(RV) Beavers begin postseason play with best-of-three series at Northern Michigan
After earning the fifth-seed in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Playoffs, the Bemidji State University Men’s Hockey team hits the road for the quarterfinal round at fourth-seed Northern Michigan University.
The Beavers (14-15-5, 12-11-3 CCHA) and Wildcats (18-16-0, 14-12-0 CCHA) face-off for a best-of-three series beginning Friday, Mar. 3 at 6:07 p.m. CT from Berry Events Center in Marquette, Mich. Game two will follow Saturday at 5:07 p.m., and the teams will play a game three Sunday at 5:07 p.m., if the series is tied after the first two games.
Each game of the series will be streamed online at FloHockey.tv with play-by-play and color commentary provided by NMU Athletics. A Beaver Radio Network broadcast will also be available on the radio for each game and can be found at 92.1FM or online at www.beaverradionetwork.com.
The Beavers’ 2022-23 playoff push officially begins this weekend as Bemidji State will be looking to return to the championship game for the second consecutive season and capture the programs first-ever Mason Cup as CCHA Playoff Champions.
Bemidji State saw its three-year streak of hosting the first round of the CCHA Playoffs come to an end this year after earning the fifth seed in this year’s playoffs. Bemidji State tied with Northern Michigan for fourth in the standings with 39 league points, but the Wildcats earned the tie breaker with more conference regulation wins (11) than the Beavers (9).
Bemidji State finished the 2022-23 regular season with a 14-15-5 record (.485) and went 12-11-3 (.563) in league play.
Bemidji State and Northern Michigan split their regular season series with each team taking a game away from the other while on the road.
In Marquette this season, Bemidji State fell in game one 2-0 but responded with a 4-1 victory in game two back on Nov. 11-12.
The teams last met on Jan. 20-21 where BSU earned a 4-0 shutout victory over the Wildcats in game one but then fell 5-2 in game two.
Bemidji State owns the all-time series record against Northern Michigan at 20-11-6 with the team’s first series during the 2009-10 season.
However, the two teams have met just once in post season play and not since the 2016-17 season where the Beavers earned a 2-1 series victory over the Wildcats in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs at Sanford Center.
The Beavers have dominated the series in Marquette and are 11-3-2 when playing at the Berry Events Center and have won five of the last six meetings in Marquette.
Over the last 10 meetings however, the series has been much more even and stands at 5-5-0 over the last 10 games.
Bemidji State holds a +22 goal differential (44-22) when playing in Marquette versus a +2 goal differential (49-47) when playing in Bemidji.
Senior Elias Rosén leads active skaters with 10 career points (2g-10a) in 12 career games versus the Wildcats while senior Will Zmolek follows with five points (1g-4a) and Ross Armour (1g-2a), Eric Martin (1g-2a) and Lleyton Roed (1g-2a) each have three points. Rosén is the only Beaver to have multiple goals versus NMU.
Roed, Zmolek and Rosén each posted a goal and two assists versus the Wildcats this season to lead the team while six other Beavers (Mitchell Martan, Kaden Pickering, Alexander Lundman, Jere Vaisanen, Jackson Jutting and Carter Jones) each have multiple points.
In four starts, sophomore Mattias Sholl is the lone goaltender to face the Wildcats this season and he is 2-2-0 with a 1.51 goals against average and .939 save percentage. He was named the CCHA Goaltender of the Week after stopping 58-of-60 shots versus the Wildcats on Nov. 11-12. He also collected his first collegiate shutout against Northern Michigan after stopping all 18 shots on Jan. 20.
The Beavers continue to receive votes in both the USAToday/USAHockeyMagazine and DCU/USCHO.com top-20 national polls for the 10th consecutive week. Northern Michigan is failing to receive votes in both polls.
Bemidji State moved down three spots to 34th in this week’s PairWise rankings after splitting its series against University of St. Thomas. The Wildcats are four spots in front of the Beavers at 29th.
Northern Michigan finished the regular season with an 18-16-0 record and went 14-12-0 in league play.
The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in college hockey and have won four straight and have out-scored opponents 25-9 over the last four games.
Northern Michigan is riding high after sweeping third-place Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green last weekend.
The Wildcats are led by Andre Ghantous who is third in the CCHA with 33 points and has potted 11 goals while assisting on 22. He has the hot hand as of late and led the CCHA with 11 points over eight games in February to be named the league’s Forward of the Month.
He is followed by Arem Shlaine who is tied for fifth in the league with 30 points while AJ Vanderbeck has added 29 points for third on the team.
The Wildcats are paced by David Keefer and is tied for sixth in the CCHA With 14 goals.
On the back-end freshman Josh Zinger leads their d-core with 15 points (3g-12a) while Simon Kjellberg led all league defensemen with seven points (2g-5a) and was named the CCHA Defenseman of the Month for February.
