Live from the Sanford Center, it’s the Bemidji State home opener!

(Imagine that in your best Don Pardo voice…. R.I.P.)

As I type this we’re about 75 minutes from BSU’s home opener against North Dakota.

As you may remember, the Beavers beat UND 5-1 last night in Grand Forks. It’s the first time since 1970 that BSU has defeated UND on North Dakota. Read my recap of tonight’s historic game here.

Which means: Bemidji State is 1-0-0 and North Dakota is 0-1-0. Not sure anyone would have predicted that before last night’s game started (heck, I had North Dakota winning).

Anyway: BSU is now 3-25-3 alltime against UND. The other two wins were Feb. 7, 1970, in Grand Forks (a 7-5 BSU win) and also a 1-0 BSU win on Nov. 20, 2011, at the Sanford Center.

Lines are below.  Lots of changes for UND, but only two for BSU: Andrew Walsh in goal, while Bemidji High School graduate Jordan Heller will play his first-ever game for the Beavers at home.

23 Markus Gerbrandt-11 Nate Arentz-18 Brendan Harms
9 Phillip Marinaccio-13 Cory Ward-8 John Parker
17 Leo Fitzgerald-21 Gerry Fitzgerald-26 Myles Fitzgerald
15 Jordan Heller-27 Mitch Cain-19 Phil Brewer
28 Brett Beauvais-4 Sam Windle
20 Sam Rendle-7 Matt Prapavessis
25 Ruslan Pedan-12 Graeme McCormack
30 Andrew Walsh
1 Michael Bitzer
33 Reid Mimmack

28 Stephane Pattyn–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke  Johnson-8 Nick  Schmaltz
21 Brendan O’Donnell–18 Connor Gaarder–17 Colten St.  Clair
29 Bryn Chyzyk–10 Johnny Simonson–11 Trevor Olson
6 Paul LaDue–3 Tucker Poolman
5 Nick Mattson–24 Jordan Schmaltz
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
22 Andrew Panzarella (extra skater in warmpus)
31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

SEASON OPENER: Reading, lines, etc. for BSU/North Dakota

About to leave for Grand Forks, but before I get on U.S. Highway 2, some reading for you today.

Bemidji State is looking fort a fast start against No. 2 UND tonight. Also: Michael Bitzer, not Andrew Walsh, will be starting in goal tonight for Beavers. Maybe a bit of a shock but I had guessed Bitz, a freshman, would start one of the two. The Moorhead Spud will be thrown right into the fire for the first one, I guess.

Here’s my more general season preview, in which the general theme is the Beavers need to score.

Also interesting: The Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman went long on UND’s Dave Hakstol. A nice long feature on the coach. Worth the read.

Here’s some more notes on the game from Brad’s blog.

Also: I made my debut as a columnist on USCHO last night. Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press and I made our predictions for this week’s slate of games, which you can find here.

We also previewed the WCHA season. I wrote about Bemidji State (basically similar to what I wrote in the paper) but also about Alabama-Huntsville, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan. Read all those, if you wish, all compiled here.

Lastly, here’s Shane’s blog with his roundup of WCHA reading material. I used to do this but he did it before I did and I’m lazy and about to leave for Grand Forks so I’ll link to his today.

Anyway, BSU’s lines are on the bottom (note the Fitzgerald line!), and I’ll post UND’s when I get to the Ralph later tonight. I gotta go, catch you in Graand Forks!

23 Markus Gerbrandt-11 Nate Arentz-18 Brendan Harms
9 Phillip Marinaccio-13 Cory Ward-8 John Parker
17 Leo Fitzgerald-21 Gerry Fitzgerald-26 Myles Fitzgerald
22 Charlie O’Connor-27 Mitch Cain-19 Phil Brewer
28 Brett Beauvais-4 Sam Windle
20 Sam Rendle-7 Matt Prapavessis
25 Ruslan Pedan-12 Graeme McCormack
1 Michael Bitzer
30 Andrew Walsh


21 Brendan O’Donnell–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–13 Connor Gaarder–7 Wade Murphy
9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson–8 Nick Schmaltz
29 Bryn Chyzyk–26 Coltyn Sanderson–14 Austin Poganski

6 Paul LaDue–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–2 Troy Stecher
20 Gage Ausmus–4 Keaton Thompson

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw


They Want My Poll: Media poll, USCHO poll picks from yours truly

Would you like me to show you my soul, I mean, poll?

