The Merrimack College men’s ice hockey team resumes its non-conference schedule with a trip out to Minnesota, where the Warriors will meet WCHA member Bemidji State for a two-game set at the Sanford Center starting Friday night at 8 p.m. EST.
Inside The Series
Merrimack and Bemidji State have met six times previously and the all-time ledger sits even at 3-3-0. The two teams met in the NCAA Division II National Championship in 1984, which was won by Bemidji State. Then, the teams split a pair of games at Lawler Rink in November of 2003 before last meeting in 2007 at Bemidji, a series that Merrimack swept by scores of 3-2 and 2-1.
The last time Merrimack faced Bemidji State 2007, Francis Ouimet won the first game game with a goal 2:16 into the third period, while Andrew Braithwaite held off the Beavers with 28 saves to win the second game.
- Merrimack leads the nation in one-goal games played, having done so six times. The next-closest team to have played as many one-goal affairs is New Hampshire (6).
- Merrimack’s top-four lead scorers are all juniors. They have combined for 21 of the team’s 52 points. As a whole, Merrimack’s junior class ranks eighth in the nation with 27 points altogether (9g, 18a), good for third among Hockey East schools (PC, NU).
- Bemidji State is the second WCHA opponent that Merrimack will take on this season. The Warriors dropped both games of their season-opening home series against Lake Superior back in October. Merrimack has not met up much with the WCHA over the last four years. In fact, the last outing came against Northern Michigan on a neutral-site matchup in the Florida College Hockey Classic in late December of the 2016-17 season.
- Merrimack has not had many blocks by the defense to start the season, averaging 9.22 per game, good for 52nd nationally. The Warriors have posted a double-digit block total in just three games, but those have all come in the last five games. Its top shot-blockers are graduate student Matt McArdle and junior Ryan Cook who have 11 blocked shots apiece.
Bemidji State Notes
- Bemidji State is off to a strong start with a 4-1-1 mark after six games. Their only loss was on the road against Northern Michigan, while their resume includes a win and a tie against North Dakota. The Beavers have won three straight.
- Bemidji State has started hot despite scoring only 10 goals in six outings. They rank 54th nationally in scoring offense.
- On special teams, BSU 29th on the power play (18.8) and sixth on the penalty kill (90.5).