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MSU GameDay: No secrets to hide between Mavericks, Beavers

The Minnesota State University men's hockey team is scheduled to play its first home games of the 2020-21 season this weekend, a non-conference series against WCHA rival Bemidji State. These games will mark the seventh and eight times the teams have met in the past year.

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Minnesota State defenseman Jack McNeely, 3, takes the puck from Bemidji State forward Ethan Somoza during the first period of the Mariucci Classic Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, at the 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis, Minn. (Jason Wachter/The Rink Live)

If it feels like the Minnesota State and Bemidji State men’s hockey teams have seen a lot of each other in the past year, it’s because they have.

When the No. 5-ranked Mavericks host the Beavers this weekend for their home openers at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center, it will mark the seventh and eighth times the teams have met in the past year.

Dating back to last season’s Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis, MSU has gone 4-2-0 against the Beavers, with four of the meetings decided by two or less goals.

The WCHA rivals -- MSU beat Bemidji State on the final night of the regular season back in late February to secure its third consecutive regular-season league title -- have had three scheduled meetings postponed already this season, but the signs are positive that they’ll be able to play twice this weekend in Mankato.

Here’s a look at this weekend’s series:

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The Games

Who: Bemidji State at No. 6 Minnesota State

When: Friday, 7:37 p.m.; Saturday, 5:07 p.m.

Where: Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center, Mankato

Records: Bemidji State 0-0-0 WCHA, 1-2-0 overall; MSU 0-0-0 WCHA, 2-1-0 overall

Follow along: Live blog at TheRinkLive.com ; live streaming at FloHockey.TV

More schedule changes

MSU announced Friday morning it has added four games to its post-holiday break schedule, all against WCHA opponents.

The Mavericks will host Alabama Huntsville in a non-conference series at MCHSEC on Jan. 28-29. MSU has also added a non-conference series at Ferris State on Feb. 19-20.

The Mavericks’ final series of the regular season has also been switched. It will now be a home-and-home series against Bemidji State, with the teams meeting in Mankato on Thursday, Feb. 25, and at Bemidji on Saturday, Feb. 27.

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Links from the Rinks

• Todd Burgess is brand new to the Mavericks. Cade Borchardt is new to the college hockey scoresheet. Both have been big contributors for MSU so far , on and off the ice.

• ‘We’re asking the guys to take care of each other’: MSU’s coaches are relying on their senior leaders to help the younger players through the challenging times that this year and season have presented so far; takeaways from the Mavericks’ series at Michigan Tech; and WCHA Power Rankings.

• Long-time MSU beat writer Shane Frederick has his Friday Morning Skate up and ready.

• Bemidji State brothers Lukas and Owen Sillinger recently teamed for a special goal , Lukas’ first as a college hockey player.

• The official press releases with stats and notes from Minnesota State and Bemidji State for this weekend’s series.

Last Meeting

Minnesota State defeated Bemidji State 5-0 in the season opener for both teams this year, at Bemidji on Nov. 22. Dryden McKay recorded a 21-save shutout -- the 15th of his college career -- and the Mavericks received goals from defensemen Andy Carroll and Jake Livingstone (his first college goal), as well as two from forward Reggie Lutz and one from Julian Napravnik. The Mavericks outshot the Beavers 27-21.

Head-to-Head

Records: Bemidji State 1-2-0, Minnesota State 2-1-0

National ranking: Bemidji State not ranked (receiving votes); MSU No. 5 USCHO.com poll, No. 5 USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll

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Goals per game (national rank): BSU 2.0 (T-37th); MSU 2.67 (T-26th)

Goals against per game: BSU 3.67 (39th); MSU 1.0 (T-1st)

Power play (national rank): BSU 0-for-6, 0 pct. (T-43rd); MSU 1-for-10, 10.0 pct. (T-34th)

Penalty kill (national rank): BSU 5-for-5, 100 pct. (T-1st); MSU 10-for-12, 83.3 pct. (T-20th)

Shots on goal per game (national rank): BSU 27.3 (T-29th); MSU 36.0 (4th)

Shots allowed per game (national rank): BSU 28.0 (T-22nd); MSU 21.3 (T-3rd)

