Beaver Hockey Gameday: Bemidji State men look to end losing streak against North Dakota, BSU women expect tough series at Minnesota-Duluth, Brance Orban interview, an early look at the 2012-13 schedule, WCHA news, Millsy’s Beaver alumni update

Jordan George and the Bemidji State mens' hockey team hosts North Dakota this weekend. He has a team-leading six goals this year and he has the most goals (3) against UND on this year's roster. Pioneer Photo/Eric Stromgren

A grinding schedule mixed with untimely penalties and lapses of effort have contributed to a 1-4-1 stretch over the last six games for the Bemidji State men’s hockey team.

BSU alternate captain Jake Areshenko wants to put an end to those problems this weekend against struggling North Dakota at the Sanford Center. Game times are Saturday 7:07 p.m. and Sunday 5:07 p.m.

“We have to out-compete them and we have to work harder than them,” Areshenko said. “That’s the biggest thing. I think we’re capable of doing that. It’s just the fact we have to do it. We can’t just say we’re going to work hard. We actually have to go out and work hard. If we work hard good things will happen.”

North Dakota won the MacNaughton Cup, Broadmoor Trophy and reached the Frozen Four last season. UND is off to a 3-6-1 (1-5-0 WCHA) start this season and have not played since a sweep at the hands of red-hot Minnesota two weeks ago in Minneapolis.

“It’s very early in the WCHA schedule right now and that’s a benefit where we are sitting,” UND head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Rather than spending too much time studying the standings or looking at what’s going on in other towns or programs, we’ve been looking at ourselves here. We have to take some real good steps in the next four weeks.”

Bemidji State (4-7-1 overall, 2-5-1 WCHA) is still looking for its first win in the Division I era against UND and are 0-18-1 in that stretch. BSU lost all four games in blowouts last season.

“They have a week off so that concerns me a bit – I wish they played last weekend,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore joked. “But they have a heck of a hockey team and they’ve had a difficult schedule to start off the year. They just have a lot of talent and when they start scoring on a regular basis, look out. We know what we’re in for and it’s going to be a challenging weekend for us.”

BSU heads into the series having played the third toughest strength of schedule in the country behind Vermont and Minnesota-Duluth according to the College Hockey News KRACH ratings.

Small mistakes are magnified against competition of that caliber and some of those mistakes are coming on the power play.

The Beavers have negated five power plays this season with penalties, some were momentum killers and two turned into eventual game-winning goals for the opposition.

Nebraska-Omaha’s Terry Broadhurst, the second leading scorer in the nation, scored a game-winner during four-on-four play last Saturday to spark a 5-2 Mavericks win at the Sanford Center.

“You never want to have a penalty on the power play,” Serratore said. “It’s happened too many times this year. You have to make sure you don’t run into anybody. It’s just uncalled for. We’re not getting enough power plays in a game to get these penalties and create four-on-four situations. It just can’t happen. We addressed that a couple of days ago.”

Another power play problem is production. Ben Kinne’s game-winning, power-play goal in a 3-1 win over Michigan Tech on Oct. 22 was BSU’s last goal with the man advantage – a span of six games.

“The last few weeks we haven’t been producing like we should on the power play,” BSU forward Brance Orban said. “That’s going to be a key this weekend. When we get our chances we have to make the most of it.”

On the other side of special teams, Bemidji State’s penalty kill has been a strong point and has killed 29-of-34 (85.3 percent) opponent power plays in the WCHA play to rank third in the league behind Minnesota and North Dakota.

“I think we’ve got a lot of depth and a lot of potential,” Orban said. “We’re just going through a little adversity right now.”

BSU senior defenseman Brad Hunt leads the Beavers offense into the weekend with two goals and eight assists for a team-high 10 points. Jordan George, Shea Walters and Orban each have eight points to rank second on the team.

George’s six goals on the season are the most for BSU and he has three career goals against North Dakota, the most of any player on this year’s roster.

Senior goalie Dan Bakala has returned to form for the Beavers and he has started four of the last five games. He has a .898 overall save percentage on the year, but has a .919 save percentage in the last four starts and has stopped 125 of the last 136 shots on the BSU goal.

Injury report

Bemidji State and North Dakota will have to adjust lineups this weekend to deal with the loss of key players due to injuries this weekend.

