No. 19 Beavers host Bowling Green as playoff push heats up

No. 19 Beavers host Bowling Green as playoff push heats up
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
No. 19 Beavers host Bowling Green as playoff push heats up

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team is back at Sanford Center this weekend, where it is 8-1-3 this season and has averaged over four goals per game, to host Bowling Green State University for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series. With just five weeks left in the 2019-20 regular season, the Beavers own second place in the league standings at 14-4-2-1. Meanwhile, the Falcons hold down sixth with an 8-8-2-2 record versus the league.

Adam Brady leads the Beavers in scoring with 23 points (12g-11a) and a team-best 12 goals. He has also been a vital cog in the BSU power play, netting seven goals and a team-best 11 points (7g-4a) on a unit that ranks third in the WCHA (.294). Recently, no BSU player has contributed more than Owen Sillinger. The sophomore has posted at least one point in six of the last eight games and leads all BSU players during that span with 10 points (3g-7a).

Zach Driscoll is 13-6-3 in net for the Beavers and is coming out of a career-high 48-save victory at No. 3 Minnesota State. His 1.76 goals against average ranks third in the nation, while his .930 save percentage places him 10th in the NCAA Division I goaltender ranks. 

Backed by Driscoll, the BSU penalty-kill unit has been stingy all season. It has allowed just seven power-play goals in 76 opponent opportunities (.916) to rank second in the nation. On the other hand, its power-play unit has nine power-play goals in its last seven games (9-for-20) and was a perfect 2-for-2 last weekend at Minnesota State.

Bowling Green arrives in Bemidji, Minn., following a weekend free of competition. The Falcons are 13-11-2 overall but have just one victory since Dec. 14 (1-6-1) with three overtime losses.

The Falcons’ offense has been led by senior Alec Rauhauser (8g-18a). The defender ranks second among all WCHA skaters with 18 assists this season. Junior forward Cameron Wright leads BGSU with 15 goals, which include six power-play tallies and a team-best four game-winners.

Eric Dop has been in the crease for most of the Falcons’ 2019-20 season, backstopping a BGSU team that has allowed 2.56 goals per WCHA contest and is .844 on the penalty-kill. He is 13-10-1 in 24 appearances and is sixth the league with a 2.28 goals against average, while his .899 save percentage ranks 10th.

The Rivalry
The Bemidji State-Bowling Green series got its start as a non-conference matchup during the 2011-12 season, but since 2013-14, the teams have been meeting as WCHA rivals. The Falcons own a 14-8-3 lead in the series, which includes a 3-1 victory and 2-2 draw, and 3-on-3 overtime win, when the teams last met, Feb. 22-23, 2019. Until the Falcons swept BSU out of the WCHA Playoffs to cap the 2016-17 season, the Beavers had always fared well versus BGSU at home. BSU owns a 5-5-2 mark versus BGSU at Sanford Center, but its last victory dates back to Oct. 8, 2016.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State split a league series at No. 3 Minnesota State Jan. 24-25, dropping the opener, 3-2, Friday before a 4-2 victory Saturday. BSU moved to 14-8-4 overall and remains second in the WCHA at 14-4-2-1 and in league play with 45 points.

• Friday's loss marked the first time BSU has lost a game this season when leading after the first 20 minutes of play (8-1-0).

• Friday's 3-2 loss also stood as BSU's first loss of 2020. It is 6-1-1 in January. Since it moved to the NCAA Division I ranks for the 1999-2000 season BSU is 76-56-14 to stand as its best month of the season (.568).

• Nick Cardelli led the Beavers in the series netting three points (2g-1a) and posted two points (1g-1a) on the power-play.

• Cardelli logged a pair of goals, Adam Brady added two assists and Alex Ierullo posted one of each to pace BSU Saturday. Cardelli's two-goal night matched a career-high, while Ierullo recorded the third multi-point game of his BSU career.

• Brady's second assist Saturday stood as his 70th collegiate point.  In just under three seasons and 101 games, the senior leads all current BSU players with 70 points and 42 helpers. Junior Charlie Combs is currently BSU's top goal scorer with 32.

• Tyler Kirkup's game-winner Saturday was the first of the sophomore's career.

