BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Seventeen regular-season home games, 14 games versus 2021 NCAA Tournament participants, and a November road trip to Arizona State University highlight Bemidji State University’s 34-game 2021-22 men’s ice hockey schedule. The announcement came in conjunction with the release of the new Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s inaugural 104-game regular-season schedule and playoff format.
In addition to the Beavers’ 26-game CCHA slate, BSU has eight nonconference contests, which include a home-and-home series with Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota to open the season, the team’s first-ever trip to Arizona and a midseason home-and-home series with 2021 Frozen Four finalist St. Cloud State to celebrate the new year.
The Beavers break the seal on their 66th season of play Oct. 8, when they open the home-and-home series with Minnesota Duluth fresh off its fourth Frozen Four appearance in five years. The following weekend (Oct. 15-16), BSU will host North Dakota with Friday’s matchup taking place in Bemidji, Minn. and the non-conference series finale set for Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D.
Bemidji State will get its first taste of CCHA play Oct. 22-23 when it hits the road for a league series at Northern Michigan University to begin the battle for the coveted MacNaughton Cup, given annually to the league’s regular-season champion. The Beavers continue league play when they return to Sanford Center to host Bowling Green State University Oct. 29-30. After a week off, BSU will be back on the road Nov. 12-13 to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a matchup with fellow NCAA Tournament East Regional participant Lake Superior State University before a Nov. 19-20 series versus Michigan Technological University at Sanford Center.
The Beavers embark on their longest road swing of the season Nov. 26-27 when they travel to the Grand Canyon State to rekindle a non-conference series with Arizona State after five seasons. BSU’s trip to Tempe, Ariz. will mark the team’s first game played in the state and the furthest west BSU has ever traveled in the lower 48 states. Bemidji State will wrap the road trip with its first meeting with Minnesota’s sixth NCAA Division I program, University of St. Thomas. The first CCHA meeting between the teams is set for St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights, Minn. Dec. 3-4.
The team’s longest road trip will be immediately followed by a three-game homestand--BSU’s longest the 2021-22 regular season. The Beavers return to the friendly confines of Sanford Center Dec. 10-11 to welcome long-time intrastate rival Minnesota State University Mankato which is coming off the program’s first Frozen Four appearance. After a two-week break for the holidays, BSU will return to action Dec. 31 to open a home-and-home series with its third 2021 Frozen Four participant, St. Cloud State. The series finale will be played at SCSU’s Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on New Year’s Day and will put a lid on the Beavers’ non-conference lineup.
Bemidji State will play eight of its final 14 games at home. The team will begin its stretch run hosting Lake Superior State Jan. 7-8 before making its longest road trip of the season, over 900 miles, to Bowling Green Jan. 14-15. Head Coach Tom Serratore and the Beavers will return to Bemidji, Minn. Jan. 21-22 for their only 2021-22 series with Ferris State University before a trip to Houghton, Mich. Jan. 28-29 to battle Michigan Tech to complete play in the month of January.
The Beavers will host Northern Michigan at Sanford Center Feb. 4-5. After taking its final bye week of the season, BSU will travel to Mankato, Minn. for a Feb. 18-19 CCHA matchup with Minnesota State before wrapping up the 2021-22 regular season with St. Thomas’ first trip to Sanford Center Feb. 25-26.
The CCHA Playoffs will take place March 5-7. All eight teams will make the postseason with the regular season’s top four teams earning the right to host a best-of-three opening-round series. The winners advance to a single semifinal game played March 12 at the home sites of the two highest remaining seeds. The CCHA Playoff championship is set for Match 19 at the highest remaining seed. The winner of the CCHA Playoffs will not only earn possession of the Mason Cup, it will also clinch an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA Tournament is set for March 26-28. Advancing teams will be seeded into one of four regional sites, which include Albany, N.Y., Allentown, Penn., Loveland, Colo., and Worcester, Mass.
After a weekend off the ice, the four regional championship teams will participate in the Frozen Four, which will take place April 7 and 9 at TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
The Beavers’ 2020-21 season came to an end at 16-10-3 overall after posting an 8-5-1 record in Western Collegiate Hockey Association play to finish fourth in the final season of the league. BSU earned a No. 4 seed in the WCHA Playoffs and swept Michigan Tech in the opening round. After bowing out to eventual champion Lake Superior State in the WCHA semifinal, the Beavers earned their second at-large bit into the NCAA Tournament in program history and netted a 6-3 win over No. 4 University of Wisconsin in the semifinal before its bid for the Frozen Four fell one game short with a loss to eventual national champion University of Massachusetts in the regional final.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s hockey membership in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and its women’s hockey program in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.