Beavers battle No. 1 Mavericks for Mason Cup Championship
The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team travels to No. 1 Minnesota State University, Mankato this weekend with the CCHA Mason Cup Championship trophy on the line. The Beavers (19-19-0) will face the top-ranked team in the nation in the Mavericks (34-5-0) for a single elimination championship game Saturday, March 19 at the Mayo Clinic HSEC in Mankato, Minn. Puck drop between the Beavers and Mavericks is scheduled for 6:07 p.m.
As the third seed in the CCHA Playoffs, the Beavers earned a trip to the CCHA Championship game after defeating second-seed Michigan Technological University in the semifinal round last weekend. The Beavers will face the regular season champions, Minnesota State, for the legendary Mason Cup.
Bemidji State earned a 5-2 victory over the Huskies in the semifinal round to advance to the championship and are riding a three-game win streak into the weekend.
Bemidji State’s top line of Alex Ierrullo, Owen Sillinger and Lukas Sillinger factored in on all five of BSU’s goals at Michigan Tech including two goals from Ierullo and Lukas Sillinger.
Freshman Mattias Sholl stopped 26-of-28 shots in the game to earn his third consecutive playoff victory.
Bemidji State enters Saturday’s game receiving votes in both the DCU/USCHO.com and USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine national polls. The Beavers have received votes in the DCU/USCHO.com national poll for 23 consecutive weeks and re-entered the USAToday/USA Hockey Magazine poll for the first time since January 17.
Bemidji State will play for the program’s first CCHA Playoff Championship Saturday and the program’s first playoff championship since 2009 (CHA). BSU advanced to the program’s first and only NCAA Frozen Four that season.
Bemidji State will face the top-ranked team in both national polls in Minnesota State.
Minnesota State leads the all-time series with a 64-58-16 (.522) record including a 36-19-11 (.629) record in Mankato.
Bemidji State and Minnesota State’s all-time series dates back to 1974.
In postseason play, Bemidji State is 5-2 against the Mavericks but have not faced the Mavericks in the postseason since 1987 (NCHA).
Minnesota State swept the regular season series with the Beavers this season including two 5-1 victories in Mankato on Feb. 18-19.
The Beavers’ last win in Mankato was Jan. 25, 2020, a five-game winless streak (0-4-1).
Fifth-year senior Brad Johnson leads BSU skaters with 18 career games played against the Mavericks while Ross Armour and Ethan Somoza follow with 17. Alex Ierullo, Tyler Jubenvill and Tyler Kirkup have all played in 16 career games versus the Mavericks.
Somoza paces the Beavers with 11 career points (3g-8a) against MSU while Ierullo follows with eight (3g-5a).
Sholl leads BSU netminders with three games played and 158:57 minutes against MSU. He is 0-3-0 with a 4.53 goals against average and .871 save percentage.
21-year head coach Tom Serratore is 17-42-5 coaching against the Mavericks.
Junior Elias Rosén (First Team), senior Owen Sillinger (Second Team) and freshman Mattias Sholl (Rookie Team) earned All-CCHA honors announced earlier this week.
Bemidji State is led by Owen Sillinger who has totaled a Division I program record 47 points off 17 goals and 30 assists in 38 games this season. Sillinger is fourth in the Division I in points, tied for fourth in assists and seventh in points per game (1.24).
Sillinger is also third in the nation with 503 face-off wins and his face-off win percentage of .549 is eighth in the CCHA.
Sillinger is followed by senior Alex Ierullo who has totaled 42 points off 16 goals and 26 assists for eighth in the conference and tied for 11th in the nation.
Ierullo is the fourth skater in BSU’s Division I history to record 40 or more points in a season following Sillinger, Matt Read (2x) and Brendan Cook.
In its Division I history, Bemidji State has never had two skaters record 40 or more points in a single season until this year.
Owen’s brother Lukas is nearing the 40-point mark as well and is two points shy of joining the 40-point club.
Owen Sillinger is three points shy of reaching the 50-point mark and looks to become the first Bemidji State men’s hockey player to record 50 points in a season since Jeff Sobb in 1996-1997 (Division II).
The line of Ierullo, O. Sillinger and L. Sillinger has combined for 127 of the team’s 300 points this season including 50 of the team’s 117 goals (.427).
The trio has combined to score nine of the team’s 13 goals during the playoffs led by Lukas who has scored four goals.
The trio also each lead the team with six points during the CCHA Playoffs and all three skaters boast a +6 rating on the ice.
Junior defenseman Will Zmolek has recorded three assists during the playoffs and leads the team with a +9 rating and eight blocked shots.
Freshman Mattias Sholl is 3-1-0 during the playoffs and boasts a .934 save percentage and 1.77 goals against average in 236:47 minutes.
Minnesota State is paced by Sam Morton who has totaled three goals and three assists during the CCHA Playoffs while 16 skaters have recorded two or more points including seven with four or more points.
Minnesota State’s Dryden McKay is 3-0-0 during the CCHA Playoffs and sports a .896 save percentage and 1.67 goals against average in 179:14 minutes.
Ierullo leads the Beavers with a seven-game point streak and has posted 11 points (4g-7a) over that span. Owen Sillinger follows with a six-game point streak and has totaled 10 points (4g-6a) over the last six games.
Bemidji State’s blueline is led by All-CCHA First Team selection Elias Rosén. Rosén has posted 26 points (7g-19a) in 37 games to stand fifth in the CCHA among league defensemen. He is also tied for second in the league with four game-winning goals this season.
Zmolek leads all BSU defensemen with 63 blocks this season and is fourth in the CCHA. Fifth-year senior Brad Johnson follows with 56 and is seventh.
Bemidji State is fourth in the CCHA on offense and defense by averaging 3.08 goals per game and 3.13 goals against per game.
The Beavers will go against the nation’s second highest scoring team Saturday with Minnesota State averaging 4.23 goals per game, second to University of Denver at 4.50 gpg.
Minnesota State is also second in the nation on defense and allows just 1.28 goals against per game with Quinnipiac leading the nation at just 1.00 gapg.
Bemidji State’s power play is third in the CCHA and 10th in the nation with a power-play percentage of .250 (27-108). It will go up against a Maverick penalty kill unit that is second in the CCHA and seventh in the nation with a penalty-kill percentage of .868 (118-136).
The Beavers’ penalty kill is third in the conference and 31st in the nation at .808 percent (105-130). They will go up against the nation’s third best power play in MSU who has totaled a .268 power-play percentage (42-157).
The Beavers have not scored a power-play goal since Feb. 5 (0-12), a game that saw the Beavers score a season-high four power-play goals against Northern Michigan University.
Bemidji State has allowed just one power-play goal during the CCHA Playoffs, a goal that was scored during garbage time of the Beavers’ 5-2 victory at Michigan Tech last weekend.
Owen Sillinger is tied for fourth on the program’s all-time scorers list during its Division I era with 115 career points. His 51 career goals are fifth most during the DI era and his 64 assists are also fifth.
Senior Alex Ierullo is nearing 100 career points. He stands with 96 career points (36g-60a) and is four points shy of becoming the 11th skater in program history to reach the 100 point milestone in its DI era.
Junior Elias Rosén has totaled 66 career points (17g-49a) in his three-year career and is fourth in career points among BSU defensemen during its DI era. He is four points shy of tying Matt Prapavessis for second on the list and 56 points from tying the program record holder (all-time) Brad Hunt (112 points).