BEMIDJI. Minn. -- The Bemidji State men's hockey team (9-6-3; 4-3-1 WCHA) is preparing for a home-and-home series with Minnesota State (15-2-1; 10-0-0 WCHA) Thursday and Sunday. The puck is set to drop in Mankato, Minn. at 7:07 p.m. Thursday and Saturday's series finale will take place at 6:07 p.m. at Sanford Center Saturday.
The BSU-MSU series is one of the Beavers most often visited rivalries. In the 132 meetings since the teams first met in 1974, Minnesota State holds a 60-56-16 edge in the series and a 33-19-11 advantage in games played in Mankato, Minn., while BSU is 36-24-5 when hosting the Mavericks in Bemidji, Minn.
This season the teams have already met four times with MSU holding a 2-1-1 edge in the season series, which also includes a shootout victory. But in the last seven meetings between the teams, the series is locked 3-3-1.
Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State improved to 9-6-3 overall and 4-3-1 in WCHA play Feb. 19-20 on the road at Michigan Tech. After a 4-1 win at MTU Friday, BSU posted a 2-1 victory Saturday.
• This weekend BSU keeps its focus on WCHA play as the regular season is running out. The Beavers face Minnesota State in a home-and-home series. It will mark the fifth and sixth meetings between the intrastate rivals. MSU has two wins and a tie with a shoot out win (2-1-1), while BSU has one victory in the season series (1-2-1).
• The BSU-MSU rivalry dates back to 1974. In the 132 previous meetings between the teams, Minnesota State holds a 60-56-16 edge in the series, while BSU is 35-25-5 when playing the Mavericks in Bemidji, Minn.
• In the last seven meetings between the teams, the series is tied at 3-3-1, while MSU owns a 19-17 edge in goals scored.
• Ethan Somoza leads all current Beavers with eight points (3g-5a) in 12 career games versus MSU.
• Zach Driscoll is the only BSU goaltender with any previous experience versus MSU. He is 3-5-1 in 11 appearances with a 3.07 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
• Ethan Somoza netted the 20th goal of his career Friday. He ranks behind only Owen Sillinger (33) and Aaron Miller (29) for career goals scored among current Beavers.
• Zach Driscoll is the only BSU goaltender with any previous experience versus MTU. Following Saturday’s win he is 6-2-1 in eight games with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. Two of his six wins versus MTU have been shutouts.
• Driscoll posted 47 saves Friday to come just one stop short of his career-best 48 saves, set in a 4-2 win over Minnesota State Jan. 25, 2020. It was a WCHA season-high. He has now posted 40-or-more saves on three occasions during his BSU career.
• With 19 saves in the first and third periods Friday, Driscoll equaled a WCHA single-period high for 2020-21 (David Fessenden, UAH vs. FSU (3rd) (1/9/21))
• Brad Johnson posted his second goal of the season Friday. Both of his goals have stood as game winners. Now four of his 11 collegiate goals have been game-winners. He is tied with Aaron Miller (4) for second among current BSU players. Owen Sillinger leads the BSU roster with five collegiate game-winning goals.
• Junior Tyler Kirkup recorded an assist Friday. He now has six points (1g-5a) this season and has posted a point in three of BSU’s last five games (1g-2a).
• Alex Ierullo leads the Beavers in scoring with 15 points (4g-11a). He recorded an assist Friday to shake a two-game stretch without a point before adding a goal Saturday. He has nine points in BSU’s last eight games (3g-6a).
• Ierullo’s 11 helpers pace the team nearly doubling the next highest assist men (Brendan Harris (6) and Tyler Vold (6)).
• Friday’s game stood as the 50 of Kyle Looft’s BSU career, while it was the 80th for Tyler Kirkup. Ethan Somoza leads all current Beavers with 122 collegiate games under his belt.
• 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.
• MTU was 0-for-5 on the man advantage Friday and 1-for-2 Saturday. On the season, BSU is 45-for-49 (.918) to trail only St. Lawrence on the national penalty-kill chart and is 20-for-22 (.909) in WCHA play to rank second the league.
• BSU failed to net a power-play goal in three chances versus MTU. The Beavers are now 8-for-57 (.140) on the season, while they are 5-for-25 (.200) on the man advantage in WCHA play to rank third.
• Driscoll’s total of 504 saves this season leads the WCHA and ranks sixth in the country despite playing only 17 games.
• With 47 saves Friday, Zack Driscoll surpassed Robin Cook (2,115 - 1992-96) for ninth on BSU’s all-time saves list with 2,179. He remains 22 saves behind Matt Clime (2,201 - 2004-08) in eighth place.
• Driscoll’s win Saturday was his 45 victory at BSU. He is now tied with Matt Climie (2004-08) for 10th on BSU’s wins list.
• BSU is 5-2-3 on the road this season and has put up 3.30 goals per game, while allowing 2.20. Six of BSU’s eight power-play goals have come on opponents’ ice (6/35 .171), while it is 27-of-30 (.900) on the penalty kill.
• BSU has averaged more than a goal per game more on the road this season (3.30) than at home (2.25).
• BSU is 4-4-0 at Sanford Center this season and has 2.25 goals per game, while allowing 2.75. In addition, BSU is 2-for-22 (.091) on the man advantage at home, while it is 18-of-19 (.947) on the penalty kill.
• BSU is unbeaten this season when it is tied or in the lead after two periods of play at 8-0-3. On the flip side, the Beavers are 0-6-0 when trailing after 40 minutes of play.
• Friday stands as BSU Head Coach Tom Serratore’s 400th WCHA game. He will be the 20th coach in league history to coach 400 games as a member of the WCHA. He is 127-119-45 (.600) in league play since 2010-11.