BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team returns to action this weekend as it travels to Mankato, Minn. To wrap up the 2020-21 non-conference season with a pair of games versus No. 5 Minnesota State University. The series is a part of a four-game, BSU-MSU weekend of hockey at Mayo Clinic Health System Center. The BSU women’s will face the Mavericks Thursday and Friday, while the BSU men will face MSU at 7:37 p.m. Friday evening to open the men’s series before a 5:07 p.m. start for the final game of the 2020 calendar year.
The Beavers travel to MSU looking to snap a two-game losing streak to the Mavericks and 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.
In one of the Beavers’ most often revisited series rivalries, BSU and MSU have met 129 since 1974. BSU holds a slight 58-56-15 edge, which includes a 19-32-10 mark in games played in Mankato, Minn. but has just three four in the last 15 meetings (4-10-1).
The Beavers and Mavericks met to open the season Nov. 22 and MSU handed BSU a 5-0 loss.
Not unlike BSU and Sanford Center, no fans will be in attendance at Mayo Clinic Health System Center this weekend. While no fans will be allowed inside the venue, there are still options for fans to follow the Beavers live. All four games this weekend will again be streamed on FloHockey through the WCHA.tv 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 evened its record Saturday with a 6-3 non-conference victory over Michigan Tech before the Huskies battled back to a earn a series split with a 3-0 shutout victory Sunday. BSU is now 1-2-0 on the season.
- Friday’s win extended BSU’s unbeaten streak versus MTU to five-games (4-0-1) dating back to Dec. 1, 2018.
- Saturday’s 6-3 triumph matched BSU’s largest margin of victory (3) and BSU’s top goal-scoring output in the all-time series.
- Sunday’s loss marked just the second time MTU has shut out the Beavers since the series began in 2007 and the first since Jan. 18, 2013.
- The shutout also marks the second time an opponent has blanked BSU on home ice this year. The last time BSU was shut out at home twice in a season was Feb. 2-3, 2018 when BSU dropped back-to-back games to Lake Superior State (2-0 and 2-0).
- BSU finished the 2019-20 season 22-10-5 overall and was ranked No. 11 in the final national polls. The Beavers were 20-6-2 in WCHA play to finish second and earn their 10th consecutive trip to the WCHA postseason.
- The Beavers were selected to finish second both by the WCHA coaches and its media in the annual 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.
- BSU wraps up the calendar year and non-conference play at No. 5 Minnesota State Friday and Saturday. In the previous 129 meeting since the BSU-MSU series began in 1974, BSU holds a slight 58-56-15 edge, which includes a 19-32-10 mark in games played in Mankato, Minn.
- While the Beavers have won just three of the last 14 meetings between the teams (3-10-1), BSU has won two of the last four.
- Nick Cardelli leads all current BSU players with five points (3g-2a) in eight previous games versus the Mavericks, while Tyler Kirkup is the only member of the BSU roster to have logged a game-winning goal against MSU.
- Zach Driscoll is 2-4-0 versus MSU all-time with a 3.56 goals against average and .886 save percentage. He struggled versus MSU Nov. 22 allowing five goals in 49:53.
- Last year BSU was 9-6-2 on the road and averaged nearly three goals per game (2.88). Owen Sillinger returns as BSU’s top road scoring option netting 16 points (7g-9a) in 17 road games.
- Driscoll was solid on the road going 9-5-2 with a 1.62 goals against and .941 save percentage.
- Saturday’s scoring burst of three goals in 54 seconds marked BSU’s fastest three goals since March 6, 2004 when Peter Johnsson, Andrew Martens and Bill Methven netted goals the Beavers in 53 seconds versus Niagara.
- When Ethan Somoza scored at the 5:46 mark of the second period Saturday, followed by Alex Ierullo 10 seconds later, it marked the fastest two goals by the Beavers since the team jumped to the NCAA Division I level in 1999-2000.
- Brendan Harris’s goal Saturday it marked his first since March 1, 2019--a span of 14 games due to his injury-shortened 2019-20 campaign.
- Lukas Sillinger found the back of the net at the 6:40 mark of the second period Saturday to record his first collegiate goal. His older brother Owen was credited with an assist on the play.
- Alex Ierullo’s game-winning goal Saturday stood as the second of his career. His first came Dec. 7, 2018 in a 4-0 victory versus Alabama-Huntsville.
- BSU’s six goals Saturday marked its largest goal scoring output since a 7-1 victory over Lake Superior State, Nov. 8, 2019.
- BSU freshman Eric Martin will made his collegiate debut Sunday. The right-handed forward from Calgary, Alberta, recorded a shot on goal in the game.
- No NCAA team allowed fewer than BSU’s 10 power-play goals last year (103-113). BSU’s .912 PK ranked second in the nation.
- The Beavers’ penalty-kill unit has picked up right where it left off in 2019-20. Through three games, BSU has yet to allow a power-play goal (5-5).
- BSU is searching for its first power-play goal of 20-21. Through three games it is 0-for-6. The Beavers’ last power-play goal came in the second period of its March 8 3-1 WCHA Playoff victory over Lake Superior State. BSU was 1-for-7 that afternoon.
- The Beavers allowed a BSU Division I-era low record of 71 goals in 2019-20. Through just three games in 2020-21, BSU has surrendered 11, or 3.7 per game. If that pace stuck for the entire season, BSU end up allowing 70.3 goals in half the games (19).