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Bemidji State beat writer for the Bemidji Pioneer. Appreciator of books, beer, baseball and rock'n'roll.

BSU men release roster; women land two for 2015

BSU’s 2014-15 roster is finally out, with a few surprises.

It turns out in my last blog post I was right: Not all 11 of the recruits I had seen listed as coming are actually coming in 2014. Instead, just eight freshman are joining the team this season.

Most surprisingly, though, is who’s not on the team.

In addition to the three graduating seniors (Radoslav Illo, Matt Hartmann and Jeff Jubinville), there are three other names not on the 2014-15 roster: forwards Danny Mattson and Brad Robbins and defenseman DJ Jones.

I’ve confirmed with BSU people that all three are no longer part of the program.

Neither Jones nor Robbins played a whole ton this season and combined for two points, but Mattson, who would be a senior this season, had 16 points in 33 games and was tied for second on the team with 14 assists.

It will be interesting to see where Mattson lands. He’s a useful winger who can distribute the puck well, so I suspect some team will be able to use him on a third or fourth line.

As for the incoming recruits, Beavers fans will be very pleased to see Myles, Leo and Gerry Fitzgerald finally on an official BSU roster. The trtiplets have been much anticipated since verballing with BSU two years ago.

Also coming this fall is former Bemidji Lumberjack Jordan Heller. As I’ve mentioned before, Heller will be the first former Lumberjack to suit up in green and white since Brad Johnson.

Rounding out that list are goaltender Michael Bitzer (which will give BSU four goalies next season… a little unusual), defenseman Brett Beauvais and forwards Kyle Bauman and Jay Dickman.

Pair of Prowlers commit to BSU

Jim Scanlan hasn’t spent much time behind the Bemidji State bench but he already has a head start on the 2015 season.

Thief River Fall rising seniors Emily Bergland and Sylvia Marolt verbally committed to BSU for the 2015 season.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald interviewed their coach, Corey Poole, earlier today and said the two actually committed to BSU while head coach Steve Sertich was still the head coach but didn’t publicize their commitment until now.

Still, Scanlan coached against both girls last year when he was behind the bench at East Grand Forks. I’m sure he’ll be glad to see his former foes on his bench instead.

Bergland tallied 28 goals and 51 points in 26 games for TRF while Marolt had 14 goals and 32 points in 25 games.

The Prowlers finished 24-2 and were one of just two teams to beat Scanlan’s East Grand Forks team last season. They beat the Green Wave twice but lost to them 2-1 in the Section 8A semifinal. The game went to double overtime; EGF eventually took second in the state after losing to Breck.

Women’s roster released; expanded replay criteria approved for 2014-15 season

Just a quick FYI: The BSU women’s team has posted its roster for the 2014-15 season already.

Looks like the only significant losses were the six graduating seniors. Also not on the roster this season is D Kenzie Menzak. Menzak, who transferred to BSU from Plattsburgh State, only appeared in two games last season.

As for the newcomers, there are seven freshman joining the program this year: D Riley Fawcett (Proctor); F Ciscely Nelson (Roseau); D Emma Terres (New Hope); D Alexis Joyce (Lakeville); F Summer Thibodeau (Maple Grove); D Alewx Bond (Barrie, Ont.) and G Hannah Paulson (Maple Grove).

That almost exactly replaces positions the Beavers needed with the departures they had last season (two forwards, a goalie and a bunch of defenseman).

Former head coach Steve Sertich knew what he needed to replace and it looks like he did a good job bringing in a bunch of instate talent. I don’t think new head coach Jim Scanlan will be bringing in anyone knew at this late date but there may be one or two uncommitted players out there that could walk on and add to the roster.

News NCAA rules approved

Nothing major, but the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a few changes Friday, especially to the way replays are handled in men’s and women’s college hockey.

Basically, there are a few more scenarios where officials can review goals:

-Refs can review a goal to see if it was scored before a penalty

-A scoring play can be reviewed if an offside or too many men penalty is missed to see when the puck was in the offensive zone

-The NCAA also clarified that video for replays can come from anywhere. Before the video was required to come from the TV broadcast.

The rest of the rules are somewhat dull (like the size of goal pegs and penalty shot and faceoff procedure).

Also, there’s an experimental rule for women’s hockey only which allows the puck to be played legally with a high stick.

Beavers add Bauman; and other recruiting thoughts

BSU made some more news today when it was announced that they’d landed yet another commitment for the 2014-15 season.

Kyle Bauman, a forward from Apopka, Fla., will become, by my count, the 11th recruit to join the Beavers for next season (at least, according to various recruiting websites and sources).

