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Beaver Fever Friday – Adam Brady – @BSUBeaversMHKY

BSU to host Merrimack in non-conference affair

After nearly a month away, the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team (4-1-1; 3-1-0-0 WCHA) is back at Sanford Center this weekend for a non-conference, two-game series with Merrimack College (3-6-0; 2-3-0 Hockey East). The Beavers, who have won their last three games in WCHA play, take a break from league action to meet the Warriors for the first time since 2007.

The Beavers look to stay unbeaten in non-conference play this weekend and improve upon a 1-0-0 record at home this season. Through six games, defense has been BSU’s strength. The team has surrendered just 1.17 goals per game to rank seventh in the country, while its goaltending duo of Henry Johnson and Zach Driscoll have been lights out. Johnson leads the NCAA with a 0.67 GAA to go with his 2-1-0 record and .973 save percentage, while Driscoll is third at 0.97 GAA with a .962 save percentage and is unbeaten at 2-0-1. Part of BSU’s stingy defense is its penalty-kill unit. The Beavers have allowed just two power-play goals this season and at .905, BSU sits sixth in the nation.

Offensively, the Beavers’ have exhibited a balanced scoring attack. Twelve different BSU players have logged a point, while Aaron Miller paces the roster with five points (2g-3a). Newcomer Owen Sillinger is the team’s top goal scorer with three, including a two-goal night last Friday, and Jay Dickman leads the team with four assists.

The Warriors open the series with a 3-6-0 record, which includes a 1-3-0 mark in non-conference play. MC opened the season with a series versus WCHA-member Lake Superior State University and was swept, 5-4 and 1-0. The team comes to Bemidji, Minn., after losing three of its last four contests and split a Hockey East series with Boston College last weekend.

Juniors Tyler Irvine and Logan Coomes each have six points to lead the team in scoring. Patrick Kramer has a team-high three goals, while Coomes’ five helpers is tops for the Warriors. Craig Pantano has shouldered the bulk of the goaltending duties for MC this season. In eight games played he is 3-5-0 with a .910 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

The Rivalry
In a series that dates back 34 years, Bemidji State and Merrimack have met on just six previous occasions and the series is split down the center with each team owning three victories. The Beavers and Warriors first met in 1984. Bemidji State defeated MC, 6-3 and 8-1, en route to the NCAA Division II national championship to cap its perfect 31-0-0 season. Merrimack has won the last three meetings between the teams, which includes 3-2 and 2-1 wins at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse, Oct. 19-20, 2007.

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