Beavers make long distance trip for league series at Bowling Green
The (RV) Bemidji State University Men’s Hockey team returns to Central Collegiate Hockey Association play this weekend with its first road trip of the 2022-23 to Bowling Green, Ohio.
The Beavers (9-6-4, 7-2-3 CCHA) will make the 870-mile, 14-hour trip to Bowling Green State University for the two team’s first and only series of the 2022-23 regular season.
The Falcons (12-12-0, 9-7-0 CCHA) host the Beavers for the two-game, CCHA series which is slated to begin Friday, Jan. 13 at Slater Family Ice Arena and ending Saturday. Puck drop for each game is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. CT.
The Bemidji State-Bowling Green State series only dates back to 2011 but ever since the two teams joined the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in 2014 and later the CCHA, the two teams have battled 36 times over the past eight years.
BGSU holds a slight advantage in the all-time series record at 18-17-3 but the Beavers have won seven of the last 10 meetings including four-of-seven during the 2021-22 season that featured a best-of-three series win for the Beavers in the First Round of the CCHA Playoffs.
After dropping the first game of that home playoff series 2-1 to the Falcons, Bemidji State won the next two by scores of 4-2 and 3-1 that sent BSU to the CCHA Semifinals and sparked a run to the CCHA Championship where the Beavers were runner-up’s in the postseason tournament.
The Beavers have seen most of their success against the Falcons come at Sanford Center in Bemidji but are just 5-11-1 when playing in Slater Family Ice Arena.
When playing in Bemidji, the Beavers have out-scored the Falcons 52-39 but in Bowling Green BGSU has out-scored BSU, 54-39.
Fifth-year senior Ross Armour paces all active Beavers with 16 career games against BGSU and has totaled five points off one goal and four assists.
Senior Elias Rosén leads the team with 12 points (2g-10a) in 13 career games versus the Falcons and carries a +6 rating on the ice into this weekend’s series. Senior Will Zmolek (5a) and junior Eric Martin (2g-2a) follow with five and four points, respectively.
Sophomore Mattias Sholl leads BSU netminders with six games against BGSU and is 3-3-0 with a .910 save percentage and 2.36 goals against average including a pair of wins in the first round of the 2021-22 CCHA Playoffs.
Junior Gavin Enright stopped a career high 40-of-41 shots in his lone game against the Falcons back on Oct. 30, 2021 for his first collegiate victory.
Following an 0-1-1 weekend against University of Minnesota Duluth, Bemidji State dropped out of the USAToday/USAHockeyMagazine and USCHO.com top-20 national polls but are receiving votes in both polls.
Bowling Green enters the weekend failing to receive votes in either poll.
Bemidji State dropped two spots to 21st in this week’s PairWise rankings while Bowling Green is 29th.
Bemidji State looks to build upon its first half of the 2022-23 season that saw the Beavers post a 7-2-3 record in conference play and garner 25 points in the league standings. The Beavers currently sit tied for third in the conference standings with 25 points and trail the second-place Falcons by four points while having four games in hand.
The Beavers have played 12 league games compared to 16 for Bowling Green State.
Bowling Green concludes a six-game homestand this weekend with its series against the Beavers. The Falcons enter the weekend winners of their last four games and swept Lake Superior State University in their last action on Jan. 6-7.
The Falcons own a .500 overall record and are 12-12-0 but hold second in the CCHA standings with 29 points and a 9-7-0 league record.
Bemidji State will have the difficult task of shutting down one of the highest scoring players in the conference this weekend in Austen Swankler. Swankler enters the weekend leading the CCHA and second in Division I with 34 points on the season. He is riding a 14-point scoring streak that includes 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points during that stretch. He is the only player in DI with at least 15 goals and 15 assists.
Fortunately for the Beavers they go up against one of worst defenses in the nation. The Falcons rank seventh in the CCHA and are 58th of 61 teams in DI in goals allowed (77).
The Beavers are led offensively by Canisius College fifth-year transfer Mitchell Martan, freshman Lleyton Roed and senior defenseman Elias Rosén. The three have each recorded 14 points in 20 games this season.
Rosén paces the team in assists with 13 and is tied for third among CCHA defenseman in points (14).
Roed is having one of the best rookie campaigns in the CCHA and is tied for third among league rookies in points (14). It is the best rookie season at BSU since Lukas Sillinger totaled 15 points (6g-9a) in 28 games during the 2020-21 season. Elias Rosén totaled 24 points (5g-19a) in his first season during 2019-20.
Roed was named the CCHA’s Rookie of the Week this past week earning the accolade for the second time in his short career.
Sophomore Alexander Lundman leads the team with seven goals this season and is followed by Martan and Roed who each have six.
After missing the first 13 games due to injury, senior Carter Jones has returned to the lineup without missing a beat. He has totaled six points (2g-2a) in seven games since his return including a two-point (1g-1a) effort in the Beavers’ last action.
Rosén continues to lead the CCHA with a +11 rating on the ice. He is followed by linemate Will Zmolek who is tied for second at +10 while sophomore Jere Vaisanen is fourth in the league with a +9 rating.
Zmolek has also shutdown opposing forwards and leads the team and is fourth in the CCHA with 46 blocked shots. Fellow senior Kyle Looft follows and is tied for fifth with 37.
Sophomore goaltender Mattias Sholl has been dominant between the pipes for the Beavers and is 7-3-5 with a 1.88 goals against average and .926 save percentage. He leads the CCHA in GAA and save percentage and has appeared in 75 percent of the team’s minutes.
Among goalies who have played in 10 or more games he ranks fourth in Division I in save percentage and fifth in goals against average.
He is coming off a month of December where he went 4-1-1 with a 2.26 GAA and .915 save percentage and was named the CCHA Goaltender of the Month along with Zmolek who was tabbed the CCHA Defenseman of the Month.
The Beavers started January going 0-1-1 in their first action of the month. Historically the Beavers have a winning record during January and are 85-64-16 (.564) over its 67 seasons.
Bemidji State is third in the CCHA by averaging 29.0 shots per game and allow 26.7 shots per game. The Beavers are 6-2-3 this season when outshooting their opponents and 4-2-2 when recording 30 or more shots.
The Beavers are 6-3-3 when scoring the first goal this season and 3-3-2 when the opponent scores first.
Bemidji State is undefeated when scoring three or more goals this season with a record of 8-0-1. When the opponent scores three or more goals, the Beavers are just 3-5-1.
Bemidji State has scored 14 power-play goals in 63 attempts for a power-play percentage of .222, fourth in the CCHA. Bemidji State was 0-for-5 while on the power play in its last series against UMD.
The Beavers’ penalty kill has allowed 14 goals in 59 opportunities for a penalty-kill percentage of .763, sixth in the CCHA. BSU allowed two power-play goals on two chances in its series with UMD.
Bemidji State is the least penalized team in Division I leading the nation by averaging just 6.55 penalty minutes per game.
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 363-333-97 career record (.520)