Sophomore forward Radoslav Illo and sophomore defenseman Sam Rendle will not play for Bemidji State.

Illo, an Anaheim Ducks draft pick, suffered an upper body injury according to head coach Tom Serratore during the first period of last Friday’s 3-3 tie against Nebraska-Omaha. He played through the injury in the second period but has not played since. The Slovakia native has one goal and four assists on the season. He is week-to-week.

Rendle is dealing with the same upper body injury that held him out of the Lake Superior State series two weeks ago. Serratore said it may be a long-term injury and there is no immediate timetable for his return.

Grand Forks native and junior Matt Carlson will take Rendle’s spot in the lineup Friday night.

UND’s Rocco Grimaldi, the preseason WCHA freshman of the year, will not play for the next 6-8 weeks while he looks to heal an injured knee and avoid surgery. More on that later in the WCHA news section.

Brance Orban interview

BSU women expect hard series at No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth

If the season ended last week, the Bemidji State women’s hockey team would host a playoff series, and finish ahead of North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings.

Don’t tell that to Bemidji State head coach Steve Sertich, who takes the Beavers on the road this weekend to face BSU’s long-time nemesis Duluth at Amsoil Arena this weekend.

Game times Saturday and Sunday are 3:07 p.m.

“There’s more parity in the league but there’s still Wisconsin, Minnesota and Duluth that have an edge as far as skill,” Sertich said. “They’ll have two, three lines that can go and the rest of us have to go with one or two. The good news for us is that I think our team speed is good and we’ll have to skate hard this weekend.”

The Beavers (8-3-2, 4-3-1-0 WCHA) enter the weekend coming off an 11-0 non-conference win against Lindenwood at Eveleth in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Face-off Classic last Thursday. BSU lost its No. 10 national ranking in a split against Minnesota State Mankato two weeks ago but still received votes in the most recent poll.

“We’re working pretty hard and in the Mankato series we didn’t play to our potential,” BSU junior Molly Arola said. “Lindenwood is a decent team and we did some of the little things right. That was our focus.”

The Bulldogs (4-5-1 overall, 1-4-1-1 WCHA) enter the weekend ranked No. 6.

UMD holds a lopsided 50-1-2 all-time record against the Beavers. BSU ended the winless streak last November by defeating UMD 1-0 at the Sanford Center.

“It’s going to be a great series,” Arola said. “We’re all fired up. We’re going to have to work hard, forecheck and backcheck on every inch of the ice. They’re a great team and have great skill. We work hard and don’t give up so hopefully we can bring that to the games this weekend.”

Rachel Kelly, a freshman, has been one of the surprises for the Beavers this season and has five goals on the year. She’s contributed scoring depth along with Montana Vichorek (five goals), Marlee Wheelhouse (five goals), Erika Wheelhose (four goals) and Tess Dusik (four goals).

Sertich said he is hopeful scorer Emily Erickson can return this week from an upper body injury. She has not played since Oct. 29 against Minnesota.

She has six goals on the year, second only to Sadie Lundquist’s seven goals to lead the team. Lundquist also leads the team in points with 22.

Here’s a look at the week in Division I women’s hockey from and some picks. One writer says BSU will gain a split, the other says BSU will get swept by the Bulldogs.

Bemidji State tentative 2012-13 schedule

I received Bemidji State’s schedule for the 2012-13 season from a trusted source this week who asked to remain anonymous because the information has not been made public.

The schedule is not final and dates are subject to change. Official schedules are generally released after each season sometime between April and June for each team.

BSU will play rivalry partner Nebraska-Omaha four times in 2012-13 along with Minnesota-Duluth and Michigan Tech. BSU will play two games (one series) against every other WCHA team.

Bemidji State tentative 2012-13 Schedule
Home games in caps
Oct. 26-27 – at Nebraska-Omaha
Nov. 9-10 – at Colorado College
Nov. 16-17 – MICHIGAN TECH
Nov. 30-Dec. 1 – at MSU, Mankato
Dec. 7-8 – at Minnesota-Duluth
Dec. 14-15 – DENVER
Jan. 11-12 – ST. CLOUD STATE
Jan. 18-19 – at Michigan Tech
Feb. 8-9 – at Wisconsin
March 1-2 – at North Dakota
March 8-9 – MINNESOTA

What I’m reading this week

Bemidji State vs. North Dakota (Saturday 7:07, Sunday 5:07)

TV: Lakeland Public Television and regionally in Minnesota on the PBS Minnesota Channel. Also available on the Minnesota Channel in areas of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin where Minnesota Public Television stations are received. More information here.

