NCAA Round Up: Your Bemidji State Beavers.
With my favorite team out of town in Duluth last night, I applied for a press pass and made the trek down highway to take in a game at the John S. Glas Field House in Bemidji, Minnesota. The game featured the CHA leading BSU Beavers 12-2-1 and league 7-0-0 and the Niagara University Purple Eagles 2-8-2, 1-1-1.
Much has been made about the Beaver’s poll positions this season as they have been ranked in the top ten for a few weeks now, some have said the BSU Beavers didn’t deserve their high ranking because they hadn’t played anybody and they were overrated. The nay sayers were quieted down a bit when the Beavers went out and beat top ranked Miami University 3-2 last weekend in the first game of the Subway Holiday Classic. Currently the Beavers sit 5th in the USCHO poll and 4th in the USA Today poll. BSU was also ranked 6th in the latest INCH power rankings. The Beavers are ranked number one the PWR/RPI rankings (these rankings mirrors the NCAA selection).
Tenacious, High pressure, get pucks deep and speed
It would be an understatement to say that the Beavers have been winning in an impressive and dramatic fashion. From the drop of the first puck to the last whistle of the game the BSU Beavers play an aggressive fore checking high pressure game. The Beavers pride themselves in outworking their opponents. The Beavers are quick up front and strong defensively (ranked number one defensively) and aren’t very much fun to play against. When you play against the Beavers you can’t take a shift off against them or they will bury you.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers found out the hard way in the second game of their two games series against BSU back in November. With the game close at 3-1 after the two periods the Beavers came out in the third period and scored three goals in less than two minutes to bury the Gophers.
The Beavers keep coming at you by getting the puck deep in the offensive zone and then race in to converge on the puck. The Beavers mirror their coach short in stature but fiery and intense in nature. The Beavers are a breath of fresh air in the era of the Neutral Zone Trap. The Beavers play a race horse up tempo brand of hockey much like the Dean Blais UND Fighting Sioux teams of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
At last night’s game while sitting with my friend who is the faculty rep of the BSU hockey team, we watched in awe as the Beavers picked apart the Niagara defense. I told him that the Beavers just keep buzzing and they are relentless, they cycle the puck with a tenacious pace. The Beavers keep coming in waves as another line comes off the bench and continues the assault. During the Second period we looked on in amazement and after another long cycle by the Beavers in the Niagara end, Bemidji forward Ryan Cramer scored a nice goal.
Avalanche of goals
The BSU Beavers aren’t just squeaking out goals they are winning in impressive fashion. The Beavers have scored 5 or more goals seven times in fifteen games. The Beavers are ranked 3rd nationally in goals. That includes last night’s game where they put eight pucks behind the Niagara goalie Adam Avramenko. The score could have been worse if BSU hadn’t hit two pipes and albeit a strong effort in net by the junior goalie from Strathmore, Alberta.
The wins keep coming
Since January 24th 2009 the Bemidji State Beavers are an impressive 25-5-2. During that time frame the Beavers are 3-1-1 against the CCHA beating the likes of NMU, MU and Notre Dame. The Beavers are also 16-2-1 in their conference games during the same time period. There is a mind set developing; last night while visiting with some BSU fans I heard one of them brought up the point that the Beavers might not have to win the conference tourney to make the NCAA tourney this season. If the Beavers keep winning that is very true. Air Force Academy did it last year by qualifying 13th in the final pairwise ranking. Only time will tell if the Beavers can replicate that feat. Only once has a CHA team been given an at large bid, Niagara did it in 1999-200 season where the Purple Eagles went out and beat UNH Wildcats in the first game of the West Regional at Mariucci arena. Currently the Beavers have a big lead in their conference with a 7-0-0 record and are 10 points ahead of the next closest team the RMU Colonies who have a 1-3-2 record.