The end has no end: Thoughts on Bemidji State’s season

BSU actually ended its season two weeks ago at Ferris State but I’ve been neglecting the blog. And, as we know, a college hockey writer’s job never ends, even when the season does. I just needed a few days to process the end of BSU’s season.

Anyway, I plan on having a few more thoughts in the paper later this week — I just had a good talk with head coach Tom Serratore recapping the season and sort of looking forward to next — but I thought with the NCAA tournament starting up this weekend I’d get a few things up here before everyone forgets about BSU for a while (if they haven’t already).

-The Beavers finished with a 10-21-7 record. Not great, but they nearly doubled their win total from 2012-13 (when they were 6-22-8). All 10 wins this season came in WCHA play. Last season the Beavers got one win from current WCHA foe Lake Superior State, which was in the CCHA at the time.

-One thing to note: The Beavers were 2-12-2 against NCAA tournament teams.

That doesn’t look great but it also points to just how tough BSU’s schedule was. Nearly half of schedule (16 out of 38 games) made the tournament.

That’s two conference teams (Ferris State and Minnesota State) as well as three out of BSU’s four nonconference opponents (Minnesota, St. Cloud State and North Dakota… Miami didn’t make the tournament despite being a preseason No. 1 but nearly won the NCHC tournament).

-BSU’s scoring went up this season.

Last year the Beavers averaged 2.1 goals per game. This year that number went up slightly, to 2.6. Opponents goals-per-game numbers, however, stayed exactly the same — 3.1 goals a game.

I think this has something to do with the fact that the Beavers found more scoring from underclassmen — something it lacked a season ago.

Brance Orban was the only Beaver who had more than 20 points in 2012-12 — 23 points, with just nine goals.

This year four Beavers had 20-plus points. Three were underclassmen. That’s two sophomores (Cory Ward and Markus Gerbrandt) and a freshman (Brendan Harms) along with junior Matt Prapavessis.

That’s an encouraging number for BSU. Last year they lost five of their 10 double-digit scorers to graduation. This season BSU also had 10 guys in double-digits but only two — Radoslav Illo and Jeff Jubinville — are seniors. (This assuming nobody else on the team leaves early, which I can’t forsee.)

-The BSU penalty kill finished the regular season ranked No. 8 in the country. It was generally outstanding, save a few hiccups near the end of the season (against Mankato and Bowling Green).

-The power play, on the other hand, was a mess in the last quarter of the season. The Beavers scored just one power play goal in the last 10 games (against Alabama-Huntsville). And they had their chances — 35 of them — in their last 10 games. For those scoring at home that’s 2 percent.

That will have to improve, especially after it was so good early in the season. Luckily, power play stalwarts Prapavessis, Ward, Gerbrandt and Ruslan Pedan should be back. Hopefully they can get the kinks out.

I’ll have more in the paper later this week, I just thougt I’d run down those stats for you before the NCAA Tournament started.

-Also, for what it’s worth, I picked Minnesota, Ferris, Union and Boston College for the Frozen Four. That Ferris pick may be wishful thinking, since I think the Midwest Region is the toughest in the tournament with Ferris, Colgate, North Dakota and Wisconsin. But it would be cool to see the Bulldogs go back to the Frozen Four for the second time in three years.

Plus, I want to see them take on the Gophers. Colgate prevented that matchup from happening earlier in the season by beating the Gophers in a shootout during the Mariucci Classic, so it would be fun to see if the Bulldogs can hold their own against the top team in the nation.

That said, Colgate is no pushover — they beat Ferris two out of the three times they played in the regular season.

As for Mankato, they got a tough draw, taking on UMass-Lowell in the first round in Lowell’s backyard (Worcester, Mass.). I’m not sure I can see them getting out of the first round but even if they do, BC and Johhny Gaudreau will likely be waiting for them in the regional finals.

(However, should both Ferris and Mankato win and make the Frozen Four, it would be a nice gesture to the rest of those in college hockey who call the WCHA “dead,” so that would be really fun to watch.)

AWARD SEASON: Prapavessis, Pedan named to all-WCHA teams

The WCHA all-conference awards literally just came out minutes ago, with few surprises.

Bemidji State had two nominees.