Bauman played his junior hockey for Wichita Falls of the NAHL, where he led the team in points (41) and goals (21). The 5-foot-9, 170-pound forward looks like a go-to scorer. The Beavers can never have enough of those.

Mostly though, I’m just curious about that previous number of 11: That’s 11 incoming freshmen.

In addition to Bauman, there are eight listed as forwards: the long-awaited Myles, Leo and Gerry Fitzgerald, Jordan Heller, TJ Roo, Jay Dickman, Ethan Somoza and Corey Petrash. There’s also defensman Brett Beauvais and goalie Michael Bitzer.

I’m taking all this data from College Hockey Inc., which does a pretty good job compiling every single college commitment from around the country (although there are some mistakes … like listing John Parker as class of 2014-15, and Jordan Heller as a defenseman. Also, Sam Rendle isn’t listed anywhere on the depth chart).

I’ll also note: Chris Heisenberg of “hockeyrecruits4u” also has a nice spreadsheet set up but his doesn’t have all 11 recruits listed as coming for 2014-15… he’s only got 8. So this isn’t a science as much as it is an art and without talking to each recruit individually it’s tough to know exactly when they’ll be coming.

Anyway, in itself, it’s not odd to have such a large incoming class: Last season there were 10 newcomers. But that big incoming class was also replacing 10 seniors.

This season there are just three seniors to replace from graduation. I’m sure there may be a few more departures as well (I haven’t seen the official roster yet for 2014-15 but there always are a few who transfer out).

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have that many in the program. It’s just odd in college hockey to see that many come at once. Usually you see less redshirting in favor of recruits electing to remain in the juniors for another year if their incoming class is too big.

Obviously, since these rosters aren’t official it’s very likely that a handful of the new recruits will elect to do exactly that.

Either way, I’m interested to see just how these new recruits will make their mark on an improving Beaver hockey team this season.


Random July updates

Just realized it’s been almost a month since I last posted… I haven’t been great about maintaining this during the summer.

Since then, the NHL Draft came and went without any BSU players being selected, both new WCHA commissioners were in town and current BSU forward Brendan Harms was invited to participate in the Jets’s prospect development camp.

There hasn’t been a whole lot else happening in the world of BSU hockey, although the annual Galen Nagle Memorial Golf Tournament is set for Friday.  I don’t golf, but it’s a good time for me to get to hobknob with BSU hockey alumni and fans about what’s going on in the Beaver hockey universe. So look for a story on that on Saturday.

I’ve also been trying to keep track of some of the recent former Beavers and where they’ll be playing pro next season. Most recently I got word that former BSU defenseman Jake Areshenko had re-signed with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL for next season.

Another former Beaver, Brandon Marino, will be leaving the ECHL to play in Europe for the upcoming season. Marino led the ECHL in scoring last season with 88 points for the Fort Wyane Kmoets but this year he’ll be headed to Hungary’s Székesfehérvár (don’t ask me how to pronounce it), which plays in the Austrian league.

As for the AHL: I know Brad Hunt will be back with Oklahoma City next season. Radoslav Illo played for Norfolk after signing an ATO with the organization last season but I don’t know if he’ll be back there next season.

In the next couple days I plan on talking with new BSU head women’s coach Jim Scanlan now that he’s been on the job for a few weeks.

I’m also going to do a roster breakdown of both the men and the women’s teams (this provided the men’s roster is posted soon).

Also: BSU football reports back to camp Aug. 13. That’s still more than a month, but you should probably know. If you’ve read this far, you’ll have some inside knowledge.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Scanlan looks like a slam-dunk

I didn’t have time to update the blog more yesterday but a day after Bemidji State named Jim Scanlan the fifth women’s hockey coach in the program’s history, I have a little more time to talk about the hire.

In short: I kind of thought this was a no-brainer for BSU.

I know many in the college hockey world — at least, those outside of Bemidji — were thinking that former Minnesota State men’s coach and current Nebraska-Omaha assistant Troy Jutting was the clubhouse leader. That makes sense, considering he has name recognition and has friends on the BSU coaching staff.

By all accounts, Jutting would have been a great coach (and also a great quote).

But I don’t know if he was a great fit for the Beaver women’s team.

Yeah, he was a name that might have filled seats at the Sanford Center, but he’d never coached women or girls hockey at any level and his connections to BSU were negligible.

That’s why I think Scanlan was the best choice for the job.

Assistant coach Amber Fryklund — also a finalist for the job — also would have been a good choice, but it seems like Scanlan’s connections were very important.

