Beavers Scuffling Coming Into St. Cloud Series

At a certain point, losing becomes tedious for everyone involved. Asking the same questions over and over yields similar answers. Neither the interviewer not the interviewee wants to ask or answer.

This seems to be that point in the season for the Bemidji State men’s hockey team – hence the lack of updates on the ol’ Beaver blog.

The Beavers are 0-6-2 in their last eight games and haven’t won in 2013. There’s not much “new” to update – mostly the games in the New Year have played out similarly: BSU scores a goal or two but can’t convert on myriad opportunities. Stymied on power play. At best, settle for a tie. Rinse. Repeat.

BSU players and coaches say that can’t remember a time when the going was this rough for the Beavers. Head coach Tom Serratore noted the program’s first few seasons in Division I –  1999-2000 and 2000-01 – had worse stretches. The 00-01 year was perhaps the worst season in program history; as BSU finished 4-26-4.

This season’s squad will at least avoid finishing with fewer wins, but with a 5-14-5 record as February ends, it’s getting to the point where the Beavers need to run into a lucky one or two to avoid the WCHA cellar (well, OK, Alaska-Anchorage may be in worse shape at 3-16-5 and just one conference win…)

BSU hasn’t won a game since the phenomenal Denver series at the end of December. At that point I thought the Beavers were a team on the rise. They were moving the puck around, scoring on the power play, playing defense and getting monstrous production from the Boehm-Jubinville-Orban line.

It’s only about 45 days since that series, but it sure feels like ages.

One of the main things I’ve harped on this for the past couple series, but bears repeating, is this number:

0-for-17 power play.

You’re reading that correctly. The Beavers haven’t scored on the man-advantage since the second game of the Western Michigan series. That includes an 0-for-7 (yeah, not a typo either) game against Michigan Tech Jan. 19. (Actually, in that game the Beavers had a 5-on-3 power play in overtime and couldn’t find a goal.)

Overall, they’re 2-for-28 (7.1 percent) since that two-PP-goal game against Denver and are 12-for-77 (15.6 percent) overall.

The power play combination of Aaron McLeod, Brance Orban, Radoslav Illo and Danny Mattson – along with a various defender – appears to be the main unit. McLeod has scored five of his team-high 10 goals on the power play.

Jordan George and Ben Kinne have also been out there at various times this season – both have scored twice on the power play.

It’s tough to say if Serratore will shuffle the unit even more to give the Beavers a spark. Aside from Jeff Jubinville and David Boehm, who are both used extensively on the penalty kill, there aren’t a lot of proven forwards on the bench.

In last weekend’s Nebraska-Omaha series it did seem like BSU was getting its chances on the man advantage. The Beavers got some good shots off and looked much more patient doing so than they did against Michigan Tech.

This weekend against St. Cloud State – and really, in every single game they’re going to play down the stretch – they’ll have to score on the power play if they want to snap out of this funk. Because it won’t be easy at even strength.


Just two quick videos for you.

First, if you were following my Tweets during Saturday night’s game, you’ll remember that former Beaver Matt Read scored his very first NHL hat trick in the Flyers’ game against the Panthers.

Also this weekend, Brad Hunt, now playing for the Chicago Wolves, was named to the AHL All-Star Game. He scored a goal in Monday’s game and also participated in the AHL’s version of the Super-Skills competition and finished second in the shot competition (99.5.MPH).

I don’t have that video (yet… internet, please help?) but they do have video of the AHL All-Star introductions from the skills competition:

Highlights of the game are here. Hunt scores at around the 30 second mark in this video: