Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Midwest #4: Bemidji State

Bemidji State University Beavers

4 seed vs. Notre Dame, Midwest Regional (Grand Rapids, MI)
7:30 EDT, Saturday, March 28, ESPN Classic
CHA Regular Season Champions
CHA Tournament Champions
Record: 18-15-1
Coach: Tom Serratore (138-117-29)

Scoring Summary:
GFA GAA Diff.
2.82 2.68 +0.15

Leading Scorers:
# Player G-A--Pts
19 Matt Read 13-22-35
13 Tyler Scofield 18-14-32
29 Brad Hunt 9-22-31

Goaltending:
# Player Sv % GAA W-L-T
 1 Matt Dalton .918 2.25 17-10-1
35 Orlando Alamano .870 4.21 1-5-0

Stats via CollegeHockeyNews.com

Bemidji State hockey is in a perilous place right now. The Beavers were a charter member of College Hockey America in 1999, the same year they made the jump to D-I hockey, and now they find the conference imploding. Down to four teams at the start of the year, Robert Morris and Niagara will jump ship for Atlantic Hockey after next season, leaving BSU and Alabama-Huntsville with few options. The Beavers are petitioning to join the WCHA and have received some encouraging news, but it's far from a done deal. But in what's almost certainly the last penultimate year of the CHA (and their NCAA auto-bid), the Beavers won both the regular season crown and the Peters Cup to earn their third trip to the D-I tournament in program history.

Any way you slice it, the Beavers don't look like a team that's going to make a lot of noise in the tournament (They draw Notre Dame, first of all). KRACH calls them the #36 team in the country, #46 in strength of schedule. Their scoring margin against that schedule is only +0.15, so they've been winning by the skin of their ever-growing teeth. But it's the tournament, and anything can happen in one game.

Sophomore goalie Matt Dalton's numbers look solid: .918 save percentage and 2.25 GAA. He even has 3 assists. Senior Orlando Alamando probably won't be seen except on an emergency basis. On offense, sophomore Matt Read is the leading scorer with a 13-22--35 line. Senior Tyler Scofield leads the team in goals with 18. Freshman defenseman Brad Hunt has made a significant offensive impact as well. He's tied for the team lead with 22 assists to go with his 9 goals.

Quick Hits:

  • Kingmakers? In both previous trips to the NCAAs, Bemidji State was knocked out in the first round by the eventual tournament champion. In 2006, up in Green Bay, Wisconsin handled the Beavers easily, 4-0. But the previous year Denver was forced to go to overtime to earn a 4-3 victory

  • The Peters Principle. The Bemidji State program is one with a long history of success at the lower levels of college hockey, and all much of it can be dated from the arrival of R.H. "Bob" Peters in 1966. Peters had become the coach at North Dakota in '64-'65 and taken the Sioux to the Frozen Four, where they placed 3rd. The next year, they missed the tournament and Peters decided to head north southeast to Bemidji State. Starting in 1968, the Beavers reeled off four straight NAIA national titles and added additional titles in '72, '79, and '80 before jumping to D-II in 1982. It didn't take long to find success, as Bemidji turned in a perfect 31-0-0 season en route to the 1984 D-II crown. The Beavers then proceeded to bounce back and forth between D-II and D-III, winning a total of 5 D-II titles and 1 in D-III. Peters then shepherded the team through its transition to a full-fledged Division I program in 1999. He stepped down following the 2001 season with a 744-313-51 overall record to become the CHA commissioner.

  • Wasted Opportunity. Sportscasters everywhere bemoan that they will not be able to beat into the ground the fact that Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore is the brother of Air Force coach Frank Serratore.

3 comments:

millsy03 said...

I like the write up on the Beavers, but just a couple of points to clarify. The CHA will be around for the 2009-10 season as Niagara and Robert Morris will not join Atlantic Hockey until the following year. As for BSU's titles, they had some good teams before RH "Bob" Peters arrived at Bemidji (they started hockey in 1947). But, there were no national tournaments for the small schools until the NAIA started sponsoring one in 1968. It wasn't until 1978 that the NCAA started sponsoring another National Tournement besides the D-I tournament.

And Bemidji State is slightly southeast of Grand Forks, so Peters really was moving to a more tropical climate!

Geoff said...

Thanks for the corrections. I think the story of hockey at Bemidji State is a fascinating one. I really enjoyed writing this one up.

millsy03 said...

No problem. If you (or anyone else) is looking for a "Cliff's Notes" version on BSU's Hockey History, one can be found here:

http://www.vintageminnesotahockey.com/BSUBeavers.html

Not my site, but I did contribute the write up to them.