I apologize for that terrible pun in the title but it gives me the bad excuse to post a Spoon song in this post. So what that video (the album is called “They Want My Soul”… I know, just bear with me and like my favorite band, OK?) and follow me afterwards for my media poll picks (as well as my USCHO poll pick… I’m a voter this season).

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WCHA coaches, media pick Minnesota State as No. 1

The WCHA coaches conference call is starting now. With that, both my Bemidji Pioneer preseason media poll and Shane Frederick’s Mankato Free Press coaches poll will be released

Here’s the press release for both polls. I’ll have more later, but here you go:

2014-15 Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Media Poll

Rk           Team (1st place votes)          Points
1.            Minnesota State (23)                  256
2.            Ferris State (4)                               226
3.            Bowling Green                               180
4.            Michigan Tech                                178
5.            Alaska                                                163
6.            Alaska Anchorage                         128
7.            Northern Michigan                       112
8.            Bemidji State                                  101
9.            Lake Superior State                        60
10.          Alabama Huntsville                         26

Predicted order of finish. Based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale.

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
Matt Leitner, Sr., F, Minnesota State

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
Mark Friedman, D, Bowling Green

Preseason All-WCHA Team

Tyler Morley, Jr., Alaska; Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Sr., Minnesota State; Matt Leitner, Sr., Minnesota State

Colton Parayko, Jr., Alaska; Shane Hanna, So., Michigan Tech

C.J. Motte, Sr., Ferris State

Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; Tim O’Donnell, Fairbanks News-Miner; Jerry Taylor, ABC 10 UP sports director; Geof Morris, UAH; Michael Napier, UAH; Drew Evans, BGSU; Bruce Cech, Alaska Nanooks radio play-by-play; Chris Dilks, SBN College Hockey; Kevin Kurtt, Let’s Play Hockey Magazine; George Sipple, Detroit Free Press; Kurt Haider, Alaska-Anchorage radio play-by-play; Kevin Gordon, BGSU; Ryan Steig,Marquette Daily Mining Journal; Mike Sullivan, Minnesota State radio play by play; Greg Buckner, Big Rapids Pioneer; Scott Williams, Lakeland Sports & KBUN Bemidji; Ryan Satkowiak, Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune; Justin Bradford, Penalty Box Radio Nashville; John Wagner, Toledo Blade; Dave Danis, Northern Michigan radio play by play; Brian Halverson, Minnesota Hockey Magazine; Lee Benson, Lakeland Public TV sports director; David Tuttle, Alaska-Anchorage color commentator; Rob Roos, Sault Ste. Marie Evening News; Brandon Veale, The Daily Mining Gazette (Houghton)

2014-15 Mankato Free Press WCHA Men’s Hockey Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Rk           Team (1st place votes)          Points
1.            Minnesota State (9)                       81
2.            Ferris State (1)                                  67
3.            Michigan Tech                                  64
4.            Bowling Green                                 57
5.            Alaska                                                  44
6.            Northern Michigan                         40
7.            Alaska Anchorage                           38
8.            Bemidji State                                    33
9.            Lake Superior State                        17
10.          Alabama Huntsville                           9

Predicted order of finish. Based on a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
C.J. Motte, Sr., G, Ferris State (4 votes)

Others receiving votes: Matt Leitner, Sr., F, Minnesota State (3); Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Sr., F, Minnesota State (1); Scott Allen, Sr., F, Alaska Anchorage (1), Colton Parayko, Jr. D, Alaska (1)

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
C.J. Franklin, F, Minnesota State and Brad McClure, F, Minnesota State (4 votes each)

Others receiving votes: Brett Beauvais, D, Bemidji State (1), Oliver Mantha, G, Alaska Anchorage (1)

