Beavers open 2020 with WCHA foe Ferris State

Beavers open 2020 with WCHA foe Ferris State
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Beavers open 2020 with WCHA foe Ferris State

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University opens play in the new calendar year this weekend when it hosts Ferris State University for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association, two-game series at Sanford Center. The series signifies the start of the second half of the conference season for both teams. The Beavers open play owning second place in the WCHA standings with an 8-3-1-0 mark through 12 games. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs hold down the seventh spot with a 4-6-2-0 record versus the WCHA.

The Beavers look to shake their first three-game losing skid of the season this weekend as they return home to Sanford Center where they are  an impressive 5-1-2 on home ice.

Aaron Miller leads the Beavers into the second half with a career-high 20 points (9g-11a) and a team-high nine goals and 11 assists. Co-Captain Adam Brady is second on the team with 16 points (8g-8a), but more importantly has been a vital cog in the Bemidji State power play where he has four goals and leads the team with six (4g-2a) points on the power play. Miller leads all BSU players with seven (3g-4a) points in the Beavers’ last six contests.

Zach Driscoll has handled the bulk of the goaltending duties for the Beavers this season. He is 8-5-2 record, with a 1.79 goals against average to rank 10th in the nation in goals against average, but sat out BSU’s last game due to injury. Hank Johnson made his third start of the season Dec. 29. He is 0-2-1 with a 2.32 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

The BSU penalty-kill unit has been stingy all season. They have allowed just three power play goals in 56 opponent opportunities (.946) to rank first in all of Division I. The Beavers have surrendered one opponent power-play goal since the third period of their Nov. 2 contest and 40 opportunities (.975).

Ferris State arrives in Bemidji, Minn., at 6-11-2 overall and 4-6-2-0 in WCHA play. While the Bulldogs lost their last two contests, both in non-conference play, they are unbeaten in their last four WCHA contests (2-0-2).

The Bulldogs’ defensive corps has been active offensively this season. Three of FSU’s top four scorers roam the blue line. Jake Willets is the team’s top point man with 16 (1g-15a), while fellow defender Nate Kallen is second with 14 points (6g-8a) and four power-play goals. Forward Marshall Moise leads the team in goal scoring with seven (7g-5a).

It has been goaltender by committee for FSU this season. All three goalies have at least seven appearances with senior Austin Shaw leading the team with a 3-3-1 record, 2.47 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.

The Rivalry
The Bemidji State-Ferris Sate rivalry stretches back to 1999. The Bulldogs enter this weekend holding a 16-13-4 all-time advantage over the Beavers, which includes a 8-4-2 record in games played on BSU’s home ice. The teams split a WCHA series in Big Rapids, Mich. Nov. 15-16 this season. The Bulldogs took the opener, 2-1, to snap a six-game losing skid, but BSU bounced with a pair of goals from both Owen Sillinger and Aaron Miller to claim a 4-1 victory.

Bemidji State Notables
• Bemidji State dropped a 5-2 decision to the University of Minnesota to open the Mariucci Classic and fell to No. 2 Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2-0, in the final game, Dec. 29. It marked the time this season BSU has lost three consecutive games this season. BSU moved to 8-7-3 overall and is second in the WCHA with a 8-3-1-0 mark in league play.

Ross Armour and Owen Sillinger stood as goal scorers for the Beavers in the holiday tournament For Armour it was the third goal of his BSU career and marked his first since Nov. 9. Sillinger now has six goals this season and four in BSU’s last nine contests.

• Sundays shutout loss marked the first time the Beavers have been held without a goal since Nov. 16, 2018 snapping a streak of 46 consecutive games with a  goal.

• Sillinger’s goal marked BSU’s second short-handed tally of 2019-20. He leads all current BSU players with two career shorties.

• Failing to record a point Dec. 28, Aaron Miller’s five-game scoring streak (5g-5a) came to an end.

• Adam Brady has four of BSU’s 11 power-play goals this season. Of his 24 collegiate goals, 12 have come on the man advantage.

• Through the first 18 games of the season, Zach Driscoll has 15 starts and is 8-5-2. His 1.79 goals against average ranks 10th nationally, while his .926 save percentage places him 14th.

• Driscoll sat out of the Beavers' Dec. 29 contest marking the end of a 13-game start streak. Hank Johnson stepped in making his fist appearance since a 4-1 loss at North Dakota, Oct. 26. He is 0-2-1 with a 2.32 GAA and a .917 save percentage.