Junior defenseman Matt Prapavessis was named to the all-WCHA third team while freshman defenseman Ruslan Pedan was named to the league’s all-rookie team.

Both guys have had good seasons for the Beavers.

Prap is tied for second in the league in defenseman scoring (5g-17a-22pts) while Pedan is tied for 13th (3g-10a-13pts). Both Prapavessis and Pedan are backbones of the BSU power play; Pedan has particularly been impressive stepping up to be a viable power play threat as a freshman.

They’re the only two Beavers to get nods for the league awards.

I don’t have many quibbles with the other players who won the player of the year awards or the all-WCHA teams, although I do think Cory Ward deserved a nod somewhere on the second or third team.

Ward, a sophomore from Las Vegas, has 18 goals in 36 games and is No. 4 in the league in goals.

Granted, there are a ton of talented forwards in the league this year so I don’t think he was necessarily snubbed, but he would have gotten my vote somewhere on the all-league team.

Alaska’s Cody Kunyk won the league’s player of the year (and rightly so) while the Nanooks’ Colton Parayko won the defensive player of the year.

Lake State’s Alex Globke was the golatending champion and Minnesota State’s Cole Huggins was goaltending champion.

Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels was coach of the year.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at my preseason picks for the all-league teams. I was a bit off:

Forwards: Matt Leitner, MSU; Alex Petan, Tech; Ryan Carpenter, BGSU

Defensemen: Matt Prapavessis, BSU; Travis Binkley, Ferris

Goaltender: Andrew Walsh, BSU

Player of the Year: Leitner

Rookie of the Year: Brendan Harms, BSU

At least I got Leitner right for first-team all-WCHA forward.
Here’s what the league media said when we combined our brainpower. We were also slightly off.
Preseason Player Of The Year

Matt Leitner, F, Minnesota State

Others receiving votes: Garrett Thompson, F, Ferris State; Stephon Williams, G, Minnesota State

Preseason Rookie Of The Year

Zach Stepan, F, Minnesota State

Others receiving votes: Tomas Sholl, G, Bowling Green; Brendan Harms, F, Bemidji State; Mathias Dahlstrom, G, Northern Michigan; Cliff Watson, D, Michigan Tech

Preseason All-WCHA Team

Forwards

Matt Leitner, Minnesota State; Alex Petan, Michigan Tech; Ryan Carpenter, Bowling Green

Others receiving votes: Cody Kunyk, Alaska; Reed Seckel, Northern Michigan; Stephan Vigier, Northern Michigan

Defensemen

Jason Binkley, Ferris State; Zach Palmquist, D, Minnesota State

Others receiving votes: Matt Prapavessis, Bemidji State; Ralfs Freibergs, Bowling Green; Colton Parayko, Alaska; CJ Ludwig, Northern Michigan

Goaltender

Stephon Williams, Minnesota State

Others receiving votes: CJ Motte, Ferris State; Andrew Walsh, Bemidji State.

Clearly, much like everything else in this new-look WCHA, all we knew is that we didn’t know a whole lot.

Some stray playoff thoughts

Bemidji State is in.

Barely.

It took a pair of tight 2-1 Ferris State wins over Lake Superior State, but the Beavers made the WCHA playoffs even despite getting swept at Bowling Green last weekend.

And how the Beavers get rewarded for it — a trip to Big Rapids, Mich., to take on the newly-minted league-champion Ferris State in a best-of-three first round playoff series starting Friday.*

*(Note: If you want to watch it, it will cost you money. Apparently the league is charging $9 per game during the playoffs. Even if you already paid for a full-season media package. So get ready to spend.)

ANYWAY: BSU is in, and as we know anything can happen in the playoffs.

But the fact that they’re in at all wasn’t a given until about 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Beavers conceded 10 goals to the Falcons — and their top-10 ranked penalty kill gave up four power play goals to Bowling Green during their weekend sweep.

Lake Superior State, on the other hand, played a couple of tight games they could have won but lost 2-1.

But they’re out and Bemidji State is in.

Hockey is weird sometimes, isn’t it?

The Beavers and the Lakers were tied with 24 points in the standings but BSU held the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lakers.

And because Lake State failed to beat BSU one extra time, head coach Jim Roque lost his job.

It’s a little crazy that literally one win — a tie, even — could have cost a coach a job, especially in this new WCHA where the margin between third and ninth was so thin. The guy couldn’t have done much more.

