Beavers open home league play with Bowling Green this weekend

Beavers open home league play with Bowling Green this weekend
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Beavers open home league play with Bowling Green this weekend

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The No. 17 Bemidji State men's hockey team will host Bowling Green this weekend to open regular-season CCHA play at Sanford Center. The Beavers and Falcons open the series with a 7:07 p.m. puck drop Friday before a 6:07 p.m. start for the series finale.

The Beavers and Falcons initiated their rivalry in 2011 as non-conference foes.  BSU swept the series at Sanford Center (4-1 and 2-1) Dec. 3- and 31 of that season but would earn just one victory over BGSU in the next eight meetings (6-1-1) as members of the WCHA.  IN all, Bowling Greens owns a 15-13-3 edge in the all-time series, but BSU is 5-1-1 versus the Falcons since Feb. 23, 2019, and enters the weekend series riding a three-game winning streak. In addition, BSU is 9-5-2 when hosting the Falcons and has won the last four times the teams have met at Sanford Center.

Tickets for each game of the series are still available and begin at just $12 (plus taxes and fees). Stop by the Sanford Center Box Office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and from 10 a.m. until puck drop Friday. Tickets are also available at anytime online by visiting Ticketmaster.com.

BSU Notables:

• Bemidji State continues Central Collegiate Hockey Association play this weekend when it returns to Sanford Center to host Bowling Green State University. The puck drops on the series at 7:07 p.m. Friday and will wrap up with a 6:07 p.m. opening faceoff Saturday.

• The Beavers open the weekend series as the nation’s No. 17 team according to USCHO.com, while Bowling Green is among “teams receiving votes.” It marks BSU’s fifth straight week among the top 20 teams in the country.

• BSU trails Bowling Green 13-15-3 in the all-time series dating back to the first meeting between the teams in 2011, however, the Beavers open Friday’s series opener 5-1-1 versus the Falcons since Feb. 23, 2019, which includes a nonconference series sweep at Sanford Center Jan. 21-22 of last season. BSU is also 4-0-1 in its last five games versus the Falcons at Sanford Center.

• BSU’s last home loss to BGSU came as a 3-1 loss Feb. 22, 2019.

• Owen Sillinger leads all current BSU players with eight points (5g-3a) in 10 career games versus Bowling Green, while Alex Ierullo has six points (3g-3a) versus the Falcons, which includes a game-winning goal, and Ethan Somoza leads the team with two of his three career goals versus BGSU standing as game-winners.

• None of the Beavers’ current goaltenders have made a previous appearance versus Bowling Green. However, Rookie goaltender Mattias Sholl has a connection to the Falcons’ hockey program. His older brother, Tomas Sholl, was a goaltender for BG from 2013-17 and posted a career record of 7-10-0 in 1,004 minutes with a 2.93 goals-against average and .891 career save percentage.  He went on to play professionally for Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), Texas Stars (AHL) and is currently he is playing for Italian club HC Pustertal Wölfe in the ICEHL.

• Sholl is the reigning  CCHA Goaltender of the Week earning the award for the first time of his career. He posted a 2-0-0 record last weekend leading BSU to a league series sweep at Northern Michigan.  He finished the weekend with 89:53 between the pipes, a 2.00 goals-against average, and a .942 save percentage in his collegiate debut weekend.

• Junior forward Alex Ierullo has three goals and three assists this season to match Tyler Kirkup and Lukas Sillinger for the team’s scoring lead with six points through six games. Ierullo led the Beavers in scoring a year ago netting a career-high 24 points (7g-17a) on 29 contests and paced the team with 17 assists.

• Captain Ethan Somoza is back in the Beavers’ lineup in 2021-22, his fifth season in a BSU sweater.  A year ago, he posted a  career-high and team-best 15 goals, which included two in BSU’s NCAA East Regional semifinal win over Wisconsin. He is joined by fellow captain Brad Johnson as Beavers who returned for a super senior season due to COVID-19 rules.

• Senior Tyler Kirkup has scored a goal in four straight games and opens the weekend of play atop the Beavers’ scoring chart. With six points (5g-1a) and a team-best five goals in six games, he is tied for second in the league in goal scoring.

• Kirkup’s five goals already surpass his previous single-season career-best (4) set in 36 games as a sophomore and account for 35-percent of his career total (14). The Virden, Manitoba native’s single-season career-high point total is 13 (4g-9a), established in 2019-20.

• BSU’s top-scoring rookie a year ago was Lukas Sillinger. He posted 15 points (6g-9a) to rank second among WCHA rookies and sixth on the team. He finished with eight points (2g-6a) in BSU’s last 12 games. He is currently tied for the team’s scoring lead with six points (5g-1a), while his five assists pace the team in assist scoring.

