WCHA's top teams set for a clash in Mankato this weekend

WCHA's top teams set for a clash in Mankato this weekend
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
WCHA's top teams set for a clash in Mankato this weekend

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team continues Western Collegiate Hockey Association play this weekend as it travels to Mankato, Minn. for a two-game series with No. 3 Minnesota State University. The Beavers open play owning second place in the WCHA standings with an 13-3-2-1 mark in league play. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are 16-3-0-0 versus the WCHA to hold a six-point lead over the Beavers for the top spot in the WCHA standings.

Unbeaten in their last six games (5-0-1), BSU looks to reverse a 1-8-1 stretch versus the Mavericks, which includes a 2-0 loss Dec. 30 in the second game of the Mariucci Classic. BSU’s last win over MSU in Mankato, Minn. came Nov. 12, 2016.

Aaron Miller (10g-11a) and Adam Brady (12g-9a) opens the series leading the Beavers’ scoring attack with 21 points apiece. Brady has been a vital cog in the BSU power play, netting seven goals and a team-best 10 points (7g-3a) on a unit that ranks third in the WCHA (.246). Recently, no BSU player has contributed more than Owen Sillinger. The sophomore has posted at least a point in five of BSU’s last six games and he leads all BSU players during that span with nine points (2g-7a).

Zach Driscoll is 12-5-3 in net for the Beavers and is unbeaten in the last five. His 1.68 goals against average ranks third in the nation, while his .931 save percentage places him 11th in the NCAA Division I goaltender ranks. 

The BSU penalty-kill unit has been stingy all season. It has allowed just seven power play goals in 79 opponent opportunities (.911) to rank third in the nation.

The Rivalry
In its second most often revisited rivalry, BSU trails Minnesota State 53-56-15 all time and is 18-31-10 versus the Mavericks in Mankato, Minn.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State is unbeaten in six straight games for the second time this season and earned its third consecutive WCHA series win Jan. 17-18, defeating Michigan Tech 4-1 Friday and posted a 3-on-3 overtime win after tying 1-1 Saturday. BSU moved to 13-7-4 overall and is second in the WCHA at 13-3-2-1 and in league play with 42 points.Charlie Combs posted the game-tying goal for BSU Saturday as BSU was held to one-or-fewer goals for the sixth time this season. BSU is now 0-5-1 in those games.

• Combs has a point in BSU's last three games and has scored two goals in BSU's last three.

• Owen Sillinger led nine BSU players on the score sheet Friday, posting a goal and an assist. Sillinger has 19 points (8g-11a) in 24 games as a sophomore matching his 38-game rookie season scoring total (10g-9a) and has a new single-season assist high.

• Adam Brady netted his 12th goal of the season Friday and, although it was in exhibition play, he added BSU's 3-on-3, overtime game-winner Saturday. He has four goals in BSU's last four contests.  

• Brady's 21 points (12g-9a) match his career single-season high set last winter (8g-13a).

• With his 10th assists Friday, Muck established a new career, single-season high surpassing a mark set in 2016-17, while extending a new career-high for points in a season with 12 (2g-10a).

• Muck has seven points in BSU's last five games (1g-6a). That is 27-percent of his career scoring (2g-24a in 136 games). 

• Elias Rosén posted his team-leading 12th assist of the season Friday. No BSU freshman has had more assists since Zach Whitecloud posted 14 in 2016-17. He leads WCHA rookies in scoring and ranks second among freshman Division I defenders.

• Hampus Sjödahl's first goal since Nov. 23, 2019 also stood as the first game-winning goal of the senior's 88-game BSU career.

• BSU's fourth short-handed goal of the season Friday matches its 2016-17, 2015-16 and 2014-15 season totals for the most since BSU logged five short-handed goals in 2009-10. BSU's Division I-era record is seven recorded in 2004-05. 

• Adam Brady (7g-3a), Elias Rosén (2g-8a) and Tommy Muck (2g-8a) lead the Beavers' power-play scoring effort with 10 points apiece. Brady is tied for fourth in the country in power-play goals with seven.

• Brady has seven of BSU’s 18 power-play goals this season. Of his 28 collegiate goals, 15 have come on the man advantage.

• Driscoll earned his 12th win of the season (12-5-2) Friday and his third tie Saturday allowing just two goals all weekend. His .931 save percentage ranks 11th in the nation, while his 1.68 goals against average sits third. 

• Driscoll is 12-3-2 versus the WCHA and ranks second in goals against average (1.46) and save percentage (.940).

• BSU’s sophomores have netted 69 points (29g-40a) to lead the scoring push. The team’s juniors are second with 25 goals and 34 assists for 59 points. It’s three seniors have 43 (17g-26a) and freshman 30 points (6g-24a).

• BSU was 1-for-5 on the man advantage versus MTU. BSU now has seven power-play goals in its last five games (7-for-19). BSU is 18-for-83 (.217) on the season, to sit 13th in the nation, and 17-for-69 (.246) to sit third in WCHA play. 

• Allowing just seven power-play goals in 79 opportunities this season, BSU is third among NCAA Division I teams (.911). At .905 (57-of-63) in WCHA play, BSU ranks second on the WCHA penalty-kill list to Minnesota State's .930 (66-of-71).

• With 67 goals in 18 WCHA games, BSU's 3.72 goals per game ranks second in the WCHA to Minnesota State's 3.89.

• BSU has held its opponent to one goal or fewer in 11 of its 24 games this season. It is 10-0-1 in those games. That also means BSU is 3-7-3 in games it surrenders two-or-more goals.

• At home this season, BSU is 8-1-3 and has averaged 4.17 goals per game, while allowing 1.83. It's power play is 10-for-38 (.263) and its penalty kill 31-for-34 (.912). On the road, the team is 5-6-1, has scored 2.25 goals per game and allowed 2.17.• 

• BSU travels to Minnesota State Jan. 24-25 trailing the first-place Mavericks by six points. If BSU was able to sweep MSU on its home ice this weekend, that would leave the teams tied (48 points) atop the WCHA standings with eight games to play.

• The Mavericks hold a 56-53-15 edge in the series and a 31-18-10 advantage in games played in Mankato, Minn. 

• BSU looks to reverse an ugly trend Friday. The Beavers have just one game in the last 10 meetings between the teams (1-8-1).

• BSU's last win over MSU in Mankato, Minn. dates back to Nov. 12, 2016.

• Adam Brady (2g-2a) and Charlie Combs (1g-3a) each have four career points in eight games versus MSU to lead the Beavers. Aaron Miller has a team-best three goals versus the Mavericks.

• BSU has just three games played 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. 30.