As I mentioned in my story in today’s paper, Scanlan seemed to know everyone in the room at Tuesday’s press conference (which was fairly crowded for a press conference at 3 p.m. on a nice day outside).

And if he didn’t know them, he seemed to know of them.

Obviously knowing people isn’t everything in coaching — the actual, you know, coaching, is the primary concern, or it should be.

But don’t count out the fact that Scanlan is very familiar with Bemidji, and the Minnesota girls college hockey scene in general, when it comes time to recruit players to play for the Beavers.

BSU still has trouble getting the top, top recruits from the girls prep hockey ranks — it seems that Minnesota, Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota scoop them up pretty quickly.

Scanlan seems like the kind of guy who will be able to sell potential recruits on Bemidji right away, just because he’s so personable and genuine. He obviously has a passion for hockey, for BSU and for Bemidji and I think it shouldn’t be a problem for him to convince recruits that Bemidji is the place for them.

He talked about that during his press conference:

“We all know what a special place this is,” he said. “It’s our job to bring the girls up and show them what a place this can be. But obviously being successful certainly helps. When girls come here on a recruiting trip and see a team that believes in themselves and believes in each other, I think athletes want ton be part of something special. If we can create that culture here it’s going to be easier to bring top-flight girls here.”

The Beavers were much more competitive this past season (11-21-4 overall 8-17-3 WCHA) than they were in 2012-13 (when they finished 6-26-2 overall). But BSU hasn never finished above .500 in the 17-year history of the program; and the best finish was a 17-17-3 record in 2011-12. Even that year the team failed to finish in the top-half of the ultra-competitive WCHA.

I don’t know if it will be automatic, but the team has a foundation in place to at least finish above fifth place for the first time ever. The question is when it will happen. I think with Scanlan the answer will be “very soon.”

BSU to name Scanlan head women’s coach

It was reported earlier, and I’ve recently confirmed, that Jim Scanlan will be named the new Bemidji State women’s head hockey coach.

Scanlan is a former Bemidji State All-American goaltender and has been coaching hockey at East Grand Forks High School for what feels like forever. He recently lead the Green Wave girls team to the Class A state championship game, where they took second in the state.

The press conference begins at 3 p.m. in the Beaver Pride room on the BSU campus, but if you can’t be there it looks like they’ll have a livestream of the presser here.

I’ll have more after the presser, but this looks like a great hire for the Beavers.

BSU names four finalists named for women’s hockey job

Can’t get our website to work at the moment but I thought I’d at least throw a little something up here this way.

BSU has named four finalists for the women’s hockey job left vacant by Steve Sertich’s retirement.

Two have BSU ties: current assistant coach Amber Fryklund and former BSU goaltender Jim Scanlan.

Also finalists are current Nebraska-Omaha assistant (and former longtime Minnesota State head coach) Troy Jutting and current MSU women’s assistant Brett Bruininks.

Of the four, none have Division I head coaching experience at the women’s level, although Jutting was head of the MSU men’s program for 12 years.

The four will apparently be on campus Wednesday for interviews. Not sure what the timeline is for announcing the person they hire but I reckon it’ll be soon, so stay tuned.

Gilling hired as head coach at Mount Royal

This story came across my news feed a little later but it’s good news for a (now former) Bemidji State assistant coach.

Bert Gilling, who has been an assistant for Bemidji State for 15 years, has been hired as head coach at Mount Royal University in Calgary, the schools announced Thursday. See the BSU press release here and the MRU press release here.

I’m working on my own story here (I’m planning on it anyway) but it’s a good move up for Gilling, who will get his first chance at coaching his own program in his career. He’s been at BSU for 15 years — under both current head coach Tom Serratore and former coach R.H. “Bob” Peters.

Mount Royal is an interesting case as far as Canadian universities go. The Cougars just recently made the move to the CIS in 2012. Before that they were in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. From what I can surmise it’s about the equivalent of making the jump from the Division II to Division I (the difference, of course, is Canadian colleges don’t offer athletic scholarships at all).

They’ve only been in CIS for two years and appeared to have steadily made progress. In 2012-13 they finished 7-21-0 but improved to 12-19-0 in 2013-14.

So it’s a good gig for Gilling, who finally has the reins to his own program.

I’m not sure what BSU’s plans are for hiring another assistant to replace Gilling but hopefully we’ll know more about that in the coming weeks (I assume it will happen after the new women’s coach is hired but I’m still not sure).

BSU releases 2014-15 men’s hockey schedule

Turns out if I’d have waited a day the Bemidji State hockey schedule would’ve been out already. Here’s the link to the full schedule via BSU. Here’s the press release. I’ll have the full schedule below.

