Beaver Fever Friday – Will Zmolek – Mens Hockey

(RV) Bemidji State hosts No. 12/13 Minnesota State for key league points

BSU Men’s Hockey plays final home series of regular season against Mavericks

It is crunch time for the (RV) Bemidji State University Men’s Hockey team as just four games remain in the 2022-23 regular season and the Beavers are fighting for home-ice advantage in the first round of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs.

The Beavers (12-13-5, 10-9-3 CCHA) host their final regular season home series this weekend at Sanford Center and welcome in-state rival No. 16 Minnesota State University, Mankato for a two-game, league series. Game one against the Mavericks is scheduled to begin Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:07 p.m., with game two Saturday at 6:07 p.m.

Bemidji State will honor its nine seniors Ross Armour, Brad Belisle, Michael Carr, Carter Jones, Kyle Looft, Mitchell Martan, Kaden Pickering, Elias Rosén and Will Zmolek before Saturday’s game in part of Senior night festivities.

Senior Elias Rosén leads the senior class and has totaled 90 career points (20g-70a) in 128 career games. He is one of 14 Beavers during the DI era to reach 90 career points and just one of two defensemen. He is tied for ninth all-time in career scoring by defensemen at BSU. He trails program leader and current Colorado Avalanche defenseman Brad Hunt by 32 points.

Fifth-year senior Ross Armour follows Rosén and has totaled 64 points off 28 goals and 36 assists. He is third in program history with 153 career games played and is looking to surpass former teammate Brad Johnson (154) for second all time this weekend.

The Beavers and Mavericks rivalry dates back to the 1974-75 season and have met for 141 contests, the most against any opponent for Bemidji State.

In the beginning of their rivalry, the Beavers got the better of the Mavericks winning 30 of the first 45 matchups before the 1990 season. However, the Mavericks have dominated the series from then on and have taken a 65-60-16 lead in the all-time series record.

In their first meeting this season, Bemidji State upset the then ranked No. 16 Mavericks and earned their first series sweep of MSU since 2006 which was also in Mankato, Minn. The Beavers began the Dec. 15-16 series with Kyle Looft scoring the game-winning, overtime goal in Friday’s 4-3 victory over the Mavericks. Bemidji State then downed MSU 4-1 in game two for its largest victory over the Mavericks since Jan. 29, 2021.

When playing in Bemidji, the Beavers hold a 37-26-5 edge over the Mavericks but have lost the last two meetings at Sanford Center.

In the last 10 meetings, Bemidji State is 4-6-0 against the Mavericks with six of the last 10 games played in Mankato.

Two of the past three games between the two teams have been decided in overtime.

Rosén leads all active skaters with seven points (2g-5a) in 13 career games versus the Mavericks while Amour, Jakub Lewandowski, Eric Martin and Will Zmolek all follow with three points each.

Lewandowski is averaging a point per game against the Mavericks and in three career games he has two goals and an assist. He leads the team with a +3 rating on the ice against MSU.

After helping the Beavers to their series sweep of the Mavericks in their first meeting, sophomore goaltender Mattias Sholl is the lone BSU netminder with a win against MSU and is 2-4-0 in six career games. In 349 minutes he has posted a 3.09 goals against average and .907 save percentage.

Just two weekends remain in the 2022-23 regular season and teams are jockeying for position within the top four of the CCHA standings to gain home-ice advantage in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.

The Beavers currently sit fourth in the standings and hold the final seed for home-ice with 34 points. However, they are separated from fifth place Ferris State University by just one point so points are critical for the Beavers in the final two weekends.

BSU can also close the gap on third place Bowling Green State University who is seven points in front of the Beavers and have this weekend off from action.

The Mavericks will be fighting for the MacNaughton Cup this weekend. Minnesota State holds second in the standings with 45 points and have two games in hand against conference leader Michigan Tech who leads the league with 47 points. Michigan Tech also has this weekend off from action.

The Beavers continue to receive votes in both the USAToday/USAHockeyMagazine and DCU/ top-20 national polls for the eighth consecutive week while Minnesota State is 12th in the USAToday/USAHockeyMagazine poll and 13th in the DCU/ national poll.

Bemidji State moved up two spots and is now tied for 30th in this week’s PairWise rankings after splitting its series at Ferris State. The Mavericks are 13th in the PairWise.

Bemidji State is fifth in the league with 79 goals for and third with 78 goals against.

After a 2-for-6 weekend Bemidji State jumped up to second in the CCHA with a power-play percentage of .239 (21-88) and now rank 12th nationally.

Minnesota State’s penalty kill is fourth in the conference at 81.3 percent (78-of-96).

The Mavericks’ power play is tops in the CCHA and fifth in the nation with a power-play percentage of .264 (32-121).

Bemidji State’s penalty kill is sixth in the league at .804 (78-97) and the Beavers are the least penalized team in the league and third in DI with just 223 penalty minutes this season.

Bemidji State’s penalty kill is coming off a perfect 11-for-11 weekend and have killed off its last 13 opponent power plays.

Bemidji State is 9-3-2 this season when scoring a power-play goal.

The Beavers are led by senior blueliner Elias Rosén and freshman Lleyton Roed who have each recorded 24 points in 30 games.

Rosén paces the team with 21 assists which is tied for second in the league while Roed is second on the team with 10 goals and became the first BSU freshman at BSU to reach double-digits in goal scoring since Owen Sillinger totaled 10 goals in 2018-19. He is tied for 13th nationally in points (24) among defensemen and tied for second in the CCHA.

Freshman Lleyton Roed is having one of the best rookie campaigns in the CCHA and at BSU. He leads all league rookies in points (24) and has compiled the best rookie season at BSU since Rosén recorded 24 points in 35 games during the 2019-20 season. He ranks 18th nationally among Division I rookies.

Roed has points in eight of his last 11 games totaling 12 points (4g-8a) over that stretch.

Senior Will Zmolek has shutdown opposing forwards and leads the team and is fourth in the CCHA with 59 blocked shots. He has also contributed 17 points (2g-15) offensively and has points in five of the last seven games (6a).

Fellow senior Kyle Looft follows Zmolek with 54 blocked shots and is tied for fifth in the CCHA.

Sophomore goaltender Mattias Sholl leads BSU netminders and is 9-9-5 with a 2.12 goals against average and .917 save percentage. He is third in the CCHA in both GAA and save percentage.

Bemidji State is third in the CCHA by averaging 30.0 shots per game and allow 25.9 shots per game. The Beavers are 9-7-3 this season when outshooting their opponents and 6-6-2 when recording 30 or more shots.

The Beavers are 8-6-3 when scoring the first goal.

Bemidji State is undefeated when scoring three or more goals this season with a record of 11-0-1. However, the Beavers have scored three goals or more just three times over the last 12 games (3-8-1).

Friday’s game will mark the 2,000th game in Bemidji State Men’s Hockey history. The Beavers boast a program record of 1,169-680-150 (.624) in 67 seasons.