• Six different Beavers logged at least one point Friday led by Owen Sillinger and Brad Johnson, who each scored a goal.

• Friday's third-period goal was Johnson's third of the season and first since a two-goal night Nov. 1. His three goals this season match his career, single-season high.

• Sillinger has 20 points (9g-11a) in 26 games as a sophomore, surpassing his 38-game rookie season scoring total (10g-9a) and has a new single-season assist high with 11.

• Sillinger has at least one point in six of the Beavers' last eight games and has a team-best 10 points during that span.

• With his 11th assists Friday, Muck extended 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 13 (2g-11a).

• Muck has eight points in BSU's last seven games (1g-7a). That is over 29-percent of his career scoring (2g-25a in 138 games).

Elias Rosén has 12 assists this season to lead the Beavers. 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.

• Rookie Sam Solensky recorded his first collegiate assist Friday. He has a goal and an assist in six games as a Beaver.

• Tommy Muck (2g-9a) and Adam Brady (7g-4a) lead the Beavers' power-play scoring effort with 11 points apiece.

• Adam Brady, who played in his 100th game Friday, has seven of BSU’s 18 power-play goals this season. Of his 28 collegiate goals, 15 have come on the man advantage. Brady is tied for sixth in the country in power-play goals with seven.

• Driscoll is 13-6-2 in net in 2010-20. His .930 save percentage ranks 10th in the nation, while his 1.76 goals against average is third.

• Driscoll is 13-4-2 versus the WCHA and ranks second in goals against average (1.57) and save percentage (.938).

• Zach Driscoll logged his second assist of the season Saturday. He is the first BSU goaltender with two assists in a season since Andrew Walsh in 2012-13. He is one of seven goalies across the country with more than one helper this season.

• BSU’s sophomores have netted 77 points (34g-43a) to lead the scoring push. The team’s juniors are second with 26 goals and 36 assists for 62 points. It’s three seniors have 47 (17g-30a) and freshman 32 points (6g-26a). 

• BSU was 2-for-2 on the man advantage versus MSU. BSU now has nine power-play goals in its last seven games (9-for-21). BSU is 20-for-85 (.235) on the season, to sit 11th in the nation, and 19-for-71 (.268) to sit second in WCHA play.

• Allowing just seven power-play goals in 80 opportunities this season, BSU is third among NCAA Division I teams (.912). At .910 (61-of-67) in WCHA play, BSU leads the WCHA penalty-kill list.

• With 73 goals in 20 WCHA games, BSU's 3.65 goals per game ranks second in the WCHA to Minnesota State's 3.75.

• BSU has held its opponent to one goal or fewer in 11 of its 26 games this season. It is 10-0-1 in those games. That also means BSU is 4-8-3 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 5-7-1, has scored 2.23 goals per game and allowed 2.23.

• Saturday marked just the 10th time BSU has allowed 50 shots on goal since making the jump to the NCAA Division I level for the 1999-2000 season. It was the only time BSU has won a game and surrendered 50 shots or more (1-9-0).

• Saturday's 50-shot night for MSU marked the first time BSU has surrendered more than 40 shots since Princeton recorded 40 Nov. 24, 2017 and the first time BSU allowed 50 since at Minnesota (51) March 15, 2013.

• Driscoll logged a career-high 48 saves Saturday. It surpassed his previous best, 39, at UAF (11/1/19).

• BSU returns home to host Bowling Green this weekend. The Falcons own a 14-8-3 lead in the series, which includes a 3-1 victory and 2-2 draw, and 3-on-3 overtime win, when the teams last met, Feb. 22-23, 2019.

• The series is tied 5-5-2 in games played in Bemidji despite BGSU  holding BSU without a win at home (0-3-1) since Oct. 8, 2016.

• Aaron Miller leads all current BSU players with three points (1g-3a) versus the Falcons, while Adam Brady and Nick Cardelli have collected a power-play and game-winning goal in the series.

• BSU has just five games played versus teams among the top 15 in the USAToday/USA Hockey national poll this season, which includes three versus MSU. BSU is 1-2-2 in those games with Saturday standing as the only win.