Series Preview - Bemidji State

Overview:

The Bemidji State Beavers are recovering from a weekend in Mankato where they were swept and outscored 1-9 by the Mavericks.  Mankato state blanked the Beavers Friday night, 3-0, before humiliating them 1-6 the following night.  The Beavers are currently 2-6-2 in the WCHA and 3-7-2 overall.

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are coming off a successful road trip against Michigan Tech where they took 3 points out of the weekend.  Friday night the Bulldogs beat the Huskies 7-3 following with a 4-4 tie on Saturday night.  Last weekend marked the first winning weekend for this Bulldog team.  The Pups sit 2-5-3 in the WCHA and 4-7-3 overall.

(Photo: Dave Harwig - viewthroughmylens.net)

Offense:

Led by seniors Jordan George with 10 points and Aaron McLeod with 5 goals, the Beavers are averaging 2.42 goals per game, which ties for 10th in the WCHA.  Sophomore Mat Prapavessis leads all defenseman with 4 points, all tallied assists.  Danny Mattson, Brance Orban and Ben Kinne all follow George with 7 points.

The Bulldog offense is powered mainly by the first 2 lines, which has averaged 3 goals per game over the last 4 games.  Senior Mike Seidel leads the Dogs in total points with 10 goals for 17 points but is closely followed by freshmen Austin Farley and Tony Cameranesi, who each have 15 tallies.  Wade Bergman leads defensemen in points with 11, but Andy Welinski sits right behind him with 9.  The Dogs are averaging 2.86 goals per game for the entire season.

Defense:

In Bemidji State's 12 games they have played this year, they're averaging 3.17 goals against per game, with most of those goals coming in the last 2 periods (14,13).

Goaltending has been split between sophomore Andrew Walsh and senior Mathieu Dugas, but Walsh has the upper hand starting 57.6%.  Walsh averages 2.69 goals against per game and has been stopping 91.2% of the shots he has faced.  Dugas averages 3.30 goals against per game and has stopped 90.2% of the shots fired upon him.

In tUMD's 14 games played they've allowed 44 goals, averaging 3.14 goals per game, ranked 9th in the WCHA.  The Bulldogs have allowed 16 goals in first periods, 13 goals in second periods and 14 goals in third periods.

Both Aaron Crandall and Matt McNeely have played 7 games and funny enough, 49.6% of all games played.  Crandall averages 3.24 goals against per game while stopping 88.3% of the shots he's been faced with.  McNeely averages 2.96 goals per game thus far while stopping 88.9% of the shots he's had to deal with.

Special Teams:

Bemidji State's power play is towards the bottom of the WCHA.  They have converted on 7 of their 37 attempts, averaging 18.9% a man up.  The Beavers penalty kill sits at 41 for 52, or 78.8%, ranked 8th in the league.  BSU also averages 14.1 minutes in the penalty box per game.

Minnesota Duluth has the 5th ranked power play in the nation and 1st in the WCHA by a large margin.  They have scored 18 times in the 71 chances they have recieved, converting 25.4% of the time.  The penalty kill, although not as impressive, is still pretty decent as they have killed 56 of the 68 total penalties they have taken, or 82.4%.  The Pups still sit at the top of the penalty minutes list, averaging 17.9 minutes per game, but it has been decreasing.

(UMD defeats BSU 6-2 in game one of the sweep last season)

The Verdict:

The Bulldogs have been playing very well in the last few games.  Sandelin's idea of switching Basaraba and Farley on lines was one of the most successful decisions he's made all year.  Farley sparked the 2nd line and Basaraba takes nothing away from the already-successful first line.  The main reason we found the back of the net so many times at Michigan Tech was because of this.

In the last 4 games the Bulldogs are averaging 33.5 shots per game as well as 3.5 goals per game, which is absolutely necessary in winning hockey games.  Penalty minutes have also averaged 11 minutes per game in the last 4, which is outstanding in comparison to the beginning of the year.  If the Dogs can play a little defense and limit the scoring chances Bemidji State may get as well as win key faceoffs and stay out of the box, there is no reason the Dogs can't sweep the Beavers right out of Duluth.  And that, folks, is my prediction.

See y'all at the games and the Curling Club :)


GO DOGS!!

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