The Beaver Radio Network

Beaver Fever Friday – Ian Janco – @BSUBeaversMHKY

Tied for fourth, Bemidji State continues pursuit of home playoff berth

With just four games remaining in the 2018-19 regular season, the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team is back in Bemidji, Minn., this weekend to wrap up a crucial four-game homestand. The Beavers welcome Bowling Green State University for a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series. The Falcons are currently tied with Lake Superior State University for second place in the league’s standings with 47 points and just three points ahead of BSU. After climbing into fourth place with a five-point weekend versus Northern Michigan University last weekend, the Beavers’ postseason fate is clearly in their own hands.

At 7-3-2 since the turn of the calendar year, BSU opens the series as one of the hottest teams in the WCHA. The Beavers are unbeaten in seven of their last eight games (5-1-2) and have won four of their last six at home.

Senior defender Justin Baudry, the Beavers’ leading scorer, has a career-high 26 points (7g-19a) through 32 games and enters the weekend after posting six points (2g-4a) in BSU’s last four contests. Sophomore forward Charlie Combs has a career-high 22 points (11g-11a) and a team-best 11 goals. He has six points (2g-4a) in BSU’s last seven games.

Defensively, BSU goaltender and reigning WCHA Goaltender of the Week, Zach Driscoll, is 10-7-3 with a 2.14 goals against average, a .915 save percentage and has started the Beavers’ last 12 games. He has backstopped a penalty-kill unit that has been as good as it gets since Jan. 1. In BSU’s last 12 games, the unit leads the nation stopping all if its opponents’ 39 power-play opportunities.

Bowling Green opens this weekend’s series with a 19-8-4 record overall and is 17-7-3 in WCHA play however, five of the Falcons’ eight losses have come since Jan. 3, which includes a 3-2 loss to the Beavers to open the new year. BGSU is led in scoring by sophomore forward Brandon Kruse, who has 30 points (8g-22a) and a team-best 23 assists. Fellow sophomores Connor Ford and Lukas Craggs are tied for the team lead with 13 goals apiece, while Craggs has accounted for five game-winning goals. Defensively, BGSU is second in the WCHA allowing a meager 1.83 goals per game on the back of goaltender Eric Dop, who owns the league’s top goals against average (1.12) and save percentage (.956). In addition, the Falcons’ penalty-kill currently ranks third in the WCHA at 87.2-percent (95/109).

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