As I had suspected, the Beavers do indeed take on St. Cloud State and Minnesota in nonconference action.

And if you look at the schedule, things are going to be very difficult right away for BSU.

The season opens with a home and home against UND followed by a week off then a series at Mariucci Arena. Then they’ll return home to face Alaska fairbanks before traveling to Minnesota State Mankato.

They’ll host St. Cloud State Nov. 28-29.

So to recap: The Beavers play three nonconference series and one nonconference trournament (North Star Cup).

Three of their nonconference foes (UND, Minnesota, St. Cloud) went to the NCAA tournament and obviously two went to the Frozen Four.

BSU also has at least four games against Minnesota State and two against Ferris.

They’ll also play either Mankato or Minnesota again in the championship game or the third place game of the North Star Cup.

In all that’s 13 games against 2013-14 tournament teams. That’s about the same as last season.

I’d guess the Beavers are once again going to have among the toughest schedules in the nation when all is said and done.

Anyway, the full schedule is below. You ready for October yet?

Oct. 10-11: at North Dakota, vs. NORTH DAKOTA (Home and Home)
Oct. 17-18: OPEN
Oct. 24-25: at Minnesota
Nov. 7-8: at Minnesota State*
Nov. 14-15: MICHIGAN TECH*
Nov. 21-22: at Bowling Green*
Nov. 28-29: ST. CLOUD STATE
Dec. 5-6: at Alaska Anchorage*
Jan. 17-18: at Lake Superior State*
Jan. 23: vs. Minnesota Duluth (North Star College Cup, St. Paul)
Jan. 24: vs. Mankato/Minnesota (North Star College Cup, St. Paul)
Jan. 30-31: BOWLING GREEN*
Feb. 6-7: at Michigan Tech (Winter Carnival)*
Feb. 13-14: at Northern Michigan*
Feb. 27-28: at Ferris State*
March 13-15: WCHA first round
March 20-21: WCHA Final Five (St. Paul)
*denotes WCHA conference game

Piecing together the 2014-15 schedule

Apologies for the lack of updates but there hasn’t been much news on the college hockey front, especially related to Bemidji State.

Yes, the WCHA hired both a men’s commissioner and a women’s commissioner but there hasn’t been much news specifically related to the Beavers.

The BSU women have yet to announce a new head coach; and neither team has released their schedule yet.

Despite not having a full official schedule a few WCHA (and nonconference) teams have put out their 2014-15 scheduled so I can, at least somewhat confidently, at least give a visual on what part of BSU’s schedule will look like next season.

Five of the 10 WCHA schools have released their schedules (Fairbanks, Anchorage, Ferris, Tech and Huntsville) as has one nonconference opponent (Duluth). North Dakota hasn’t released theirs officially yet (save nonconference) but Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported that BSU and North Dakota will play a home and home to kick off the season next year.

Anyway, here’s all we know:

Oct. 10-11: at North Dakota, vs. NORTH DAKOTA (Home and Home)
Oct. 17-18: ???
Oct. 24-25: ???
Nov. 7-8: ???
Nov. 14-15: MICHIGAN TECH*
Nov. 21-22: ???
Nov. 28-29: ???
Dec. 5-6: at Alaska Anchorage*
Dec. 12-13: ??
Dec. 19-20: ??
Dec. 26-27: Guessing this will be Christmas Break.
Jan. 2-3: ??
Jan. 17-18: ??
Jan. 23: vs. Minnesota Duluth (North Star College Cup, St. Paul)
Jan. 24: vs. Mankato/Minnesota (North Star College Cup, St. Paul)
Jan. 30-31: ??
Feb. 6-7: at Michigan Tech (Winter Carnival)*
Feb. 13-14: ??
Feb. 27-28: at Ferris State*

I’m fairly certain the Beavers will also be traveling to play the Gophers again this year and hosting St. Cloud State but I haven’t confirmed either of those series and don’t know exactly when they’re going to play.

As for the series that haven’t been announced, we know they’ll play Mankato four times and will also play both Northern Michigan and Bowling Green four times (since they only saw those teams for a single series each last season).  I believe they will also face Lake Superior just twice this season, i.e., one road series.

I’m pretty sure that gets the Beavers to 36, which is the mac number of games allowed with the one Alaska trip (I think they’d get 38 games if they made two Alaska trips).

Essentially it looks like exactly the same schedule in terms of opponents this season, only minus Miami and plus Duluth in the first round of the North Star Cup. It would have been nice to see some different teams in the mix for once (maybe somebody from the East Coast) but in all it once again looks like the Beavers have one of the nation’s tougher schedules.