At this point (early Wednesday morning) a “weekend recap” is almost old news. But I’m still awake, listening to Lou Reed and thinking about both Bemidji State hockey teams’ weekends (because this is what I do with myself on weeknights). I may as well write a blog. Right?
First, please remember to listen to this Velvet Underground song as you read this entry. It’s the perfect soundtrack.
(I’m not trying to compare my work to “Sister Ray,” but if you stick with the jumbled mess that is this post, you’ll find something meaningful from it. Just like “Sister Ray.”)
The flight home for the Bemidji State men’s team Sunday morning was, arguably, the best they’ve had in a while.
The Beavers went to Huntsville and escaped with their first road sweep since March 2, 2012. That’s not a terribly like a long time — it was a series in Anchorage at the end of the 2011-12 season — but it seemed like ages, especially considering the difficulties BSU had winning at all last season (much less on the road). That series also happened to be their last conference sweep in the WCHA.
Of course, sweeps are hard enough as it is. Sweeps on the road are even tougher. So that the Beavers were able to escape Huntsville with a pair of wins — 6-1 and 1-0 — is no small feat.
“You want to win on the road,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said Tuesday. “The old adage is, you want to at least split on the road. I don’t know if we can bank one of those wins but there’s no question that it gives you a little shot in the arm, and hopefully we have some momentum from winning a series like that that continues this weekend.”
The Beavers might not be able to “bank” one of those wins — hey, it’s a long season — but the sweep of the Chargers puts BSU in a unique position. First place in the WCHA.
Let me repeat that, because I’m not positive this sentence has ever been typed*: The Bemidji State Beavers are all alone atop the WCHA standings.
*If I am wrong, mea culpa. If anyone knows this for a fact (or if it is wrong), please tell me.
Granted, last weekend was just the first weekend of league play. And only four conference teams were in action. (Alaska played a nonconference series against Mercyhurst.) So it’s a small sample size.
But because Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech swept their series and split the four points among themselves, the Beavers are by themselves at the top.
Can it last?
That’s something this weekend’s series against ranked Minnesota State will tell us. Stay tuned…
Also from last weekend: Bemidji State had two players earn WCHA honors for their play against UAH.
Markus Gerbrandt was named offensive player of the week and Brendan Harms was named rookie of the week.
Gerbrandt, the 5-10 sophomore from Edmonton, scored a hat trick in BSU’s 6-1 win Friday. He’s already matched his output from last season scoring wise with four goals and an assist through six games.
(FACTOID!: BSU’s last hat trick also came against UAH. Brad Hunt scored three times against the Chargers on Nov. 21, 2009.)
Harms, a freshman from Steinbach, Manitoba, scored the first goal of his collegiate career Friday and added an assist later in the game. He also assisted on Cory Ward’s goal Saturday.
The BSU women’s team weren’t as lucky this past weekend: The Beavers were swept at home by No. 1 Minnesota.
The Gophers remained undefeated and extended their ridiculous winning streak with a pair of 4-0, 4-3 victories at the Sanford Center.
The results weren’t what BSU was looking for, but the Beavers certainly look like a better team now than they did at the beginning of the year. Or for most of last season.
“We see progress,” head coach Steve Sertich said. “We’re a better team than we were before. … There’s confidence there now. To score three against Minnesota was pretty good on our part since we haven’t scored that much prior to that.”
Indeed, for the Beavers to score three on the Gophers is impressive. In fact, BSU lead Minnesota 2-1 in the first period Saturday thanks to Lauren Miller’s snipe before the Gophers scored two goals to take a lead. Hanna Moher snipe in the third tied it back up at 3-3, but the Gophers scored late in the third and went on to win.
Still: Last season Minnesota outscored BSU 34-3 in six games.
This year’s nonconference results — against Lindenwood and Robert Morris — made it difficult to tell how BSU would respond in the WCHA season.
But if this kind of series against Minnesota is any indication (again, small sample size), it may just be that the Beavers are turning a corner and seeing the light this year.
Will they win the WCHA? Maybe not — this is Minnesota’s conference to win, again, until someone unseats them.
But with BSU’s increased scoring — at this point 8 games in they’ve already netted 17 goals compared to 11 last season — the Beavers look like a team that could be fighting for home ice at the end of the season rather than one trying to get out of the cellar.
As in, “Matt Read is vicious whenever he faces Cam Talbot.”
(Yeah, I know, this whole “try and relate Lou Reed songs to BSU hockey” is wearing thin. This is the last one, I promise!)
The former Bemidji State forward scored his first goal of the season last week against the Rangers’ Cam Talbot — a former Alabama-Huntsville Charger. It’s an impressive goal, as is Read’s wont:
Read started slow this season and it took him a few games to get going.
And it’s unfortunate for Talbot that his first career NHL start came against Read, who owned him in college.
According to Troy Mills at the Beaver Pond, BSU was 12-0-1 against Talbot and Read scored 12 goals and had eight assists in those games.
Add two more to that tally — Read torched Talbot for a goal and an assist last week.
Read has since added two more goals — one each in his part two games — to break his slump. He’s currently got four points to tie for third on a struggling Flyers team.
A final news item to file under the “former Beavers” department: Mathieu Dugas got his first pro start last week.
Dugas suited up for the Mississippi Surge of the SPHL and made 42 saves but still took the loss in Mississippi’s 5-1 loss to Pensacola.
That’s all I got. If you read this far, you deserve a cold one. Not from me, of course, But go ahead and grab one yourself from your fridge. You earned it.
Maybe I’ll blog some more before Friday’s game against MSU.