• Since Jan. 3, 2019 Zach Driscoll has been in net for 33-of-36 games for BSU. Johnson has BSU’s other three starts.

• Elias Rosén leads all BSU defenders and rookies with nine points (2g-7a) and has posted six of his seven assists on the power play to tie Adam Brady atop the BSU power-play scoring list. He is second among WCHA rookies in scoring.

• Freshman Sam Solensky made his collegiate debut Dec. 28 and played in both games of the classic and registered a penalty and a shot on goal.

• Junior blueliner Tyler Vold has a point in four of BSU’s last six games (2g-2a). That accounts for 37 percent of the junior’s career scoring (6g-5a) in just six games.

• BSU’s sophomores have netted 49 points (22g-27a) to lead the scoring push. The team’s juniors are second with 20 goals and 28 assists for 48 points. It’s three seniors have 29 (11g-18a) and freshman 18 points (3g-15a).

• After an 0-for-3 night on the power play Sunday, BSU is 11-for-61 (.180) for the season and 10-for-47 (.213) in WCHA play.

• BSU’s penalty-kill unit held Minnesota 0-for-3 Saturday and Minnesota State 0-for-3 Sunday. Allowing just three power-play goals in 56 opportunities this season, BSU is first among NCAA Division I teams (.947). At .971 (38-of-40) in WCHA play, BSU ranks second on the WCHA penalty-kill list.

• BSU has dominated the second period of play this season. Through 17 games, it is outscoring its opponents 24-7 overall and 19-3 in six WCHA contests.

• The loss Dec. 28 marked the second time BSU scored more than one goal and lost this season (7-2-3). BSU also posted three goals in a loss to Alaska Dec. 7.

• At home this season, BSU has averaged 4.50 goals per game and surrendered just 2.12 while allowing just two opponent PPG in 22 chances (.917). Its power-play unit is also 6-for-25 (.240) at Sanford Center. On the road, BSU is 3-6-1 and has averaged 2.00 goals per game, while allowing 2.20. It's power play is 5-for-36 (.139) and its penalty kill 31-for-32 (.969).

• Saturday’s meeting marked the first time BSU and Minnesota met since Jan. 28, 2017. Minnesota now owns a 20-2-1 record in the all-time series, which got its start in 2000.

• BSU is now 11-5-3 under Head Coach Tom Serratore in the first game back from the holiday break.

• BSU wrapped up its non-conference schedule without a victory (0-4-2).

• In BSU’s second-most often revisited rivalry of all time, the Mavericks hold a 56-53-15 edge in the series, however, the Beavers an Mavericks are now tied in neutral-site matchups, 1-1-0.

• BSU has won just one game in the last 10 meetings with Minnesota State (1-8-1).

•BSU has played three games versus teams among the top 15 in the USAToday/USA Hockey national poll this season. The Beavers are 0-1-2 in those games following 4-4 and 2-2 draws with St. Cloud State, Oct. 11-12 and a 2-0 loss to MSU, Dec. 29.

• While BSU and MSU have played the bulk of their rivalry as conference members of either the NCHA (1981-92) or the WCHA (2010-p) they have still played 45 games as non-conference foes. MSU holds an 22-19-5 edge in those games dating back to 1974.

• Bemidji State is 7-6-2 in games played on Sunday since 2008-09, including a 6-2 victory over Minnesota at 3M Arena at Mariucci, Nov. 15, 2009. Aaron Miller leads all current BSU players with a goal and an assist in Sunday games.

• This weekend BSU welcomes Ferris State to Sanford Center to wrap up the season series between the teams. After splitting  a series in Big Rapids, Mich. Nov. 15-16. FSU won the opener, 2-1, and BSU won the finale, 4-1.

• Since the teams first met in 1999, FSU owns a 16-13-4 all-time advantage in the series, which includes a 8-4-2 record in games played on BSU’s home ice.

• BSU owns a 6-1-2 record versus FSU in the last nine meetings between the teams, which includes racking in 5-of-6 points, on a 2-2 tie with a shootout win and a 3-0 shutout, the last time the Bulldogs were in Bemidji for a series, Nov. 27-28, 2017.

• While Adam Brady (1g-5a) and Charlie Combs (1g-5a) each have six career points versus the Bulldogs, Owen Sillinger leads the team with four goals, including one short-handed and a game-winning goal, in four collegiate games versus FSU.

• Zach Driscoll is the only BSU goaltender with any experience versus the Bulldogs. He is 2-1-1 in four appearances and carried a 1.72 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.