Good Morning Student Section! Raise your hand if you thought that the Bemidji State Beavers would win the North Star College Cup. Yeah, I didn't think that would happen either.
On Friday, the Bemidji State Beavers shutout the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 4-0. The Beavers then went out and proved that Friday's win wasn't a one-game fluke. On Saturday night, the Beavers beat the number one ranked Minnesota State Mavericks 3-1 to clinch the tournament title.
Despite their sub-.500 record, the Beavers are not an easy out or a team to be taken lightly. This season, the Beavers have now beaten North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota State. That's an impressive list of teams.
With the win, the Beavers improve to 9-12-3. After a slow start, the Beavers have played better hockey. Since December 1, 2014, the Beavers are 5-2-3.
The story of the tournament was the play of the Beavers freshman goaltender Michael Bitzer. The rookie stopped 53-of-54 shots and named the tournament's MVP.
"I don't think there's any question that when we play the other Minnesota institutions - it's a special game from that perspective," Beavers coach Tom Serratore told the media after the game. "I don't know if it's a 'rivalry,' but there's no question the guys are enthusiastic about playing the game. I think it's a combination of another in-state institution, but I really believe it's this event down here, too."
Gophers are reeling
Back in November I said this, "The Gophers are a very good hockey team, the stats don't lie. I don't remember any team winning a national title or a conference title during the month of October, November and December. So, step away from the ledge Gopher fans, despite the loss to the 53rd ranked team in the Pairwise rankings, the Gophers are sitting pretty."
I would like to rescind that statement.
I like many fans have been waiting for the Gophers to snap out of their funk and start playing better. So is head coach Don Lucia.
It's kind of puzzling. The Gophers should be a better hockey team, they returned most of the team that went to the Frozen Four last season and finished as the NCAA runner-up.
After you watch these goals, you will see why the Gophers losing. They're getting beat to pucks. They're not strong on pucks. They're losing battles in all three zones. They're not going to the hard areas and they're not a hard team to play against right now.
The Gophers All-American goaltender Adam Wilcox looks human. Wilcox is getting beat by shots at the top of the faceoff dots. That didn't happen last season.
The Gopher defense is leaving their goalie high and dry. The forwards aren't doing a very good job protecting the pucks. The Gophers looked a half-step slow all weekend long. That's the reason the Gophers are currently ranked 20th in the Pairwise Rankings. There's still time to right the ship.