• Brothers Owen and Lukas Sillinger have had the unique opportunity to be teammates at BSU. Owen set up his younger brother’s first collegiate goal Dec. 12, 2020.  A hockey family, their father, Mike, played for 12 teams during his 17-year NHL career, and younger brother Cole was drafted 12th overall by the Columbus Bluejackets in 2021 and opened the season on the club’s NHL roster.

• Northern Michigan was 4-for-8 (.500) on the man advantage in last weekend’s series. On the season, BSU’s penalty-kill unit moves to 16-for-22 (.727).

• Surrendering three power-play goals to NMU Friday was a rare occurrence. The last time BSU allowed three goals on the man advantage was Jan. 10, 2020, in a 4-3 victory over Alabama-Huntsville.  In fact, Friday stood as just the third time since the beginning of the 2013-14 season that BSU had allowed more than two power-play goals in a single game.

• A year ago, the BSU penalty kill was historically good. On the heels of program records set in 2019-20 of 11 PPG allowed and a .912 penalty-kill percentage, BSU did it again. In 2020-21, BSU surrendered a program low seven power-play goals, while its .917 penalty-kill mark led the country and also set a new BSU standard.

• Since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, the BSU penalty-kill unit has snuffed out opponent power plays at a 91-percent clip (198-of-217). No team in the country is even close to that mark.

• It took five games, but BSU finally registered a power-play goal. In fact, it posted three PPGs on five opportunities to open the series with Northern Michigan, Oct. 22. On the season, BSU is now 3-for-18 (.167), while it is 3-for-7 on the man advantage in CCHA play.

Lukas Sillinger and Alex Ierullo lead the Beavers in power-play scoring as each has two assists in the man advantage. Jakub Lewandowski, Tyler Kirkup, and Ethan Somoza are tied with a team-best one power-play goal.

• Through six games, the Beavers have been quick to start. They have 10 first-period goals, including four last weekend, and have scored first in 4-of-6 games, including a Kyle Looft tally just 47 seconds into BSU’s Oct. 15 contest at North Dakota. Conversely, BSU has struggled in the second period and has been outscored 10-3 in the frame.

• BSU’s opponents have averaged 3.33 goals per game in 2021-22. BSU held its opponents to one goal or fewer in 12 of its 29 games last season. It was 11-0-1 in those games.

• In 2020-21 the Beavers allowed a BSU Division I-era low record of 70 goals. Its previous record was 71 set in 2019-20.

• BSU was 10-5-0 at Sanford Center last season and averaged 2.60 goals per game, while it allowed  2.20. This season, BSU is seeking its first win on home ice (0-2-0) netting 2.5 goals per game and allowing 4.0 to its opponents.

• Senior Ethan Somoza became the first native of California to wear the “C” for BSU when he was named captain prior to the 2020-21 season. In his second year wearing the “C,” he is joined by seniors Brad Johnson and Owen Sillinger, while and seniors Alex Adams and Alex Ierullo are alternate captains.

• Sophomore blueliner Elias Rosén became the first BSU player to WCHA Defensive Player of the Year recognition to cap 2020-21. On the heels of a season during which he netted 24 points (5g-19a) to pull down WCHA All-Rookie Team and Third Team All-WCHA honors, the native of Mora, Sweden finished his sophomore season with 16 points (5g-11a).

• With 41 points (10g-31a) in his first 66 collegiate games, Rosén has been a spark for the BSU scoring attack from the blue line. However, this season, Rosén has just one point and that came in BSU’s sixth game. The five-game point drought stands as the longest streak the junior has gone without a point.

• Ross Armour picked up right where he left off in 2020-21 netting the overtime game-winner Oct. 16 at North Dakota. With four goals during his junior season, he had two game-winners. He scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 win at Michigan Tech Feb. 20 and a 4-3 overtime win versus Minnesota State Feb. 27 a year ago. Alex Ierullo led all BSU players with four game-winning goals.

• Blueliner, Kyle Looft, is fifth on the team with four points in the Beavers’ first six games. He is averaging 0.67 points per game this season. In the first 62 games, the defender averaged 0.14 points per game (1g-8a).

• Newcomers Jakub Lewandowski leads all BSU freshman with two points (1g-1a). He posted his first goal, the game-winner in a 5-4 win at NMU, Oct. 22. Sophomore Austin Jouppi scored his first collegiate goal the following night to lead BSU to a 4-3 win versus the Wildcats.  His goal also stood as the game-winner.

• Junior defender Will Zmolek leads the Beavers with 14 blocked shots this season. Brad Johnson leads all returners with 35 blocks a year ago. Zmolek and Kyle Looft posted matching totals of 25 blocks.

• Tyler Kirkup may not lead the team in shots taken with nine this season, that honor resides with Owen Sillinger, who has taken 18 shots in six games. However, Kirkup has scored on 55.6-percent of the shots he has taken (5-of-9).

--bsu--

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