Preseason All-WCHA Team

Tyler Morley, Jr., Alaska; Jean-Paul LaFontaine, Sr., Minnesota State; Matt Leitner, Sr., Minnesota State

Colton Parayko, Jr., Alaska; Zach Palmquist, Sr., Minnesota State

C.J. Motte, Sr., Ferris State

Others receiving votes: Forwards—Scott Allen, Sr., Alaska Anchorage; Blake Tatchell, Jr., Alaska Anchorage; Justin Buzzeo, Sr., Ferris State; David Johnstone, Sr., Michigan Tech; Tanner Kero, Sr., Michigan Tech; Alex Petan, Jr., Michigan Tech; Blake Pietila, Sr., Michigan Tech. Defensemen—Austin Coldwell, Sr., Alaska Anchorage; Matt Prapavessis, Sr., Bemidji State; Jason Binkley, Sr., Ferris State; Shane Hanna, So., Michigan Tech. Goaltenders—Cole Huggins, So., Minnesota State.

Grenier named women’s hockey captain

New BSU captain Kristine Grenier

Senior forward Kristine Grenier has been named the captain of the Bemidji State women’s hockey team for the 2014-15 season.

The Leon, Manitoba, native transferred from Mercyhurst last season. She tied for the team lead with eight goals last season, including three game-winners.

In addition to Grenier, senior Alex Citrowske and junior Steph Anderson were named alternate captains.

Citrowske, from Savage, played in 35 of 36 games in 2013 and tallied a career high 12 points (5g, 7a).

Anderson, a junior from North St. Paul, is also a transfer — she played for the Minnesota Gophers as a freshman. She scored five goals and three assists for BSU last season.

Seeing as how both BSU captains from last season graduated (defensemen Alex Ehlert and Allie Duellman shared co-captaincy duties), I think these three are the perfect choices.

Grenier seemed to take something of a leadership role on offense last season — playing in all 36 games for the Beavers.

The Beavers are set to start practice Saturday in advance of their first series Sept. 26-27 at Robert Morris. Last season the Colonials swept the Beavers in two games in Bemidji.


Bemidji State finally opens its home season tonight with a tilt against Sioux Falls. The teams are set to kick off at 6 p.m. in the 18th annual Shrine Game.

The Beavers (0-1) are hoping for something good after a somewhat shaky game at Wayne State in which they were statistically even on the scoreboard yet lost bu three touchdowns, 35-13.

The Cougars, on the other hand, routed Minot State 41-14 in their opener, racking up nearly 500 yards of offense (497 to be exact) and used a two-quarterback rotation to batter the Beavers.

This week BSU will have to be on the lookout for a stout Sioux Falls defense which gave up just one score — a 52-yard pass. According to Matt Zimmer of the Argus-Leader, both USF quarterbacks (Luke Papilion and Matt Young) could potentially see lots of playing time in today’s game.

The Beavers will also be looking for a more consistent game from starting quarterback Jordan Hein, who threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns last weekend but also struggled to start and end the game, throwing two interceptions.

Read my preview story for today’s game here.

Below, here are the projected No. 1 players for today’s game. Interestingly: The Beavers don’t have tight end listed on the depth chart this week. Weather that means they won’t be using one or not remains to be seen, but instead they’ve opted to list for WRs instead of three WRs and a TE. Might not mean much, but it’s still intriguing.

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From the other side: Matt Zimmer on Sioux Falls football

The Beavers will host Sioux Falls Saturday in their home opener under the lights at Chet Anderson Stadium.

I’m excited, because I actually have something to cover. (It was a long summer.)

Anyway, to preview said game on the blog I’m going to do something new.

Matt Zimmer, who is in the running for the No. 1 Replacements fan I know, also happens to cover Sioux Falls and Augustana for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

He suggested exchanging Q&A’s with me in advance of this week’s game, and that sounded like a great idea. So I sent him five questions, his answers to which you can find below. I also answered five of his questions, which are up on his blog. I inadvertently wrote a new translation of War and Peace for each question so fair warning. But they’re over there if you’re interested.

So anyway, look after the jump for his answers to my questions. I’ll try and be back here Saturday to post projected starters and other tidbits that don’t make my preview story.