(For a good take on Lake State’s situation, be sure to read Adam Wodon’s column over at College Hockey News. He points out that the Lakers aren’t in a unique situation… it’s one that programs of similar size/financial situations — like BSU — could also find themselves in.)

Bemidji State, meanwhile, might want to send Roque a fruit basket or something for his trouble.

The Beavers backed into the playoffs after losing six of their last eight games — that includes that 2-1 loss to Huntsville at home.

They might be a little lucky to be there, but they’re in the playoffs against a Ferris State team they’ve played decently against.

BSU is 1-3 against Ferris and 0-2 in Big Rapids but, strangely, BSU’s 2-1 win over FSU at the Sanford Center might have been the worst played against them (at least, offensively).

After taking a 2-1 lead into the first intermission the Beavers managed just five shots on goal the rest of the game. They played a solid defensive game and Andrew Walsh stood on his head to help BSU escape with the win.

In Big Rapids, though, BSU is 0-2 but nearly stole both of them. In the Friday game BSU had a third period lead before FSU tied it then won in overtime 5-4. In Saturday’s game, Walsh gave up four first period goals — Reid Mimmack came on to relieve him in the second period — but the Beavers scored the next three to make it a game again before eventually losing 5-3.

So: We’ve seen BSU play well at times against the Bulldogs. They’ll have to do it twice in three days to go to the Final Five.

I’ll have more on this in Friday’s paper so look for that.

PLAYOFF UPDATE: Going into the final game, Beavers need some help

Somewhere, there’s a Hollywood voiceover guy who is out of work because the WCHA didn’t think to hire him for an end of the season promo: “IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS!”

As cliche as that might sound, it’s absolutely true for three WCHA teams — Bemidji State especially.

BSU, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State are fighting for the three remaining playoff spots.

And with Bemidji State’s 5-3 loss last night to Bowling Green, it becomes more difficult for BSU in that the Beavers have to rely on other teams if they want to make the playoffs.

(For perspective from guys who were actually there covering the game last night, read Kevin Gordon of the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune and John Wagner of the Toledo Blade. Both good writers.)

Anyway, there are a ton of scenerios out there for Bemidji State. Obviously the slim possibility that they would be able to have home ice is gone (they needed a sweep) but now even getting in requires some help.

In the simplest terms possible: Bemidji State needs Ferris State to beat Lake Superior State. If the Bulldogs take care of business then no matter what else happens the Beavers are in.

Anything else and things get really crazy.

Even just beating Bowling Green tonight won’t do because there are some crazy tiebreakers in play.

Here’s what the league has to say about all the possibilities for Bemidji State. You might want to sit down and have a coffee, it’s a long one:

Bemidji State -
Seeded 6th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan loss, a Lake Superior State loss, and a Minnesota State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan loss, a Lake Superior State tie, and a Minnesota State loss.
Seeded 7th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan loss, a Lake Superior State loss, and a Minnesota State win.
Seeded 7th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan loss, a Lake Superior State tie, and a Minnesota State win or tie.
Seeded 7th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan win or tie, a Lake Superior State loss, and a Minnesota State loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan win or tie, a Lake Superior State tie, and a Minnesota State loss.
Seeded 7th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage win or tie, and a Northern Michigan loss.
Seeded 8th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan win or tie, a Lake Superior State loss, and a Minnesota State win.
Seeded 8th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan win or tie, a Lake Superior State tie, and a Minnesota State win or tie.
Seeded 8th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan loss, and a Lake Superior State win.
Seeded 8th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage win or tie, a Northern Michigan tie, and a Lake Superior State loss or tie.
Seeded 8th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage win or tie, and a Northern Michigan win.
Seeded 8th with a tie and a Lake Superior State loss.
Seeded 8th with a tie, a Northern Michigan win or tie, and a Lake Superior State tie.
Seeded 8th with a loss and a Lake Superior State loss.
Finishes 9th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage loss, a Northern Michigan win or tie, and a Lake Superior State win.
Finishes 9th with a win, an Alaska Anchorage win or tie, a Northern Michigan tie, and a Lake Superior State win.
Finishes 9th with a tie, a Northern Michigan loss, and a Lake Superior State tie.
Finishes 9th with a tie and a Lake Superior State win.
Finishes 9th with a loss and a Lake Superior State win or tie.

