Beavers and Mavericks square off for WCHA title

Beavers and Mavericks square off for WCHA title
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Beavers and Mavericks square off for WCHA title

BEMIDJI. Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team is back at Sanford Center this weekend for the final series of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season. The Beavers, currently second in the league standings, trail first-place Minnesota State by six points leaving the final series of the season to determine the WCHA’s 2019-20 champion and No. 1 seed in its postseason tournament.

This weekend’s top-15 matchup marks an extension to one of BSU’s most often revisited rivalries. The BSU-MSU series got its start Nov. 25, 1974 and has included 126 meetings, which is second to only Wisconsin-Superior (129 games) as BSU’s most familiar opponent of all time. The Mavericks enter the series with a 57-54-15 edge, while BSU is 34-22-5 when hosting Minnesota State in Bemidji, Minn. BSU has won just two if the last six meetings between the teams (2-0-4), but nine of the last 10 games of the series have been decided by two goals or fewer.

MSU and BSU split a WCHA series when they met in Mankato, Jan. 24-25. The Mavericks took a  3-2 win to open the series, but BSU bounced back with a 4-2 victory in the finale--handing MSU one of its four losses this season.

The series will get underway with a "greenout" from Sanford Center at 7:07 p.m. Friday, while the puck will drop for a "whiteout" at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets for the series still remain and are available at the Sanford Center Box Office beginning at $12 for adults and $8 for youth.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State recorded a 4-1 win to open its WCHA series at Alaska Anchorage, Feb. 21. BSU then tied 2-2 Saturday before a win in 3-on-3 play to earn the extra point in the standings. BSU moved to 19-8-5 overall and 19-4-3-2 in WCHA play.

• With 19 WCHA wins, BSU has earned more league wins only once since joining the WCHA in 2010-11, a 20-win 2016-17 campaign (20-6-2) that was capped with a regular-season title.

• Seeking its 20th win this weekend, it would be BSU's sixth 20-win season at the NCAA D-I level and its first since 2016-17.

• Now 11-1-2 since Jan. 1, only Arizona State (12-2-0) and Minnesota State (12-1-1) have more wins than BSU during the same time frame, while BSU (.857) is second to Minnesota State  in winning percentage in the second half of the year (.893).

• Adam Brady (2g) and Tommy Muck (2a) led the Beavers to victory Friday. It was the fifth multi-goal game of the year for Brady, while it stood as Muck's fifth multi-point effort of 2019-20.

• Sillinger, now with 30 points (12g-18a) following a goal Friday, has at least one point in 11 of the Beavers' last 14 games and has a team- and league-best 20 points during that span.

• Brady's two-goal night Friday pushed him into BSU's scoring lead with a career-high 31 points (17g-14a). He previously netted 27 points (8g-18a) as a sophomore in 2017-18.

• With Brady and Sillinger each over the 30-point plateau, BSU has its first 30-point duo since 2010-11 when Jordan George (17g-19a) and Matt Read (22g-13a) accomplished the feat.

• Alex Ierullo has a point four straight games (2g-3a). He has doubled his rookie scoring total (6g-3a) with 20 points (6g-13a).

• Freshman Carter Jones scored the first goal of his BSU career Friday. It was his first point in eight games (Jan. 10). After an assist Saturday he has  five points (1g-5a) in 25 games as a freshman.

• Elias Rosén saw his five-game assist streak come to an end Friday, but with 17 assists this season, no BSU freshman has had more assists since Jordan George posted 21 in 2009-10.

• With 21 points (4g-17a), Rosén is second among WCHA rookies and tied for third among NCAA Division I defenders in scoring.

• Netting a power-play goal Friday, Adam Brady has 11 of BSU’s 28 power-play goals this season. Brady surpassed Brendan Cook  for BSU Division I-era single-season power-play goal mark. Cook had 10 in both 2003-04 and 2004-05.

• Of Brady’s 33 collegiate goals, 19 have come on the man advantage. Brady is second in the country with 11 power-play goals.

• In the 13 games since Jan. 4, Tommy Muck has 13 points (3g-10a). That accounts for 40-percent of the senior's collegiate scoring (4g-28a) in just eight-percent of the games (145).

• Charlie Combs as a point in four straight (3g-1a) and nine of the last 11 games (5g-4a) for the Beavers.

• Zach Driscoll is 18-6-4 in net in 2019-20. His .936 save percentage ranks third in the nation, while his 1.63 goals against average is second. He is 18-4-3 versus the WCHA and is second in the league in save percentage (.945) and GAA (1.47).

• BSU’s sophomores have netted 98 points (42g-56a) to lead the scoring push. The team’s juniors are second with 34 goals and 50 assists for 84 points. It’s three seniors have 60 (24g-36a) and freshman 39 points (7g-32a).

• BSU was 2-for-9 on the man advantage at UAA. BSU now has 17 power-play goals in its last 13 games (17-for-46). BSU is 28-for-110 (.255) on the season, to sit eighth in the nation, and 27-for-96 (.281) to lead the WCHA.

• Allowing just 10 power-play goals in 100 opportunities this season, no NCAA team has allowed fewer. BSU is third among NCAA Division I teams (.900). At .893 (75-of-84) in WCHA play, BSU is second on the WCHA penalty-kill list.

• BSU has scored at least four goals in 10 of the team's last 14 games and has outscored its opponents 28-9 in its last seven.

• BSU has held its opponent to one goal or fewer in 15 of its 32 games this season. It is 14-0-1 in those games.

• This weekend the Beavers host No. 2/3 Minnesota State to wrap up the regular season. MSU owns a 57-54-15 edge in the series. BSU has a 34-22-5 lead in series games played in Bemidji, but the Mavericks have won four of the last six (4-2-0).\

• MSU and BSU split when they met in Mankato, Jan. 24-25. The Mavericks took a  3-2 win to open the series, but BSU bounced back with a 4-2 victory in the finale--handing MSU one of its four losses this season.

• Adam Brady leads all current BSU players with six points (2g-4a), including a power-play goal in 11 games versus the Mavericks.

• BSU is 10-1-3 at home this season and has not lost on home ice since it fell to Alaska (5-3) Dec. 7. The Beavers have averaged  4.14 goals per game at Sanford Center, while they have surrendered 1.79.

• Bemidji State is 1-2-2 versus teams ranked in the top 15 by USAToday/USA Hockey this season, but has not met a top-15 opponenet since it moved into the top 15 itself.