Beavers host Tommies with CCHA points on the line
BSU Men’s Hockey begins CCHA play with home series against St. Thomas
The Central Collegiate Hockey Association begins league play this weekend and the Bemidji State University Men’s Hockey team hosts University of St. Thomas with six league points up for grabs.
The Beavers (1-3-0) host the Tommies (2-3-1) at Sanford Center for the conference opening series that begins Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:07 p.m. The two teams then conclude the series Saturday at 6:07 p.m.
Each game will be streamed online at FloHockey.tv with play-by-play provided by the Beaver Radio Network and Brian Schultz on play-by-play and Brian Bissonette on color commentary. A radio broadcast for each game can be found on the dial at 92.1 FM or online at www.beaverradionetwork.com.
Bemidji State and St. Thomas opened play against one another in 1961 when the Beavers still played outdoors at the College Rink on the campus of Bemidji State.
The Beavers dominate the all-time series owning a 30-4-2 record against the Tommies.
BSU has won seven of the last 10 meetings (7-2-1) and went 2-1-2 versus UST in last year’s season series.
The Beavers are an impressive 20-2-2 when facing the Tommies in Bemidji and have not been defeated by the Tommies in their home rink since Nov. 29, 1998.
Since the Tommies joined the CCHA, the Beavers are 6-1-1 against UST.
The Beavers and Tommies have met four times in postseason play including the 1978 NAIA National Tournament. The Beavers were NAIA National runner-ups to Augsburg that season.
Bemidji State is unranked in both the USA Hockey/The Rink Live and USCHO.com top-20 national polls while the Tommies are receiving votes in the USCHO.com poll.
Bemidji State comes into the weekend series looking to snap a two-game losing skid after falling twice against No. 14 University of Minnesota Duluth in a home-and-home series.
The Beavers were shutout 4-0 in game one in Duluth and then rallied to force overtime versus the Bulldogs in game two at Sanford Center but fell in the three-on-three period.
Fifth-year senior Kyle Looft scored the Beavers’ first two goals in Saturday’s 5-4 overtime loss for his first career multi-goal game. He later assisted on the Beavers’ third goal for his first three-point night.
Looft was recognized as the CCHA’s Defenseman of the Week for his efforts earning the accolade for the third time in his career.
Six Beavers recorded a point in Saturday’s game including Looft and sophomores Patrik Satosaari (2a), Adam Flammang (1g-1a) and Lleyton Roed (1g-1a) who all tallied multiple points.
St. Thomas enters the weekend with a 2-3-1 record and are coming off a 1-0-1 weekend against Lindenwood University in Mendota Heights.
The Tommies are led by junior Liam Malmquist who has a goal and six assists through six games. Sophomore Lucas Wahlin is the team’s leading goal scorer with three goals and has added two assists to his point total.
Roed and Looft are tied for the Beavers’ point lead with each totaling four points through the first four games. Roed is the team’s top goal scorer with three goals while Looft and Flammang each follow with two.
Looft is third among league defenseman in points and is the only defenseman in the league to score two goals.
13 of the Beavers have recorded a point so far this season with eight tallying at least two points.
Seven of the Beaves’ 10 goals this season have been scored by underclassmen with sophomore Lleyton Roed leading the team with three goals.
Freshman defenseman Eric Pohlkamp paces the team with 19 shots on goal which ties him for sixth in the CCHA. He’s averaging 4.75 shots per game which is the highest average in the conference.
Head coach Tom Serratore is 6-1-1 coaching against the Tommies.
The Beavers are sixth in the conference in both goals for per game and goals against per game. Bemidji State averages 2.50 goals per game while allowing 3.75 per game.
BSU ranks fourth in the league with a .130 power-play percentage (3-23). Looft has scored two of the Beavers’ three power-play goals.
The Beavers penalty kill is seventh in the league at .625 percent (10-16).
2023-24 is the 68th season of Bemidji State Men’s Hockey and 25th in Division I. The Beavers are 1,172-687-150 (.624) in 67 seasons and 386-393-102 (.501) in Division I.