Easy, right? Read the whole release here from the league if you want to know every single combination for every team.

Also, like always, the good folks at UAHHockey.com have started a new website dedicated solely to the WCHA playoff probabilities. Which is awesome considering UAH has been out of the running for a long time. I suggest reading it now.

One thing’s for sure: That loss to Huntsville is going to come back to haunt BSU all summer should they miss the playoffs this season.

Friday afternoon reading: North Dakota (UPDATE: NOW WITH LINES!)

(Today’s music courtesy of Parquet Courts. One of my favorite albums of 2013. I suggest you listen to it, and you really have no reason not to since it’s streaming for free on the internet.)

Hey there. If you haven’t heard, it’s North Dakota Friday. As of 9:40 a.m. today there were 200 tickets left for tonight’s game, not sure what the availability is as I write this (around 1 p.m.).

The Beavers are, rightly, excited for this weekend’s series. I’m expecting it to be the biggest home crowd of the year for BSU — even bigger than the Minnesota series at the beginning of the season — so the Beavers want to put on a good show for the crowd here in Bemidji.

BSU should greet said fans with an improved power play that scored four times in last weekend’s series sweep of Lake Superior State. This after going 0-for-9 on the PP against Northern Michigan.

The Fighting Sioux UND, on the other hand, is on a seven game winning streak but the players remember well the last time they were in Bemidji. It was a 1-0 BSU win in 2011 — which isn’t that long ago but after the past two seasons the Beavers have had combined with all the changes in the college hockey world it seems like ages.

The Bemidji State women are also in action this afternoon against Wisconsin — I’m going to try and catch at least a little bit of that game if I can make it over there.

The Beavers had a bad time in Madison in December and would very much like to show the No. 2 Badgers that they can compete with them.

Stay tuned here later for lines from the men’s game and maybe another blog post if I can swing it. No promises…

Lines for tonight’s game right here. Walsh starting for Wilkins today for BSU. Not totally a surprise since Serratore said he wasn’t sure who would get the nod.

BEMIDJI STATE
FORWARDS
23 Markus Gerbrandt–13 Cory Ward–28 Brendan Harms
18 Radoslav Illo–12 Jeff Jubinville–16 Danny Mattson
29 Phil Brewer–27 Mitch Cain–22 Charlie O’Connor
9 Phillip Marinaccio–6 Nate Arentz–26 Bob Kinne
DEFENSE
14 D.J. Jones–4 Sam Windle
25 Ruslan Pedan–7 Matt Prapavessis
3 James Hansen–11 Graeme McCormack
GOALTENDERS
30 Andrew Walsh
33 Reid Mimmack

NORTH DAKOTA
FORWARDS

21 Brendan O’Donnell–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–13 Connor Gaarder–11 Derek Rodwell
9 Drake Caggiula–19 Rocco Grimaldi–27 Luke Johnson
29 Bryn Chyzyk–17 Colten St. Clair–7 Wade Murphy
DEFENSE
18 Dillon Simpson–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
GOALTENDERS
31 Zane Gothberg
33 Clarke Saunders

Fargo to host 2015 hockey regional

The NCAA just announced the next four Frozen Four locations and the NCAA regional locations for the next two years.

And Fargo’s Scheel’s Arena will be the site of the 2015 West Regional.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported that North Dakota is hosting the regional and worked on the bid in conjunction with people from both Ralph Englestad and Scheel’s arenas.

I believe (though I’m not certain) that this is the closest a potential regional site has ever been to Bemidji (aside, of course, from the Division II and NAIA years when Bemidji and the John Glas Field House hosted the final four and championships… I’m talking D-I).

Assuming, of course, that BSU makes the tournament in 2015, I don’t think much effort would be made in to keeping the Beavers close to home. UND would automatically be placed there as a host and only the top four seeds are placed as close to home as a point.

Either way: It’s nice to see a regional in our area. Usually the closest is Minneapolis. Duluth still hasn’t gotten a regional yet, and UND will probably never be able to hold one at the Ralph (gee, I wonder why…) so Fargo is a good fit.

Now BSU fans just need to hope the Beavers can get a tournament bid and stay close to home next season.

