Minnesota State vs Bemidji State 03/06/15
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team clinched a Western Collegiate Hockey Association home playoff series for the first time since joining the league in 2010, earning a 5-2 victory over No. 2 Minnesota State, Friday. John Parker had two goals and an assist, while Matt Prapavessis and Nate Arentz each added a goal and an assist in the victory.
The Beavers, now 16-14-5 overall and 12-10-5 in WCHA play, secured fourth place in the league standings and will host the fifth seed, either Ferris State or Northern Michigan at Sanford Center in a best-of-three series March 13-15.
Bemidji State came out of the gates with a chip on its shoulder and went to the dressing room at the end of the first period of play holding a three-goal lead.
Prapavessis got the Beavers’ scoring started with a blast from the point at the 5:28 mark for his career-best ninth goal of the season. At the 12:51 mark, Prapavessis again found his way to the score sheet digging a puck out of the corner of BSU’s defensive zone to Graeme McCormack. The pass started a play up ice capped by a Parker short-handed goal. Markus Gerbrandt finished the period with his sixth goal of the season at the 18:23 mark.
The goal sent MSU’s 20-win goaltender Stephon Williams to the showers early as the Mavericks head coach Mike Hastings pulled the junior for Cole Huggins after allowing three goals on 10 shots.
Both Parker and Prapavessis also added assists to finish the period with two points apiece.
Minnesota State came charging back in the second. Bryce Gervais trimmed the BSU lead to 3-1 just 52-seconds into the period and added his second of the game at the 11:50 mark.
Before time ran out in the second (15:05), Arentz stretched BSU lead to 4-2 with an even-strength goal.
Minnesota State pulled its goaltender with just over three minutes to play and a man in the penalty box. Parker would strike again, posting an empty-net, power-play goal with just 1:20 to play.
Bemidji State and Minnesota State will face off again tomorrow to settle the series tomorrow. The 2014-15 regular-season finale is set for a 7:07 p.m. start at Sanford Center.
Bemidji State notables:
• Bemidji State is 4-8-0 versus teams ranked among the nation’s top 15 according to the USAToday/USA Hockey poll. BSU’s victories versus top teams include: then No. 2 North Dakota (Oct. 10), No. 7 Minnesota Duluth (Jan. 23), then No. 1 Minnesota State (Jan. 24) and No. 2 Minnesota State (March 6).
• The Beavers are 2-2-0 versus Minnesota State this season when the Mavericks are ranked in the top 15 in the country.
• BSU is 49-44-13 versus Minnesota State all-time, in a series that got its start in 1974. Following a four-game losing skid to MSU, which includes 6-3 and 5-3 losses Nov. 7-8, BSU has won its last two meetings with Minnesota State.
• Bemidji State is 32-15-5 when hosting Minnesota State in Bemidji, Minn.
• Friday’s 5-2 victory was BSU first on home ice versus the Mavericks since Nov. 1, 2013.
• BSU is unbeaten in its last six contests (5-0-1) and is riding a 10-game home unbeaten streak (8-0-2).
• BSU is 13-4-5 in its last 22 games (.705) and have moved two games above .500 for the first time since the team was 15-13-3, Feb. 17, 2012.
• BSU is recognizing six seniors this weekend. Saturday, Philip Brewer, Mitch Cain, Matt Prapavessis, Sam Rendle, Andrew Walsh and Sam Windle will skate in their final regular-season home game at Sanford Center. As a class, these six men have helped build a strong foundation for the program the WCHA, were members of a team that won the Beavers’ first North Star College Cup and earned BSU its first home WCHA Playoff series.
• The Beavers move to 10-4-2 at home in 2014-15. The last time the Beavers posted 10 wins on home ice was when BSU posted an 11-6-1 mark at Sanford Center during the 2011-12 season.
• Unbeaten in its last ten home games (8-0-2) –a streak dating back to Nov. 29—the Beavers have established a Sanford Center record. The last time BSU was unbeaten in at least 10 straight home games was Oct. 25, 2003 to Feb. 21, 2004 (8-0-2).
• At home this season, BSU has averaged 3.25 goals per game while surrendering 1.94. In addition, the Beavers’ penalty-kill unit is clicking at .911 (51-of-56) on its home ice.
• Michael Bitzer is 8-2-2 at Sanford Center in 2014-15 with a 1.65 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.
• Matt Prapavessis logged his ninth goal of the season Friday, marking a new career-high for the defender.
• Prapavessis leads the Beavers with a career-high 24 points (9g-15a).
• With 18 points in league play (7g-11a), Prapavessis ranks fourth among the WCHA’s top-scoring defensemen.
• John Parker posted a single-game career-high three points in the game. It also marked his first collegiate two-goal game.
• Nate Arentz posted a goal and an assist for his fourth multi-point game of the season and his first since Nov. 29.
• Markus Gerbrandt recorded his first point since Jan. 17 Friday. It also marked his first game-winning goal of 2014-15.
• Michael Bitzer turned aside 23-of-25 shots faced Friday, collecting his 14th win of the season. He is the only BSU rookie to log 14 wins and is the first Beaver goaltender to collect 14-or-more wins since Dan Bakala was 14-13-4 in 2010-11.
• BSU is 10-7-1 on Friday’s in 2014-15 and average 2.94 goals while allowing 2.22.
• BSU is 14-4-2 this season when scoring first.