Bemidji State set for WCHA clash at Michigan Tech

Bemidji State set for WCHA clash at Michigan Tech
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Bemidji State set for WCHA clash at Michigan Tech

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men's hockey team (7-6-3; 2-3-1 WCHA) returns to the road this weekend, making a trip to Houghton, Mich. for a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with Michigan Technological University (14-5-1; 4-2-0 WCHA). The puck is set to drop at 6:07 p.m. (CT) Friday and Saturday's series finale will take place at 5:07 p.m. (CT) from MacInnes Arena.

The series marks the third and fourth times the Beavers and Huskies have met this season. When the teams clashed at Sanford Center Dec. 12-13, BSU opened the series with a 6-3 victory behind a goal and an assist from Alex Ierullo and a pair of assists from Owen Sillinger and Aaron Miller. The Huskies bounced back in game two posting a 3-0 victory.

Since the teams first met in 2007, MTU holds a 17-13-6 edge in the series, which includes a 8-3-5 mark when hosting the Beavers in Houghton, Mich.  However, BSU has lost just once in its last seven meetings with MTU (5-1-1).

At 14-5-1 overall and 4-2-0 in league play, Michigan Tech is one of the hottest teams in the WCHA. Since the last time these teams met, the Huskies are 12-2-0 and come into the week of action riding a six game winning streak and is fourth in the league standings. After six league games this season, BSU is 2-3-1 an sits in sixth place.

Bemidji State notables:

• Bemidji State dipped to 7-6-3 overall and 2-3-1 in WCHA play Feb. 12-13. After a 5-1 loss to Northern Michigan Friday, BSU erased a pair of one-goal deficits Saturday to push the game to overtime, but the Wildcats prevailed in the 3-on-3 overtime, 3-2.

• The Beavers’ 5-1 loss Friday snapped the team’s six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) dating back Jan. 7.

• Junior Tyler Kirkup recorded the first goal of his junior season Friday accounting for BSU’s only tally. Prior to Friday, his last goal came Jan. 31, 2020. He as five points (1g-4a) this season.

• Ross Armour earned and assist Friday. He has a helper in two of BSU’s last three  games and has four this season.

• Alex Ierullo leads the Beavers in scoring with 13 points (3g-10a). Although he failed to log a point Feb. 12-13 versus NMU, he has seven points in BSU’s last six games (2g-5a).

• Already matching his career-high for assists in a season, Tyler Vold needs one point to equal his career-high for points and a goal to match his career-high single-season goal mark (2g-6a) set in 37 appearances in 2019-20.

• Ethan Somoza logged a goal Saturday. He now has six goals in 16 games as a senior to match a  career high (6g) set a year ago.

• Sam Solensky snapped a 20-game streak without a goal netting his first of 2020-21 Saturday. His last came Jan. 10, 2020.

• Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss marked he first time BSU had dropped an OT game since Nov. 25, 2019--a streak spanning seven games (1-0-6).

• NMU was 1-for-5 on the man advantage in the series. On the season, BSU is 39-for-42 (.929) to sit second nationally on the penalty-kill chart and is 14-for-15 (.933) in WCHA play to match Minnesota State for the league’s lead.

• BSU surrendered its first power-play goal since Dec. 18 Friday snapping a 10-game stretch during which the BSU penalty-kill unit was a perfect 30-for-30.

• BSU failed to net a power-play goal in eight chances Feb. 12-13 The Beavers are now 8-for-54 (.148) on the season, while they are 5-for-22 (.227) on the man advantage in WCHA play to rank fourth.

• NMU’s five-goal outburst matched the largest goal total BSU has given up this season, but marks the first time a BSU opponent has logged more than three goals since Dec. 18. It also marked NMU’s highest single-game goal total in the history of the series.

• The Beavers have been held to one goal or less just four times this season. BSU is 0-3-1 in those games.

• With 17 saves Friday, Zack Driscoll surpassed Jack Horner (2,062 - 1974-78) for 10th on BSU’s all-time saves list with 2,099. He remains 16 saves behind Robin Cook (2,115 - 1992-96).

• Driscoll’s 424 saves this season leads the WCHA and ranks 10th in the country despite playing only 15 games.

• Freshman goaltender Gavin Enright made his collegiate debut Friday making three saves in 5:10 of play in relief of Driscoll.

• This weekend BSU returns to the road to battle Michigan Tech for the third and fourth meetings of this season. The teams split a series in Bemidji, Dec. 12-13, while MTU holds a 17-13-6 edge in the all-time series dating back to 2007 and an 8-3-5 edge in games played at MacInnes Arena.

• BSU has lost just one time in the last six meetings with Michigan Tech (5-1-1).

• Owen Sillinger and Ethan Somoza lead BSU with six points each versus MTU. Somoza paces all BSU players with three goals versus the Huskies, which includes a game-winning goal.

• Zach Driscoll is the only BSU goaltender with any previous experience versus MTU. He is 4-2-1 in seven appearances with a 2.27 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.  Two of his four wins versus MTU have comes as shutouts.

• BSU is 3-2-3 on the road this season and has put up 3.38 goals per game, while allowing 2.50. Six of BSU’s eight power-play goals have come on opponents’ ice (6/32 .188), while it is 21-of-23 (.913) on the penalty kill.

• BSU is unbeaten this season when it is tied or in the lead after two periods of play at 6-0-3. On the flip side, the Beavers are 0-6-0 when trailing after 40 minutes of play.

• BSU has been a much better team on Saturdays this season.  While BSU is 3-2-1 on Friday nights, they are averaging just over three goals per game while allowing the same and are  .850 on the penalty kill. Saturday, BSU is 3-1-1 while scoring and average of four goals per game and allowing just two. In addition, BSU power-play unit is clicking at 19 percent on Saturday while its a perfect 11-for-11 on the penalty kill.