Also interesting: The NCAA awarded South Bend, Ind., with the Midwest Regional. It will be at Notre Dame’s new on-campus rink, which I hear is beautiful (and looks weird on TV because it doesn’t have a single advertisement on the boards). But the NCAA has previously had a policy about not using on-campus rinks for regional sites (or at least, using the “home arenas” of a particular school). It could open the door for places like Mankato, St. Cloud, Ann Arbor or Madison to (maybe, possibly) host someday.

Looking past 2015, the NCAA also awarded a 2016 regional to St. Paul as well as the 2018 Frozen Four. Chicago will also host its first-ever Frozen Four in 2017.

Finally, the NCAA also released the list of the next four women’s Frozen Fours. Minnesota is hosting twice (because of course the Gophers need that extra advantage). Interestingly, St. Charles, Mo. — home of BSU opponent Lindenwood — will host in 2017.

NCAA MEN’S TOURNAMENT
2015 NCAA regionals
EAST: Providence, R.I.
NORTHEAST: Manchester, N.H.
MIDWEST: South Bend, Ind.
WEST: Fargo
FROZEN FOUR — Boston

2016 NCAA regionals
EAST: Albany, N.Y.
NORTHEAST: Worcester, Mass.
MIDWEST: Cincinnati
WEST: St. Paul
FROZEN FOUR — Tampa, Fla.

2017 FROZEN FOUR — Chicago
2018 FROZEN FOUR — St. Paul

NCAA WOMEN’S FROZEN FOURS
2015 — Minneapolis
2016 — Durham, N.H.
2017 — St. Charles, Mo.
2018 — Minneapolis

Check out the Grand Forks Herald for more on this story as it develops… and we’ll be putting all their reporting in the paper and on our website as well (hey, being owned by the same newspaper company has its perks… we get to pool resources with one of the top college hockey guys in the biz).

 

Bemidji State vs. Lake Superior State Game 2

Teams return to action tonight for the series finale. Bemidji State surely wants to get some points after losing that one-goal lead last night.

In related news, the Beavers just finalized six signings for the 2014-15 season. None of the names are a surprise, but it’s nice to get official confirmation on them.

And before you ask: Yes, the Fitzgerald triplets are officially coming next year. Here’s the full list, to jog your memory:

G Michael Bitzer (Lincoln, USHL; Moorhead)
Brett Beauvais (Penticton, BCHL; Summerside, Prince Edward Island)
Gerry Fitzgerald (Victoria, BCHL; Port Alberni, British Columbia)
F Leo Fitzgerald (Victoria, BCHL; Port Alberni, British Columbia)
F Myles Fitzgerald (Victoria, BCHL; Port Alberni, British Columbia)
Corey Petrash (Cedar Rapids, USHL; East St. Paul, Manitoba)

There are a few other players who have given verbals to BSU that haven’t signed yet (for example, Bemidji High grad Jordan Heller). However, this is just the early signing period so we can probably expect more signings later in the season.

Anyway, enough of that. Here are lines for Game 2 against Lake State. Lots of line tweaks for Beavers, including moving Illo to the second line, putting Mattson at left wing on top line and bringing Harms up to right wing. Cain moves from fourth line to third while Brewer will move from third line wing to fourth line center.  Also, Bob Kinne is in on the third line while Chatlie O’Connor is a scratch. No changes on D for BSU; Sam Windle still out with injury.

Only change for Lake State is Peter Spratte in for Ian Miller, who got tossed from last night’s game for contact to the head.

BEMIDJI STATE (4-7-2, 4-4-1 WCHA)

FORWARDS
Danny Mattson  – Cory Ward – Brendan Harms
Radoslav Illo  – Jeff Jubinville – Markus Gerbrandt
Bob Kinne – Mitch Cain – Brad Robbins
Phillip Marinaccio – Phil Brewer – Matt Hartmann

DEFENSE
Ruslan Pedan – Matt Prapavessis
James Hansen – Graeme McCormack
Sam Rendle – D.J. Jones

GOALTENDERS
Andrew Walsh
Reid Mimmack
Jesse Wilkins

LAKE SUPERIOR STATE (7-3-1, 3-2-0 WCHA)*

FORWARDS

Garret Clemment – Chris Ciotti – Andrew Dommett
Alex Globke – Dan Radke – Colin Campbell
Peter Spratte – Mitchell Nardi – Gus Correale
Daniel Vernace – Stephen Perfetto – Bryce Schmitt

DEFENSE
Matt Bruneteau – Zach Loesch
Andrew Perrault – Zach Sternberg
Kevin Czuczman – Eric Drapluk

GOALTENDERS
Kevin Murdock
Kevin Kapalka

BSU vs. LSSU Game 1: Links-n-lines

Fact: Bemidji State has the toughest schedule in the WCHA. It could be argued that they have the toughest schedule in the nation.

