A closer look at the Bemidji State 2011-12 men’s hockey schedule

Wisconsin will make its first trip to Bemidji's Sanford Center to face the Beavers Feb. 24-25. Pictured here is BSU's Brance Orban and Wisconsin's Craig Smith a game last season at the Kohl Center in Madison. Pioneer File Photo/Eric Stromgren

Here’s a more in-depth look ahead to the 2011-12 Bemidji State hockey season schedule with notes on each series. If you are looking for a listed schedule, you can find it here.

Bemidji State, Alaska-Anchorage and Minnesota State University, Mankato are the only WCHA schools to officially release their schedules as of Friday. As noted in my story in Saturday’s Pioneer, season tickets are on sale and those interested can find more information here at BSUTickets.com

2011-12 Season: A Closer Look

Oct. 2 University of Regina, exhibition, 5:07 p.m.
This game will be played the day after the first team practice. First meeting against Regina since the 2006-07 season.

Oct. 7 at Miami, season opener, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Miami,  6 p.m.
BSU and Miami will play in a regular series for the second time. The first regular season series meeting was back in November 2000 at the John Glas Fieldhouse and Miami swept by 4-2 scores. BSU beat Miami in North Dakota’s Holiday Classic in November 2009 with a 3-2 victory over the then No. 1 ranked RedHawks. The teams first met in the 2009 Frozen Four, a game Miami won 4-1 in Washington, D.C. Miami finished third in the CCHA last season with 16 wins and qualified for the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed. Miami lost to New Hampshire in the opening game of the East Regional.

Oct. 14 at Colorado College, 8:37 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Colorado College, 8:07 p.m.
The WCHA season begins in Colorado Springs, a place BSU has not played at since January of 2008. BSU nearly pulled off an upset at the time against the then No. 3 Tigers, but lost 5-4. BSU’s Chris McKelvie had a natural hat trick in the second period of that game. BSU, CC, Denver and Omaha are schedule mates this season meaning those teams will compete against each other in home and away series. CC comes to Bemidji in the second half of the season.

Oct. 21 Michigan Tech, home opener, 7:37 p.m.
Oct. 22 Michigan Tech, 7:07 p.m.
BSU and Michigan Tech met last season in Houghton for the school’s Winter Carnival Series. BSU won the 51st Carnival trophy with a 2-2 tie and a 1-0 victory on a late third period goal by Jordan George, who was named the Winter Carnival MVP. It was part of a 25-game winless streak for the Huskies, which finished last in the WCHA standings.

Oct. 28 at Minnesota-Duluth, 7:07 p.m.
Oct. 29 at Minnesota-Duluth, 7:07 p.m.
The Beavers will make its first trip to Amsoil Arena in the only regular season series against defending national champion UMD next season. The Beavers and Bulldogs met three times last season. UMD took three points in a Halloween weekend series last season with a 3-2 overtime win (Travis Oleksuk scored with 4:53 left in overtime) and a 1-1 tie. BSU defeated UMD 3-2 in overtime in the WCHA Final Five quarterfinals on a goal from Shea Walters. It was the last time UMD lost in 2010-11.

Nov. 4 at Lake Superior State, 6 p.m.
Nov. 5 at Lake Superior State, 6 p.m.
In BSU’s second non-conference series of the season, BSU will face the Lakers for the first time since the 2005-06 season. Lake State beat BSU 2-1 and tied the Beavers 2-2 in a December series at the John Glas Fieldhouse in the last meetings. Rob Sirianni tied the the second game with a goal 1:26 left in the third period. Current BSU Beaver Pride Coordinator Jake Bluhm, who administrates the season ticket drive, had two assists in that game. Lake State finished eighth in the CCHA last season and was 13-17-9 overall. BSU leads the all-time series against the Lakers 21-16-12 in a series dating back to 1966-67.

Nov. 11 Omaha, 7:37 p.m.
Nov. 12 Omaha, 7:07 p.m.
A series that will likely be anticipated by the teams and fans. The Beavers were unbeaten in six meetings against Omaha last season (5-0-1), including a sweep at Omaha’s Qwest Center in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs. The Beavers defeated then No. 4 ranked Omaha 3-0 and 3-1 at Bemidji last December in the first meeting as members of the WCHA. BSU goalie Dan Bakala was the star of the series, stopped 64 of 65 shots and was named the WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Omaha finished third in the WCHA standings last season and reached the NCAA Tournament, where it lost to NCAA runner up Michigan on a controversial overtime goal in the first game of the West Regional.

Nov. 19 North Dakota, 7:07 p.m.
Nov. 20 North Dakota, 5:07 p.m.
BSU hosts UND in a Saturday-Sunday series here in the only meeting between the two teams in the regular season. The Beavers lost all four meetings against the Fighting Sioux last season and none were close. UND outscored BSU by a 20-7 margin. North Dakota was last year’s WCHA MacNaughton Cup Champion, WCHA Final Five Broadmoor Trophy Champion and lost in the Frozen Four semifinals to Michigan 2-0. BSU has never defeated North Dakota in the Division I era and is 0-18-1 in that time against UND.

Dec. 2 at St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m.
Dec. 3 at St. Cloud State, 7:07 p.m.
The Beavers travel to the National Hockey Center for the only series against St. Cloud State in the regular season. Bemidji State earned its first WCHA victory in school history and first win of the season at the NHC last November when Ian Lowe scored in overtime to give the Beavers a 3-2 victory and a series split. The Huskies swept BSU in a January series at the Sanford Center by scores of 2-1 in overtime (Nic Dowd scored with 28 seconds left) and 5-1 as part of a second-half surge for SCSU.