Head coach Tom Serratore enters his 23rd season at the helm of the Bemidji State Men’s Hockey program. He is 369-347-97 (.515) in his coaching career.
Serratore stands 12th in career victories among active head coaches in Division I and his career winning percentage of .515 is 17th.
Since taking over the Bemidji State Men’s Hockey program in 2001, Serratore’s teams have achieved six regular-season conference championships, three CHA tournament titles, five NCAA Tournament appearances, one NCAA Frozen Four appearance (2009) and is a seven-time conference Coach of the Year.
During the off-season, Serratore announced the addition of two assistants to his coaching staff. Andrew Magera (Penn State ’21) and Brock Kautz (Minnesota ’19) will each serve as assistant coaches for the 2023-24 season.
They join Associate Head Coach Travis Winter as the four leaders of the program this season.
Fifth-year senior Kyle Looft made his return to the Beaver Hockey program and was voted by his teammates to lead the 2023-24 Beavers on and off the ice as the team’s captain.
He is assisted by fellow fifth-year senior Carter Jones as well as seniors Eric Martin and Jackson Jutting who will wear the “A”.
Bemidji State was voted to finish fourth by league coaches in this year’s CCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Beavers were voted to finish fifth by members of the league’s media.
Freshman Eric Pohlkamp (Brainerd, Minn.) was voted as the league’s Preseason Rookie of the Year in both the coaches and media polls while Looft was selected to the Preseason All-CCHA Team by the media.
BSU returns 21 athletes from 2022-23 (11 forwards, eight defensemen, two goaltenders) and lost 8 athletes (five forwards, two defensemen, one goaltender) to graduation.
Serratore has added seven newcomers to the squad with five forwards, one defenseman and one goaltender.
One of those newcomers is Eric Pohlkamp who was selected in the fifth round (132nd) of the NHL’s 2023 Entry Draft. He is the first Beaver NHL Draft pick since Radoslav Illo was selected in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (139th).
Pohlkamp is the sixth Beaver to be drafted into the NHL joining Illo, Chris Peluso (seventh round – Pittsburgh – 194th), Andrew Murray (eighth round – Columbus – 242nd), Gary Sargent (third round – Los Angeles – 48th) and Dale Smedsmo (seventh round – Toronto – 93rd).
The Beavers return their leading scorer from 2022-23 in sophomore Lleyton Roed. Roed was the first BSU freshman since Matt Read (2007-08) to lead the team in scoring.
He played in all 36 games and posted 31 points off 13 goals and 18 assists, the fifth highest point total by a Beaver freshman in its DI era.
Roed was tied for seventh in the CCHA among all skaters in scoring and 11th in goals and was the leagues leading freshman point getter and finished 19th nationally.
The Beavers graduated four of its top five scorers from last year and following Roed, junior Jere Vasanen is the next top returner after posting 17 points (7g-10a) in 36 games.
Roed and Looft are the Beavers’ top returning power-play goal scorers after the pair each netted three goals on a BSU power play unit that finished third in the CCHA last year.
Bemidji State returns starting goaltender Mattias Sholl who started 30 of the team’s 36 games last year.
Sholl posted a 11-13-5 record in net and was third in the CCHA with a 2.26 goals against average and sixth in save percentage (.908).
He is joined by senior Gavin Enright as well as newcomer Raythan Robbins (Anchorage, Alaska).
The 2023-24 Beaver roster consists of 28 student-athletes with two fifth-year seniors, five seniors, seven juniors, seven sophomores and seven freshmen.
The team consists of 11 Minnesotans, 22 from North America including five Canadians and six from Europe.
By average, the Beavers stand as one of the smallest in Division I. They are the eighth smallest by height averaging 5’11.8″ and second smallest by weight averaging 180.5 pounds.
Looft returns as one the most seasoned defensemen in college hockey and has played in the second most games in DI by a defenseman at 141. He trails T.J. Lloyd of Alaska-Fairbanks by one game and Ethan Somoza by 30 games for the program’s most games played record.