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BEAVER GAMEDAY 2014: BSU at Wayne State

My apologies that this is late. I planned on having this up early this morning but life got in the way.

The Beavers kick off in Wayne, Neb. (or Wayne, America, as the town’s Wikipedia page puts it…) in 20 minutes.

Here’s my preview of today’s game in the paper. A previously reported, Jordan Hein will start at quarterback.

Below, you’ll find the projected starters for both teams plus some Wayne State-related links.

Find the game on the radio at 92.1 The River in Bemidji or streaming on Beaver Radio Network. There’s also a video stream available here.

Depth Charts
Bemidji State
Pos, Name, Ht., Wt., Yr
LT Matt Valentine (6-4, 305, So)
LG Brandon Schindler (6-5, 303, Fr)
C Jesse Hein (6-0, 302, So)
RG Ben Johnson (6-1, 314, So)
RT Dustin Dowd (6-3, 310, Sr)
QB Jordan Hein (6-1, 201, TR-Fr)
WR Blake Holder (6-2, 198, RS-Fr)
WR Brady Schmidt (5-9, 182, So)
WR AJ Washington (5-7, 180, Sr)
WR Jordan Noskowiak (6-3, 216, Jr)
RB Tony Peterson (5-11, 192, Jr)
FB Evan Olson (5-10, 230, Sr)
TE Tucker Forsgren (6-4, 255, RS-Fr)
Pos, Name, Ht., Wt., Yr
DE JJ Reinke (6-5, 275, Sr)
NT Chris Ostby (6-4, 295, Jr)
DE Dan Kiebler (6-2, 265, Sr)
OLB Connor Quinn (6-1, 235, Jr)
ILB Justin Gedaly (6-0, 210, RS-Fr)
ILB Colton Blasyk (6-0, 218, RS-Fr)
OLB Greg Button (6-2, 216, Jr)
CB Evan Tompkins (6-0, 185, RS-Fr)
S Dylan Valentine (5-10, 195, Sr)
S Scott Christensen (5-11, 205, Sr)
CB Troy Beckett (5-11, 195, So)
Special Teams
K Kyle Fodness (5-10, 180, TR-So)
H Ryan Shields (6-1, 181, So)
P Chais Wakefield (5-10, 175, Sr)
LS Nick Daniello (6-1, 198, Fr)
KR Brady Schmidt
KR Ralph Biah (6-8, 175, Jr)
PR Kameel Al-Khouri (5-11, 195, So)

Wayne State
LT Shane Finley, 6-5, 280, So.
LG Ryan Porter, 6-2, 275, So.
C Austin Heesacker, 6-3, 275, Sr.
RG Taylor Jensen, 6-3, 285, Jr.
RT Wyatt Schuettler, 6-6, 275, Jr.
WR 4 Adam Stark, 6-1, 190, Sr.
WR 19 Cole McDaniel, 6-4, 210, Sr.
FB Chad Koch, 6-0, 230, Sr.
RB Rashad Trimble, 6-0, 215, So.
QB Zach Osborn, 6-1, 195, So.
TE Joe Trouba, 6-6, 250, Sr.
DE Jeff Van Den Top, 6-6, 255, Sr.
DT Shawn Barker, 5-10, 295, Jr.
DE Abram Walker, 6-3, 265, Sr.
OLB Zach Bierman, 6-3, 195, Jr.
MLB Nick Monzu, 6-0, 210, Sr.
MLB Tyson McGill, 6-0, 230, Sr.
OLB Nate Scott, 6-3, 205, Jr.
CB J’Ron Erby, 6-0, 190, Sr.
SS Chase Samuel, 6-0, 190, Sr.
FS Payton Doramus, 6-3, 205, Jr.
CB Jon Davis, 6-0, 180, Jr.
Special Teams
K Tyler Lindsay, 5-11, 165, So.
H Nick Roth, 6-0, 190, So.
P Colton Hough, 6-0, 215, Fr.
LS Colby Dostal, 5-10, 215, Jr.
KR/PR Tyri Bethea, 6-0, 185, R-Fr.
KR/PR Jonathan Parks, 6-1, 180, Jr.
Snapper Tony Gbogbo, 6-2, 295, So.

