Beavers and Fighting Hawks to renew Highway 2 rivalry
After its final bye week of the season, the Bemidji State University Men’s Hockey team returns to action and will face-off against Highway 2 rival University of North Dakota for a non-conference home-and-home series.
The Beavers (5-3-2) and Fighting Hawks (5-6-2) begin their series Friday, Nov. 25 at Sanford Center then will make the trip to Grand Forks, N.D., for game two at Ralph Engelstad Arena, Saturday. Game one is slated for a 7:37 p.m., start time followed by 6:07 p.m., Saturday.
The Bemidji State-North Dakota rivalry dates back to 1970 with this week’s series being the 46th and 47the meeting between the two teams. North Dakota dominates the all-time series with a 34-5-6 record including a 10-3-2 record in Bemidji and 23-3-4 record in Grand Forks. The two teams played a home-and-home series last season with the Fighting Hawks earning a 4-3 victory in game one but Bemidji State answered back with a 4-3 overtime victory in game two. For the Beavers, it was their first win over UND since 2018 and just their second win since 2014 going 2-9-3 over that span.
Fifth-year senior Ross Armour and senior Kyle Looft lead all active skaters with two points against the Fighting Hawks with the pair each potting a goal and assist.
Junior transfer Jackson Jutting has faced the Fighting Hawks the most out of any BSU skater. While he was at Colorado College, Jutting saw action against UND in 10 games and recorded one assist.
Goaltenders Michael Carr and Gavin Enright have been the lone netminders to see action against UND with Carr earning the lone win last season after stopping 31-of-34 shots in Grand Forks.
Armour powered the Beavers to victory in their last meeting after scoring the game-winning, overtime goal 53 seconds into the three-on-three overtime.
Bemidji State is receiving votes in the DCU/USCHO.com top-20 poll abut fails to receive votes in USAToday/USAHockeyMagazine top-20 poll. North Dakota is now receiving votes in both of the polls after slipping out of the polls for the first time this season.
Bemidji State is coming off its bye week and last played Nov. 11-12 at Northern Michigan University where it splits its Central Collegiate Hockey Association series.
North Dakota is coming off a series split with University of Miami-Ohio at Ralph Engelstad Arena this past weekend.
The Beavers are led on offense by Canisius College fifth-year transfer Mitchell Martan who has posted 10 points off a team-high five goals and five assists. He is tied for 12th in the CCHA for points despite BSU having played the least amount of games thus far (10). Martan is followed by sophomore Jere Vaisanen who has totaled eight points off three goals and five assists while junior Eric Martin follows with seven points (2g-5a).
Seniors Elias Rosén (4a) and Will Zmolek (1g-3a) lead the Beavers’ blueline with four points. Senior defenseman Kyle Looft paces the Beavers with 26 blocked shots. He is followed by Zmolek who has 20 blocked shots.
Sophomore Mattias Sholl has started seven of the Beavers’ 10 games this season and is 3-2-2 with a 1.55 goals against average and .933 save percentage. He leads the CCHA and is fourth in Division I in goals against average and seventh in save percentage. His fellow netminder junior Gavin Enright has appeared in five games and is 3-1-0 with a 2.93 goals against average and .885 save percentage.
Bemidji State has scored six power-play goals in 33 opportunities (.182) this season and are fifth in the CCHA. The Beavers’ penalty kill has allowed eight goals in 35 opportunities (.750) which is seventh in the CCHA.
Tom Serratore is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Bemidji State Men’s Hockey program and owns a 359-331-94 career record. He is 4-27-6 all-time coaching against the Fighting Hawks.