Radio: Locally on The Mix 103.7 FM and online at the Beaver Radio Network.

Twitter:I’ll be taking photos during the first period and I will provide game updates on my Twitter account at the start of the second period @estromgren. You can expect line charts up on this blog before the game starts and a photo gallery after the game.

Here’s my feature on Bemidji State defenseman Jake Areshenko in case you missed it. He has family ties to Bemidji State and North Dakota – his grandfather Dave Gunther is the former UND and BSU basketball coach.

As mentioned, UND will be without Rocco Grimaldi this weekend and for six-to-eight weeks in the hopes his knee injury will heal. If not he will have to have season-ending injuries. From Brad E. Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald.

A series preview from Eric Burton at Inside Hockey.

UND is still the Fighting Sioux for now, but the school faces an ‘amazing array’ of questions as the transition begins. The men’s hockey team will wear its same jerseys into February as replacement jerseys won’t arrive until then. From Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald.

This week’s production of ‘Through These Doors’ from UND and this episode features captain Mario Lamoureux:

No. 1 Minnesota vs. St. Cloud State (Friday , Saturday 7:07 in Minneapolis)

St. Cloud State forged a three-goal lead and upset the Gophers 4-3 Friday night at the National Hockey Center. Game recap from Roman Agustoviz, Star Tribune.

SCSU goalie Mike Lee likely out for the rest of the season after hip surgery. From Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times.

Here’s a feature story on Minnesota’s Nate Schmidt, the St. Cloud Cathedral prep star who returned to St. Cloud a Gopher. From Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times.

MSU, Mankato at No. 8 Minnesota-Duluth (Friday, 7:37, Saturday 7:07)

The Bulldogs defeated the Mavericks 5-2 Friday night and extended its unbeaten streak to nine games. It marked UMD head coach Scott Sandelin’s 200th career win. Game recap from Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune.

Mankato forwards Michael Dorr and Adam Mueller are clicking together on the top line for the Mavs. The two grew up less than two miles apart in Roseville. From Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press.

No. 19 Nebraska-Omaha at No. 11 Denver (Friday, 8:37, Saturday 8:07)

Denver defeated Nebraska-Omaha 7-3 Friday night.

Here’s a feature on UNO forward Terry Broadhurst, who is playing with some extra speed this year and entered the weekend as the second leading scorer in the nation. From Rob White, Omaha World Herald.

Denver head coach George Gwozdecky feels games against Omaha will evolve into a natural rivalry. From Mike Chambers, Denver Post.

Wisconsin at No. 5 Colorado College (Friday, 8:37, Saturday 8:07)

Colorado College defeated Wisconsin 4-2 Friday night.

Freshman Joel Rumpel looks to be the No. 1 goalie in Madison right now. From Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal.

Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves says the program has changed its recruting philsophy and are looking for players who plan to stick around. From Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal.

No. 15 Michigan Tech at Alaska-Anchorage (Friday and Saturday, 10:07)

Alaska-Anchorage defeated Michigan Tech 3-1 on Friday.

It’s a start of a long road trip for Michigan Tech, who will go to Chicago after this weekend’s series and then travel to Canton, N.Y. for a Thanksgiving weekend series against St. Lawrence. That’s 7,000 miles. From Stephen Anderson, Houghton Mining Gazette.

The Seawolves entered the weekend on a scoring drought with just four goals in its last six games. From Doyle Woody, Anchorage Daily News.

Millsy’s Former and Future Beavers Update

Former Beaver Matt Pope has been called up to the AHL's Hershey Bears from the ECHL's Caroina Stingrays.

Matt Pope, 27, has six goals and 11 asssists in 13 games. He ranks third in overall ECHL scoring. Here’s the press release from the Hershey Bears.

And in case you BSU fans missed it, check out the video of Matt Read’s game-winning goal against the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night.

