The Beaver Radio Network

Beaver Fever Friday – Tyler Vold – Mens Hockey

Bemidji State (4-2-2; 2-1-1-1 WCHA) welcomes one of its most familiar rivals to Sanford Center this weekend as the Beavers host Minnesota State University, Mankato (6-3-0; 4-2-0-0 WCHA) for a WCHA series–the 116th and 117th all-time meetings between the teams. Opening face off is set for 7:07 p.m. at Sanford Center each evening.

The Beavers open the series after splitting a two-game set, lost 4-3 (OT) and won 3-2, in Fairbanks, Alaska versus the University of Alaska. Third-Team All-WCHA forward, senior Gerry Fitzgerald leads the team in scoring, averaging 1.25 points per game and has six points in BSU’s last three outings alone. He has two goals, both coming on the power play, and a team-best eight assists. Senior Kyle Bauman has five goals and a game-winner to lead the team in goal scoring. Defender Justin Baudry has also contributed to BSU’s attack. Last weekend he posted two goals and an assist, and has already matched his career-high for goals in a season (3). CCM All-America West First Team goaltender Michael Bitzer has backstopped a penalty-kill unit that leads the country through the season’s first five weeks. The team has snuffed out 27 of its opponents’ 28 man advantage opportunities (.967). Bitzer has started in the Beavers’ net for all eight games and is 4-2-2 with a .926 save percentage and a 1.93 goals against average.

Minnesota State arrives at Sanford Center toting a 6-3-0 overall record and 4-2-0-0 mark in WCHA play as the nation’s No. 11 team. The Mavericks split a WCHA series at Northern Michigan University Nov. 3-4, winning the opener 3-0 before dropping the finale, 4-1. Minnesota State possesses the league’s most potent offense through the first three weeks of WCHA play. Averaging three goals per game, the Mavericks are led by the senior duo of Zeb Knutson and C.J. Suess, who each have 11 points in nine games. Knutson leads the team with five goals and two game-winners, while Suess has a team-best seven assists. MSU has rotated goaltenders this season. Senior Connor LaCouvee has been the hot hand through nine games posting a 4-0-0 record to go with a 2.00 goals against average and .910 save percentage in four appearances.

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