Beavers and Mavericks square off for WCHA title
The Bemidji State University men’s hockey team is back at Sanford Center this weekend for the final series of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season. The Beavers, currently second in the league standings, trail first-place Minnesota State by six points leaving the final series of the season to determine the WCHA’s 2019-20 champion and No. 1 seed in its postseason tournament.
This weekend’s top-15 matchup marks an extension to one of BSU’s most often revisited rivalries. The BSU-MSU series got its start Nov. 25, 1974 and has included 126 meetings, which is second to only Wisconsin-Superior (129 games) as BSU’s most familiar opponent of all time. The Mavericks enter the series with a 57-54-15 edge, while BSU is 34-22-5 when hosting Minnesota State in Bemidji, Minn. BSU has won just two if the last six meetings between the teams (2-0-4), but nine of the last 10 games of the series have been decided by two goals or fewer.
MSU and BSU split a WCHA series when they met in Mankato, Jan. 24-25. The Mavericks took a 3-2 win to open the series, but BSU bounced back with a 4-2 victory in the finale–handing MSU one of its four losses this season.
The series will get underway with a “greenout” from Sanford Center at 7:07 p.m. Friday, while the puck will drop for a “whiteout” at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
Bemidji State recorded a 4-1 win to open its WCHA series at Alaska Anchorage, Feb. 21. BSU then tied 2-2 Saturday before a win in 3-on-3 play to earn the extra point in the standings. BSU moved to 19-8-5 overall and 19-4-3-2 in WCHA play. With 19 WCHA wins, BSU has earned more league wins only once since joining the WCHA in 2010-11, a 20-win 2016-17 campaign (20-6-2) that was capped with a regular-season title.
Seeking its 20th win this weekend, it would be BSU’s sixth 20-win season at the NCAA D-I level and its first since 2016-17.
Tickets for the series still remain and are available at the Sanford Center Box Office beginning at $12 for adults and $8 for youth.