Previewing the Wildcats:

FOOTBALL: Jordan Hein named starting quarterback for opener at Wayne State

Real quick, because our paper was jam-packed with local news and I didn’t have room for this, but Jordan Hein has been named starting quarterback for Saturday’s football opener at Wayne State.

BSU quarterback Jordan Hein during practice earlier this season.

“It’s very exciting,” Hein said. “It’s never easy being a redshirt and not being able to play your first year but I’m just anxious to get back on the field.”

The Perham native transferred from Northern Iowa in the spring. He didn’t make any collegiate starts for the Panthers but it sounds like BSU is a much better fit for him.

Beavers’ head coach Jeff Tesch said he gave Hein the nod over sophomore Ryan Shields partly because of Hein’s ability to make things happen with his legs.

“There’s a lot of intangibles as far as what Wayne State is going to allow us to do, what Jordan brings to the table,” Tesch said. “Some of the lanes and stunts and line front games that Wayne State does leaves some openings for a quarterback to run. And Jordan, with his ability to run, we think he can get some production with his feet and his arm.”

Look for more on this later (I hope to run a preview story for Saturday’s game in Saturday’s paper).

The game is st to kick off at 1 p.m. at Wayne State’s Bob Cunningham Field.

September updates: Leonhardt, Bucky, women’s hockey

It’s been nearly a month (yikes!) since I updated this space, but it was mostly a leisurely one for me. Aside from having my wisdom teeth pulled (which was about as fun as one can have while being drugged in a chair for two hours) I took a handful of vacation days.

Which doesn’t quite excuse my lack of posting here, but it’s the one I’m sticking with.

Anyway, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on that hasn’t appeared in the print edition of the Pioneer, but here’s a few things I may have missed form across the Bemidji State athletics spectrum:

  • As you probably know, former Bemidji State tight end Brian Leonhardt made the Oakland Raiders’ 53-man roster this past weekend. In the story I said that BSU head coach Jeff Tesch thought Leonhardt was the first Beaver to make an NFL roster. I also wasn’t sure, but it turns out that’s not exactly true: Leonhardt is indeed the first of Tesch’s players in 19 years to make an NFL roster, but he isn’t the first BSU player. According to Brad Folkstad at in BSU Sports Information, Al Wolden played in three games for the Chicago Bears at running back in 1987.
    The Beavers have also had two NFL draft picks (T Dean Widseth to the Bears in 1946 and TE John Redebaugh to the Browns in 1970) as well as an AFL draft pick (C Dave Odegaard 1966 to the Houston Oilers) but it doesn’t appear that any of them played in any game action.
    The Raiders open the season this Sunday at New York. I’m not sure how much Leonhardt will play but if he gets in the game it looks like he’ll be just the second BSU Beaver to see live game action in a regular-season game.
    (Again, if I missed anyone that you know of, drop me a line.)
  • Bucky The Beaver won the mascot edition of Let’s Play Hockey Magazine’s 2014 Hockey Hotdish Tournament; which was a summer contest that had readers vote on various aspects of the “State Of Hockey.” Bucky eventually lost in the final four to the Duluth Heritage Sports Center, which was the eventual champion. But Bucky did beat out Goldy Gopher and Champ the Bulldog en route to the final four, so either people really like Bucky or everyone else just hates the Gophers as much as we think they do. (Although if you note Bob Peters somehow lost to Bob Johnson in the coaches bracket, take these votes with a grain of salt.)
  • As pointed out to me by BSU hockey superfan Brent Cizek, the BSU women’s team got a transfer from Minnesota-Duluth in Bailey Wright. The sophomore forward from Anchorage, Alaska, played in 30 games for the Bulldogs and scored 3 goals to go along with 2 assists last season.
  • BSU’s Community Appreciation Day is tomorrow from 4:30-6:30 p.m.. We’ll have a booth. I plan on being there for at least a little while so if you want to drop b y and talk BSU football, hockey or anything else I’d love to chat.