Bemidji State hosts Michigan Tech in return to action

Bemidji State hosts Michigan Tech in return to action
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Bemidji State hosts Michigan Tech in return to action

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University men’s hockey team returns to action after more than two weeks without competition Saturday and Sunday to host Michigan Technological University in a nonconference series at Sanford Center.  The series will get underway with a 4:07 p.m. opening faceoff Saturday before wrapping the two-game set up with a 2:07 p.m. matinee Sunday.

The Beavers welcome the Huskies to Sanford Center seeking their first victory of the season and look to avoid dropping back-to-back games for the first time since Falling in three straight Dec. 7-Dec. 29 of last season. The Beavers dropped their season-opener, 5-0, to Minnesota State Nov. 22.

Facing MTU for the first time since Jan. 17-18, 2020, the Beavers trail MTU 16-12-6 in a series that got its start in 2006-07. The Beavers are unbeaten in the last four meetings between the teams (3-0-1) and have not lost to the Huskies since a Dec. 1, 2018 7-2 contest in Houghton, Mich. The Beavers own a 10-7-0 edge in the series in games played at Sanford Center and have not lost to the Huskies on home ice since a March 3, 2018 5-4 loss in the WCHA playoffs.

The goal of the WCHA and BSU is to provide a safe environment for the student-athletes, coaches, fans, and staff.  With that in mind, no fans will be allowed at BSU women’s or men’s hockey games hosted at Sanford Center until further notice. 

While no fans will be allowed inside Sanford Center, there are still options for fans to follow the Beavers live. All games will again be streamed on FloHockey through the platform on a pay-to-view subscription basis. As always, all games will also be carried by RP Broadcasting and the Beaver Radio Network both online and on the FM radio dial.

Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State opened its long-awaited 2020-21 season hosting No. 5 Minnesota State at Sanford Center Nov. 22. The Beavers dropped the opener 5-0 marking the first time since a 3-2 loss at then No. 9 St. Cloud State, Oct. 11, 2013, that the Beavers have dropped an opener.

• The BSU-MSU series finale set for Nov. 23 was postponed indefinitely due to positive COVID-19 tests within the Minnesota State program. BSU also had its Nov. 27-28 series at Minnesota State postponed and lost its Dec. 4-5 series at NMU. 

• Failing to find the back of the net  Nov. 22, the Beavers were shutout out at home for the first time since Merrimack posted a 1-0 victory over the Beavers at Sanford Center, Nov. 10, 2018.

• The 5-0 loss was the worst for BSU at home in the series since Minnesota State handed BSU an 8-3 loss, Dec. 17, 1988.

• The 5-0 loss marked the first time MSU has shut BSU out since a 2-0 win Dec. 29, 2019.

BSU added the services of six new freshman to the roster for 2020-21: Gavin Enright, G, Farmington, Minn.; Austin Jouppi, F, Duluth, Minn.; Jack Powell, D, Alexandria, Minn.; Eric Martin, F, Calgary, Alberta; Lukas Sillinger, F, Regina, Saskatchewan and Aaron Myers, F, Thief River Falls, Minn.

• Jack Powell and Lukas Sillinger made their BSU debuts Nov. 22. Powell recorded two shots and posted an even plus/minus rating, while Sillinger was a -2.

• In his return to the ice, senior goaltender and 2019-20 All-WCHA selection Zach Driscoll, turned aside 20 of the 24 shots he faced in his first loss of the season (0-1-0). He finished his junior season 21-8-4 in net. His .937 save percentage was fourth in the nation, while his 1.63 goals against average ranked third in the country. He was 19-5-3 in WCHA play and was second in the league in save percentage (.944) and GAA (1.48).

• Sophomore goaltender Michael Carr made his college debut in relief of Zach Driscoll Nov. 22. He posted two saves in 10:07.

• The Beavers were selected to finish second both by the WCHA coaches and its media in the 2020-21 preseason polls.  The coaches selected sophomore defenseman Elias Rosén to the Preseason All-WCHA Team, while Rosén and junior forward Owen Sillinger were named to the 2020-21 Media All-WCHA Team.

• Sillinger, a Second Team All-WCHA selection a year ago, netted a career-high 34 points (14g-20a) to match Adam Brady for the team’s scoring lead. Their 34 points were most for a BSU player since Jordan George netted 36 (17g-19a) in 2010-11.

• Aaron Miller finished his junior season with a career-high 29 (12g-17a) points.

• Third Team All-WCHA pick and member of the 2019-20 WCHA All-Rookie Team, Elias Rosén had seven helpers and a goal in BSU’s final 11 games of 2091-20. His 24 points (5g-19a), was second among NCAA freshmen defenders in scoring, while he is third among WCHA defenders and fourth among all WCHA rookies.

• No NCAA team allowed fewer than BSU’s 10 power-play goals a year ago(103-113) and that trend continued through the season opener. The Beavers held the MSU power-play unit in check snuffing out it only opportunity. 

• The BSU penalty kill in 2019-20 was historically good. Prior to last winter, the Beavers’ best season on the kill was 2016-17 when it was 139-for-158 and finished .880. BSU’s record for fewest power-play goals allowed in a season was 18 in 2017-18.

• The Beavers allowed a BSU Division I-era low record of 71 goals in 2019-20. It’s previous record was 79 set in 2016-17.

• BSU is now scheduled to host Michigan Tech, Dec. 12-13 in its first game since Nov. 22. The Beavers currently trail MTU in the all-time series 12-16-6, but are unbeaten in the last four meetings with the Huskies (3-0-1) all of which came at Sanford Center.

• BSU has outscored MTU 12-5 in the previous four meetings and have averaged nearly three goals (2.93) per game all-time.

• BSU is 10-7-0 when hosting the Huskies and has not lost on home ice since a 5-4 loss March 3, 2018.

• No current BSU player has had more success versus the Huskies than Ross Miller. He has five assists in six games versus MTU for an average of 0.83 points per game. Ethan Somoza has also logged five points (2g-3a) versus MTU, including a game-winner.

• In the nets, Zach Driscoll is 3-1-1 in his career versus the Huskies, including a pair of shutouts. He carries a career 1.95 GAA and a .922 save percentage versus MTU.

• A year ago, BSU went 13-3-3 at home as Owen Sillinger and Aaron Miller tied for the team’s lead in scoring at home with 18 points (7g-11a) apiece. Elias Rosén led all players with eight points (8a) on the man advantage as the Beavers were 13-for-62 (.210) on the man advantage on home ice.

• Driscoll was 12-3-2 with a pair of shutouts on home ice last winter. He posted a .934 save percentage and ranked eight in the nation toting a 1.64 goals against average at Sanford Center.