Beaver Fever Friday – Brad Johnson – Mens Hockey

Beaver Hockey remains among top 15 teams in the country

Bemidji State University will open its 2021-22 campaign ranked among the top 20 NCAA Division I men’s hockey teams in the country according to the USCHO Division I Men’s Hockey Poll. The organization placed BSU in the No. 15 spot of the Oct. 4 edition of its poll.

The Beavers garnered 269 points to finish 15th, down one spot from a week earlier and just seven points behind Harvard for the No. 14 spot. BSU finished 682 points behind top-ranked Minnesota State University, which swept defending national champion University of Massachusetts to knock it out of the top spot. The Mavericks pulled in 24 of a possible 50 first-place votes to hold an eight-point edge over St. Cloud State University (943) in the No. 2 spot. This weekend’s home-and-home series partner University of Minnesota Duluth reeled in 780 points to grab the No. 5 spot.

The No. 15 billing marks the Beavers’ second appearance in the poll this season. A year ago, BSU appeared in the USCHO top-20 poll on 12 different occasions, which included a run of six straight to cap 2020-21. BSU climbed as high as No. 10 in the final poll of the season.

In addition to the Beavers and Mavericks, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association was represented by Michigan Technological University (44), Lake Superior State University (37), Bowling Green State University (10) and Northern Michigan University (2) which were all listed among “others receiving votes.”

The Beavers are coming off of a 2020-21 campaign during which they posted a 16-10-3 overall record after going 8-5-1 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 UMass in the regional final.

Following a 2-1 exhibition loss at No. 8 North Dakota Saturday, BSU officially lifts the lid on its 2021-22 season this weekend when it clashes with Minnesota Duluth for a home-and-home series. BSU returns to Sanford Center Friday for a 7:07 p.m. puck drop. The teams will meet at AMSOIL Arena at 7:07 p.m. Saturday to wrap up the non-conference series.