BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team (3-4-2; 1-1-0-0 WCHA) returns to Sanford Center this weekend as it hosts the University of Alabama-Huntsville (2-5-1; 2-2-0-0 WCHA) for a pair of Western Collegiate Hockey Association contests. The series will get underway at 7:07 p.m. Friday with a 6:07 p.m. puck drop set for Saturday.
The Beavers welcome UAH unbeaten in four of the last five contests (2-1-2), while they look to extend a current four-game wining streak versus the Chargers.
Since the late 1990s, one of the Beavers’ most historic and anticipated rivalries is the BSU-UAH series. In addition to being current members of the WCHA and charter members of College Hockey America (1999-2009), these teams have a long-standing, bitter rivalry dating back to the NCAA Division II days. The Chargers and Beavers met in the national tournament on four occasions with BSU defeating UAH for NCAA Division II titles in 1994 and at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse in 1997.
BSU opens its series with the Chargers owning a 55-32-5 all-time advantage versus UAH and is 31-10-2 all-time when hosting the series.
Sanford Center, just like all ofther state university athletic facilities, continue to operate under guidance from the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities to limit in-person activities on campus until at least February 1. While no fans will be allowed inside the venue, there are still options for fans to follow the Beavers live. Both of this weekend's games will 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 at 92.1 on the FM radio dial.
Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State pushed its record to 3-4-2 following a 3-2 loss and a 4-3 overtime victory at No. 6 Bowling Green last weekend to open WCHA play. The Beavers enter the weekend 1-1-0-0 in WCHA play to currently sit fifth in the league standings.
• The Beavers’ 3-2 loss Thursday snapped a three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-2) dating back to a 1-1 (ot) tie with then-No. 5 Minnesota State in Mankato, Minn. Dec. 19, 2020.
• Thursday also stood as the 2020-21 WCHA opener for BSU. Since 2012-13, the Beavers are 10-5-2 in the opening WCHA series of the season, which includes a 2-1-0 marker versus Bowling Green, and 4-3-2 in the first league game of the season.
• BSU is now 11-15-3 all-time versus Bowling Green and is 4-10-1 all-time at Slater Family Ice Arena, however, BSU is 3-1-0 inn its last four meetings with BGSU dating back to a series sweep (4-1 and 4-2) in Bemidji, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 of last year.
• BSU’s win Friday was its first in Bowling Green since Jan. 3, 2019--a 3-2 victory over a Falcons team ranked No. 8 in the nation.
• Junior forward Owen Sillinger leads all current Beavers versus the Falcons with seven points (3g-4a).
• Zach Driscoll is the only BSU goaltender with any experience versus the Falcons. He is 4-3-1 in seven career appearances with a .923 save percentage and a 2.12 goals against average.
• Brendan Harris netted his team-leading fifth goal of the season in the second period Thursday. It was the 40th point of his collegiate career.
• Harris added an assist on the game-winner Friday and leads the team in scoring with eight points (5g-3a). He enters the Alabama-Huntsville series riding a six-game scoring streak (4g-3a). He has already doubled his four-point (4a), injury-shortened (11 games) junior season point total in just nine games.
• With his fifth goal in the eighth game of 2020-21, Harris has already established a single-season high for goals scored. He netted four goals as a freshman and again as a sophomore.
• Ross Armour was credited with an assist on Harris’s goal Thursday. It was the first point of his junior campaign and stood as his 20th career point.
• Thursday’s goal by Owen Sillinger snapped a three-game streak without a point for the junior, who tied for the team’s scoring lead a year ago netting 34 points (14g-20a). Sillinger added a goal Friday to tie for third in scoring with five points (3g-2a).
• Senor Tyler Vold stands as BSU’s top-scoring defender after collecting his third and fourth assists Jan. 7-8. Through nine games, he has five points (1g-4a) to account for 29-percent of his career scoring (7g-10a).
• Alex Ierullo and Elias Rosén each posted a pair of assists in Friday’s win to lead BSU in scoring. It was the first multi-point game for each this season.
• Ethan Somoza potted Friday’s overtime game-winner. It marked an end to a five-game stretch without a goal for the senior and stood as the second game-winning goal of his career. His first came as a freshman, Feb. 9, 2018 at Michigan Tech.
• Freshman Eric Martin earned his first collegiate goal in Friday’s win. Through seven games he has two points (1g-1a) to sit second among BSU rookies in scoring. Lukas Sillinger leads all BSU newcomers with four points (2g-2a).
• Through nine games, BSU’s scoring has been well distributed. Eleven different players have scored goals and 18 players have at least one point.
• 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 BSU penalty-kill unit surrendered two power-play goals in Dec. 18, but has been flawless in the other eight games this season. In all, BSU is 23-for-25 (.920) to sit third in the nation behind Michigan Tech (.958) and Minnesota State (.923).
• After going 1-for-24 (.042) on the power-play during the first seven games of the season, BSU connected in back-to-back games Jan. 7-8. Thursday’s power-play goal by Brendan Harris snapped an 0-for-17 stretch.
• The Beavers now shift their focus to Alabama-Huntsville (2-5-1; 2-2-0-0 WCHA). The Chargers enter a weekend after a sweep over Northern Michigan to pick up their first two WCHA wins of the season (5-4 (OT) and 2-0).
• BSU is 55-32-5 all-time versus UAH and is 31-10-2 all-time when hosting the Chargers. Since the 2013-14 season, BSU is 15-3-1 versus the Chargers and enter the series with the last four wins in the rivalry.
• Senior forward Aaron Miller leads all current Beavers versus the Chargers with seven points (3g-4a) in eight career games, while sophomore Elias Rosén has six points (3g-3a) in just four games versus the Chargers.
• Zach Driscoll is the only BSU goaltender with any prior experience versus UAH. He is 4-1-0 in five career appearances with a .903 save percentage and a 2.23 goals against average.
• January has traditionally been BSU’s best month of the season. Since its moved to the NCAA Division I level in 1999-2000 the team is 79-57-15 (.576) and is already 2-1-1 this season.
• BSU went 14-3-2 from Jan. 1 to the end of the 2019-20 season. BSU trailed only Minnesota State (15-2-1) across the nation for wins lead during that time, while BSU’s (.798) winning percentage stood as the fourth-best second half winning percentage in the NCAA a year ago.
• This season BSU has already played five games versus teams among the top 10 in the country. The Beavers are 1-3-1 in those games.
• Thursday’s loss to BGSU marked the first time this season BSU has dropped a game when they were first to score. BSU is now 2-1-2 when they are first to light the scoreboard.
• Friday’s 26-save night marked goaltender Zach Driscoll’s win 40th in a BSU sweater. He is quickly approaching the top 10 and Matt Clime (2004-08) who sits in 10th place all-time with 45 wins.