Millsy over at The Beaver Pond tracks the statistics of former Bemidji State players and prospects in the junior leagues. Here is the latest update with stats current as of Nov. 15.


-Andrew Murray-San Jose Sharks (NHL) 15 GP, 0G-0A-0 Pts., 2 PIM, -1
-Matt Read-Philadelphia (NHL) 14 GP, 5G-5A-10 Pts., 2 PIM, +5
-Matt Francis-Nottingham Panthers (ELITE League) 24 GP, 7G-14A-21 Pts., 12 PIM, +1
-Brendan Cook-Sonderjyske (Denmark) 19 GP, 11G-5A-16 Pts, 18 PIM
-Tyler Scofield-Klagenfurter AC (Austria) 14 GP, 8G-5A-13 Pts, 2 PIM, +6
-Anssi Tieranta-LeKi (Finland2) 12 GP, 0G-0A-0 Pts, 8 PIM
-Mikka Lindholm-HKC (Finland3) 14 GP, 10G-10A-20 Pts., 24 PIM
-Matt Dalton-Vityaz Chekhov (KHL) 18 GP, 4W-9L-4SOL, 92.1 Save %, 3.14 GAA, 2 PIM
-Emil Billberg-Sodertalje (Allsvenskan) 18 GP, 2G-1A-3 Pts., 6 PIM
-Ryan Huddy-Valpelice (Italy) 14 GP, 7G-11A-18 Pts., 6 PIM, +1
-Rob Sirianni-Valpelice (Italy) 14 GP, 8G-9A-17 Pts., 14 PIM, +0
-Chris McKelvie-Connecticut Whale (AHL) 12 GP, 0G-0A-0 Pts., 6 PIM, -1
-Jamie Mattie-HC Innsbruck (Austria2) 3 GP, 0G-0A-0 Pts., 2 PIM
-Matt Climie-Chicago (AHL) 6 GP, 4W-2L-OSOL, 94.4 Save %, 2.01 GAA, 0 PIM, 1 Assist
-Ian Lowe-Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) 14 GP, 5G-5A-10 Pts., 21 PIM, -2
-Matt Pope-South Carolina (ECHL) 13 GP, 6G-11A-17 Pts., 4 PIM, +2
*******-Hershey Bears (AHL) Signed 11/15/11, 0 GP, 0G-0A-0 Pts., 0 PIM, +0
-Niko Suoraniemi-Eindhoven Kemphanen (Netherlands) 6 GP, 2G-3A-5 Pts., 2 PIM
-Daryl Bat-Tyringe SoSS (Sweden Division 2) 10 GP, 8G-4A-12 Pts., 18 PIM
-Riley Weselowski-Rapid City (CHL) 10 GP, 1G-2A-3 Pts., 12 PIM, +1
-Luke Erickson-Arizona (CHL) 10 GP, 3G-3A-6 Pts., 10 PIM, -3
-Brandon Marino-Quad City (CHL) 8 GP, 4G-7A-11 Pts., 2 PIM, -3
-Andrew Martens-Wichita Thunder (CHL) 10 GP, 5G-6A-11 Pts., 12 PIM, +7
-Ryan Cramer-Tulsa Oilers (CHL) 11 GP, 3G-5A-8 Pts., 2 PIM, -1


-Brady Riesgraf-Fargo Force (USHL) 3 GP, 0G-0A-0 Pts., 2 PIM, +1
**********-Coulee Region Chill (NAHL) 1 GP. 0G-0A-0 Pts., 0 PIM, -2
-Brendan Harms-Portage Terriers (MJHL) 11 GP, 5G-7A-12 Pts., 21 PIM
-Bob Kinne-Lincoln Stars (USHL) 8 GP, 2G-0A-2 Pts., 0 PIM, +1
-Corey Petrash-Winnipeg Saints (MJHL) 22 GP, 5G-9A-14Pts., 23 PIM
-Brad Robbins-Sioux City (USHL) 12 GP, 6G-6A-12 Pts., 4 PIM, -2
-Graeme McCormack-Namaimo Clippers (BCHL) 19 GP, 5G-19A-24 Pts., 16 PIM

Follow Eric Stromgren on Twitter at @estromgren and on Facebook.