Historical Data

MSU holds a slim 61-58-20 lead in the all-time series against Bemidji State, a rivalry that dates back to the 1974-75 season. The Mavericks are 32-19-10 all-time against BSU at home. MSU is 1-0-0 against the Beavers this season and holds an 11-3-1 record in the last 15 matchups (home team in all caps):

Nov. 22, 2020: Minnesota State 5, BEMIDJI STATE 0

Feb. 29, 2020: Minnesota State 4, BEMIDJI STATE 1

Feb. 28, 2020: BEMIDJI STATE 3, Minnesota State 1

Jan. 25, 2020: Bemidji State 4, MINNESOTA STATE 2

Jan. 24, 2020: MINNESOTA STATE 3, Bemidji State 2

Dec. 29, 2019: Minnesota State 2, Bemidji State 0

(At Mariucci Classic, Minneapolis)

March 2, 2019: MINNESOTA STATE 3, Bemidji State 1

March 1, 2019: MINNESOTA STATE 4, Bemidji State 1

Nov. 24, 2018: BEMIDJI STATE 4, Minnesota State 2

Nov. 23, 2018: Minnesota State 3, Bemidji State 2

Feb. 24, 2018: MINNESOTA STATE 2, Bemidji State 2, tie

Feb. 23, 2018: MINNESOTA STATE 2, Bemidji State 1

Nov. 11, 2017: Minnesota State 8, BEMIDJI STATE 6

Nov. 10, 2017: Minnesota State 5, BEMIDJI STATE 2

Feb. 25, 2017: Minnesota State 2, BEMIDJI STATE 1

Scouting the Beavers

Bemidji State pushed MSU down to the final game of the regular season last year in the chase for the WCHA championship. The Mavericks topped the Beavers 4-1 at Bemidji to deny the Beavers a conference title.

This season, the Beavers opened the year with a 5-0 setback against MSU.

Bemidji State returns one of the top goaltenders in the country, senior Zach Driscoll. Though he’s off to a bit of a shaky start this season (1-2-0, 3.58 GAA, .877 save pct.), Driscoll is coming off a junior season in which he went 21-8-4 with a 1.63 GAA, four shutouts and a .937 save pct. He was among the top 10 nationally in GAA (3rd), save pct. (5th), wins (6th) and shutouts (8th).

BSU has its sights on challenging for a MacNaughton Cup again, with nearly everyone back from last season’s team that went 22-10-5.

Junior Owen Sillinger and senior Aaron Miller lead the team up front, while sophomore Elias Rosen is dual-threat defenseman.

The Beavers’ offense has been feast or famine. They scored six goals in their lone win, at home last Saturday against Michigan Tech, but they have been shut out in their other two games. Their power play has struggled, as well; BSU is one of six teams in the country that has yet to score a power-play goal.

On the flip side, the Beavers’ penalty kill has been very good, holding opponents to 0-for-5 effort -- with only three shot attempts -- so far this season.

Ice Chips…

• MSU head coach Mike Hastings, in his ninth season, holds a 216-85-22 career record with the Mavericks. No program in the country has won more games during Hastings’ time as MSU’s coach.

• Mavericks junior goalie Dryden McKay has 16 career shutouts, including a nation-leading two this season. His 16 shutouts rank ninth all-time in NCAA history. McKay is 5-3-0 all-time vs. Bemidji State, with a 1.29 GAA and a .953 save pct.

• Senior alternate captain Dallas Gerads played in his 100th career game in game two of the series at Michigan Tech. Six current Mavericks have played in 100 or more games. Gerads joins Reggie Lutz (116), Jared Spooner (115), Riese Zmolek (114), Jack McNeely (106) and Jake Jaremko (104).

• Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll is 2-4-0 all-time against MSU, with a 3.56 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage.

• BSU forward Nick Cardelli has the most points against MSU of any current Beavers’ player (3-2--5).

• Bemidji State is perfect on the penalty kill so far this season (5-for-5). No NCAA team allowed fewer than BSU’s 10 power-play goals last year (103-for-113). BSU’s 91.2 penalty kill percentage ranked second in the nation in 2019-20.

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