Dec. 9 Denver, 7:37 p.m.
Dec. 10 Denver, 7:07 p.m.
Denver will make its first trip to the Sanford Center and it will wrap up the first half of the WCHA schedule for the Beavers. Denver won all three meetings against Bemidji State last season, two in Denver (3-1, 4-2) and in the Final Five semifinal game (6-2). The Beavers had leads in all three of those games. The Pioneers finished second in the WCHA last season, lost to UND in double overtime in the WCHA Final Five Championship and fell to UND again in the Midwest Regional.

Dec. 16 Alabama-Huntsville, 7:37 p.m.
Dec. 17 Alabama-Huntsville, 7:07 p.m.
No need for introductions here for the former College Hockey America Rivals. The Chargers will be making their first trip to the Sanford Center as part of a scheduling agreement that sent BSU to Huntsville last season. UAH played as an independent last season. BSU and UAH split the series. Kyle Brodie’s first career goal was a game-winner and gave the Beavers a 3-1 win but the Chargers came back to earn the split the next afternoon with a 4-3 victory.

Dec. 30 Bowling Green, 7:37 p.m.
Dec. 31 Bowling Green, 7:07 p.m.
This non-conference series against the Falcons will be the first meeting in history between the two programs. Bowling Green finished last in the CCHA last season with a 10-27-4 overall record. The Falcons program dates back to 1969-70. Bowling Green defeated Minnesota-Duluth to win the 1984 NCAA Tournament under current Boston College head coach Jerry York. The Falcons today are coached by Chris Bergeron, a former Miami assistant coach, who enter his second season at Bowling Green in 2011-12.

Jan. 13 at Denver, 8:37 p.m.
Jan. 14 at Denver, 8:07 p.m.
The Beavers make the return trip to Denver to open up the second half of the WCHA season. The Pioneers will be returning a young team next year led by Minnesota Wild draft pick Jason Zucker and should be a force in the WCHA. Zucker was second in WCHA scoring only to WCHA Player of the Year Matt Frattin (UND) last season.

Jan. 27 MSU, Mankato, 7:37 p.m.
Jan. 28 MSU, Mankato, 7:07 p.m.
After a week off for the Beavers, the Purple Mavericks will make their first trip to the Sanford Center. BSU and MSU played in Mankato last season with the Mavs winning the series opener 2-1 in overtime on Bemidji native Channing Boe’s goal. BSU answered in the second game with a 4-1 win. Mankato last played in Bemidji in December 2009, a series MSU swept at the John Glas Fieldhouse. Mankato is 16-6-2 against Bemidji State in the Division I era. The teams have played 94 times in school history, BSU has only played Wisconsin-Superior more (129). Mankato finished 11th in the WCHA last season and lost to Denver in the first round.

Feb. 3 at Omaha, 7:37 p.m.
Feb. 4 at Omaha, 7:07 p.m.
The Beavers make the return trip to Omaha, where the Beavers swept the Mavericks 4-2 and 3-2 in the best-of-three first-round WCHA playoff series. Outside of the Beavers, the Mavs were dominating at home with a 13-6-1 record at the Qwest Center. BSU was 3-0-1 in Omaha last season.

Feb. 10 Colorado College, 7:37 p.m.
Feb. 11 Colorado College, 7:07 p.m.
BSU and Colorado College met only once in the Beavers’ first WCHA season: a 5-5 tie and a 2-1 BSU win at the Sanford Center. Colorado College was ranked No. 18 in the polls at the time, finished sixth in the WCHA and went on to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers routed defending national Champion 8-4 in the opening game of the West regional before falling to NCAA runner-up Michigan.

Feb. 17 at Minnesota, 7:07 p.m.
Feb. 18 at Minnesota, 7:07 p.m.
BSU’s only series against the Gophers and the first trip to Mariucci Arena since November 2009. That 2009 trip was memorable- BSU earned a split in the non-conference series by beating Minnesota 6-2 in the second game for the first win in school history against the Gophers. Minnesota took three of four points against BSU last season in the final home series at the Sanford Center in March. BSU defenseman Brad Hunt scored a tying goal with 19 seconds left in the third period to force overtime in a 3-3 tie the first night. Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad scored 20 seconds into overtime the following night to give the Gophers a 3-2 win. The Gophers finished fifth in the WCHA standings last season and was swept in the first round of the WCHA playoffs by Alaska-Anchorage.

Feb. 24 Wisconsin, 7:37 p.m.
Feb. 25 Wisconsin, 7:07 p.m.
Wisconsin will make its first trip to Bemidji for the first time in program history. The Badgers swept Bemidji State last season in Madison by 3-2 and 2-0 scores to wrap up the first half of BSU’s season. Wisconsin finished seventh in the WCHA last season and lost to Colorado College in the first round of the playoffs.

March 2 at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.
March 3 at Alaska-Anchorage, 10:07 p.m.
The regular season ends in Alaska for the Beavers in the longest road trip of the season. UAA and BSU split the two meetings last season in an early November series at The Sanford Center. The Seawolves rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to win the first game 5-4 and BSU won the second night 4-0. Anchorage played in the WCHA Final Five for only the second time in program history and lost to Colorado College in the quarterfinal round.