 (18-of-19) in WCHA play, BSU ranks second only to Minnesota State’s .958.

• BSU has snuffed out 13 consecutive opponent man advantage chances and has not allowed a power-play goal since the third period of the team’s Nov. 2 game at Alaska.

• BSU’s penalty-kill unit has faced the fewest number of power-play opportunities in the league at 18.  At just 29 opponent power-play chances surrendered in 10 games this season, only seven penalty-kill units have been less utilized. 

• BSU has been dreadful on the road this season. In addition to being 2-4-0, BSU is averaging just 2.00 goals per game, while surrendering 2.00. On the flip side, BSU is unbeaten at home (2-0-2) and has averaged 4.50 goals per game while giving up 2.0.

• BSU has dominated the second period of play this season. Through 10 games, it is outscoring their opponents 12-3 overall and 8-0 in four WCHA contests.

• In all four of BSU’s losses this season, they have failed to record more than one goal. When scoring two-or-more goals the team is 4-0-2.

• Owen Sillinger recorded the third multi-goal game of his collegiate career Saturday, ironically, the last one also came versus FSU, Feb. 2, 2019. He now has four goals in four games versus the Bulldogs.

• BSU is back at Sanford Center this weekend to host long-time rival Alabama-Huntsville. In a rivalry that began in 1994, BSU and UAH have met 88 times. BSU holds a 51-32-5 edge in the all-time series, including a 29-10-2 mark on BSU’s home ice.

• In addition to being current members of the WCHA and charter members of College Hockey America (1999-2009), these teams have a long-standing, bitter rivalry. The Chargers and Beavers met in the national tournament on four occasions with BSU defeating UAH for NCAA Division II titles in 1994 and at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse in 1997.

• Of all current BSU players, Charlie Combs has had the most scoring success versus UAH. In six games, the junior has seven points (5g-2a), which includes three power-play goals.

• Both Henry Johnson and Zach Driscoll have a collegiate start versus UAH. Johnson is 1-0-0 with a 15-save shutout in his only appearance versus the Chargers.

• While BSU is 2-2-1 on Friday and has posted the same record Saturday’s this season, there is a vast difference in quality of play from one night to the other.  BSU opens a series averaging 3.40 goals per game and allowing 1.80,  is .182 (2/11) on the power play and is a perfect 15-of-15 on the penalty-kill.  On Saturdays this season, the Beavers have averaged 2.60 goals per game, surrendered 2.20 per game and is .056 (1/18) on the man advantage and  .857 (12/14) on the penalty-kill.

• Brady leads all BSU players with five goals and two assists in Friday games--That’s 70 percent of his scoring output this season.

--bsu--

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