In the first two months of the season six of their eight series will be (or have been) against opponents that were ranked at the time.

This week the Beavers get another ranked team in Lake Superior State, and BSU knows it has to defend better against the hard-hitting, physical Lakers than the team in recent series.

Also: here’s my feature on BSU freshman forward Ruslan Pedan from earlier in the week. He’s been a huge part of BSU’s power play, which is in the top-20 nationally so far.

I’d link you to some stories from the Soo side of things but I can’t find any pregame coverage for this series. So I can’t do that. Sorry. (If you find me some good links on the Lakers send ‘em my way.)

Here’s Shane Frederick’s morning skate blog for the weekend in WCHA action.

UPDATE: Lines are up. Radoslav Illo is back in action for BSU tonight.

BEMIDJI STATE (4-6-2, 4-3-1 WCHA)

FORWARDS
Radoslav Illo – Cory Ward – Danny Mattson
Markus Gerbrandt – Jeff Jubinville – Brendan Harms
Phil Brewer – Charlie OConnor – Brad Robbins
Phillip Marinaccio – Mitch Cain – Matt Hartmann

DEFENSE
Ruslan Pedan – Matt Prapavessis
James Hansen – Graeme McCormack
Sam Rendle – D.J. Jones

GOALTENDERS
Andrew Walsh
Reid Mimmack
Jesse Wilkins

LAKE SUPERIOR STATE (6-3-1, 2-2-0 WCHA)

FORWARDS
Garret Clemment – Chris Ciotti – Andrew Dommett
Alex Globke – Dan Radke – Colin Campbell
Ian Miller – Mitchell Nardi – Gus Correale
Daniel Vernace – Stephen Perfetto – Bryce Schmitt

DEFENSE
Matt Bruneteau – Zach Loesch
Andrew Perrault – Zach Sternberg
Kevin Czuczman – Eric Drapluk

GOALTENDERS
Kevin Murdock
Kevin Kapalka

WEEKEND RECAP: Men get sweep, women play well, and other random factoids

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?

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.”)

SUNDAY MORNING

The flight home for the Bemidji State men’s team Sunday morning was, arguably, the best they’ve had in a while.

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WEEKEND RECAP: Hey, Minnesota is pretty good!; Huntsville rivalry returns; surprising Lake State

Minnesota is good at hockey.

Bemidji State’s Brendan Harms, right, and Minnesota’s Brady Skjei get rangled up along the Beaver bench during last Friday’s game at the Sanford Center. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

The understatement of the century, yes. But the Gophers sure showed the rest of the nation a little something this past weekend. Minnesota came to the Sanford Center and swept the Beavers 6-3 and 5-1.

That series — combined with then-No.1 Miami’s split with North Dakota and No. 2 Wisconsin’s utter embarrassment in Boston (Boston College beat the Badgers 9-2 and Boston U won 7-3) — vaulted Minnesota from No. 3 to No. 1 in the nation.

Sam Warning had five points (three goals, two assists) against BSU and Josh Justin Kloos also had five (one goal, four assists).

The Gophers have already scored 20 goals in four games.

Although the Beavers lost both games last weekend and have yet to win a game in this young season, BSU junior defenseman Sam Rendle said he was encouraged by the results.

“As the rankings shows, that was a pretty good team we were playing last weekend,” he said. “One mistake and just like that they’ll make you pay. This week we’re trying to limit those less and less. Hopefully we can get some bounces our way.”

The Beavers scored four goals against the Gophers, including two on the power play Friday night.

Currently, sophomore center Cory Ward is the team’s goal-scoring leader with two. Junior winger Danny Mattson has a goal and two assists while junior defenseman Matt Prapavessis has three assists.

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