There have been a few real, non-exhibition games played already (Bowling Green vs. Niagara last week and Northeastern vs. Merrimack Wednesday), but the men’s hockey season, for all intents and purposes, begins today. Michigan Tech is taking on Lake Superior State RIGHT NOW in Sault Ste. Marie – the first honest-to-goodness hockey game of the year in the WCHA.
Bemidji State doesn’t have a game this week, which may be for the best. The Beavers get another week to work on their skills before opening the season at home against LSSU. They take on the US Under-18 National team Saturday in another exhibition tuneup.
According to BSU players, another week of practice will do them good. After Sunday’s 3-3 tie with Manitoba, there were some things BSU hadn’t even been able to work on after only two days of real practice.
“Our penalty kill, we haven’t gone over it at all yet but I think they did very well out there,” senior Jake Areshenko said after the Manitoba game. “I think overall it was a decent game for everybody. I think we all competed hard, worked hard. For the rookies, I think they’re up to speed now, they know what its about.
“I think come next Saturday we’ll be stronger with another good week of practice.”
BSU head coach Tom Serratore said this week he’ll be looking for more structure.
“We want more structure and less chaos,” he said. “We want to kind of tone things down a little bit. We’d like to tactically be a little sharper. That’s expected. I think we’ll be better this coming weekend than we were on Sunday.”
Serratore held a number of upperclassmen out of the opening exhibition game, including captain Ben Kinne, leading returning scorer Jordan George and goaltendter Andrew Walsh. One would expect them to play this week.
The National Team, FYI, has already played Wisconsin and Notre Dame. They lost to Wisconsin 5-0 but managed to tie with the Irish 1-1. They also take on North Dakota Friday before coming to Bemidji.