Freshman Beni Halasz has started 29-of-34 games between the pipes for the Wildcats and is 16-14-0 with a 2.40 goals against average and .913 save percentage. He ranks fourth and tied for fifth in each statistical category.
Vanderbeck leads the CCHA and is tied for fourth nationally with 135 shots on goal and is shooting at a .096 clip, 11th on the team.
Ghantous is tied for fifth in the league with 16 penalties.
The Wildcats dominate the face-off circle and are second in the league with a team face-off win percentage of .549. Kristof Papp (.606, 3rd), Artem Shlaine (.598, 5th) and David Keefer (.517, 10th) are all inside the league’s top-10 face-off winning percentage.
Northern Michigan blocks the most shots in the league as a team and have totaled 556 blocks and average 16.4 per game. Aiden Gallacher and Michael Van Unen are one and two in the league in blocked shots and have blocked 96 and 72 shots, respectively. Gallacher also leads the nation in blocked shots.
The Beavers are second in the conference with 485 blocked shots and average 14.3 per game. Will Zmolek (63) and Kyle Looft (62) are three and four in the league, respectively.
Northern Michigan is tied for second in the league with 108 goals for and trail first place Bowling Green by just two goals. It is fourth in the league with 96 goals against, eight behind the Beavers.
Bemidji State is fifth in the league with 90 goals for and third in goals against (88). The Beavers are one of five teams in the CCHA with a positive scoring margin (0.1) during the regular season.
Bemidji State ranks seventh nationally and second in the conference with a power-play percentage of .250 (25-100). The Beavers have scored a power-play in three consecutive games which is tied for the longest streak of the season.
The Beavers scored three power-play goals last weekend at St. Thomas going 3-for-8 with the man-advantage.
Northern Michigan is second in the league on the penalty kill and seventh in DI while Vanderbeck is tied for second in the nation with two short-handed goals.
The Wildcats are third in the league and 13th nationally on the power play with a power-play percentage of .245 (34-139).
Bemidji State’s penalty kill is fifth at .804 (86-107) and are coming off a 4-for-5 weekend at St. Thomas.
The Beavers lead the CCHA and are second nationally with just 254 penalty minutes while the Wildcats have the most penalty minutes in the league with 393.
Bemidji State is 11-4-2 this season when scoring a power-play goal.
The Beavers are led by freshman Lleyton Roed who has posted 30 points off 13 goals and 17 assists and is coming of a career-high four-point effort (2g-2a) at St. Thomas last Saturday.
Roed has points in five of his last seven games (5g-5a) and was named the CCHA Rookie of the Month for the second consecutive month.
Roed is having one of the best rookie campaigns in the CCHA and at BSU. He leads all league rookies in points (30) and is tied for 13th nationally. He is tied with Andrew Murray (01-02) for the fifth best season scoring mark in Bemidji State’s Division I history. It is also the best scoring performance by a freshman since Jordan George recorded a program DI record 34 points (13g-21a) during the 2009-10 season.
Senior Elias Rosén follows Roed with 28 points off four goals and 24 assists. He is tied for the league’s lead in helpers this season and is coming off tying a career high with four points (1g-3a) at St. Thomas last Saturday.
Rosén now leads all league skaters in assists and is tied for the league defensemen lead in points. He has also blocked 53 shots defensively to tie for seventh in the CCHA.
Fifth-year senior Ross Armour is second on the team and t-12th in the league with 12 goals. His six power-play goals this season are tied for fourth most in the CCHA.
Senior Will Zmolek has shutdown opposing forwards and leads the team and is third in the CCHA with 63 blocked shots. He has also contributed 20 points (4g-16a) offensively for fourth on the team and ranks sixth among league defensemen.
Facing the opposing team’s top line night in and night out, the d-pairing of Zmolek/Rosén boasts a combined +/- rating of +8 with Zmolek a +5 skater and Rosén +3.
Sophomore Jere Vaisanen paces the team and is tied for seventh with a +10 rating on the ice.
Sophomore goaltender Mattias Sholl leads BSU netminders and is 11-11-5 with a 2.13 goals against average and .913 save percentage. He is third in the CCHA in GAA and tied for fifth save percentage.
Bemidji State is third in the CCHA by averaging 29.6 shots per game and allow 25.3 shots per game. The Beavers are 11-8-3 this season when outshooting their opponents and 7-6-2 when recording 30 or more shots.
The Beavers are 9-7-3 when scoring the first goal.
Bemidji State is undefeated when scoring three or more goals this season with a record of 12-0-1. However, the Beavers have scored three goals or more just four times over the last 16 games (5-10-1).
Fifth-year senior Ross Armour co-captains the team with senior defenseman Kyle Looft while senior Elias Rosén and senior Will Zmolek serve as alternates.
Tom Serratore is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Bemidji State Men’s Hockey program and owns a 368-342-97 career record (.520).
Serratore will be coaching in his 808th and 809th collegiate hockey games this weekend.
He is 20-11-6 coaching against the Wildcats and 2-1-0 against NMU in the postseason.