Bemidji’s Kinne Recovering from Stroke

     Senior left winger Ben Kinne of St. Paul is recovering from a stroke suffered Friday while working out in St. Paul and is hospitalized. The Bemidji Pioneer had a story Monday here.

     The Bemidji State athletic website has an update here.

     Kinne, 22, played at St. Paul Cretin-Derham Hall, including on the 2006 Class AA state championship team. He scored a goal at the DECC against Minnesota-Duluth on Jan. 23 with 1.6 seconds remaining for a 4-4 tie, before Bemidji State’s Jordan George scored 36 seconds into overtime for a 5-4 victory.

A First: Bemidji beats Gophers

     The Bemidji Pioneer of the Forum Communications family has a full report on Sunday’s historic Bemidji State victory at Minnesota from Eric Stromgren. Also a game photo gallery is here. And video of Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore’s post-game comments is here.

     Next up for the Gophers — at home Friday and Saturday with Minnesota Duluth.

MINNEAPOLIS – The sight was strange Sunday night at Mariucci Arena as hundreds of stunned Gopher fans headed for the exits just three minutes into the third period.

The Bemidji State men’s hockey team bounced back from its first loss of the season and dismantled Minnesota for an impressive 6-2 win behind three quick third-period goals to gain the series split.

"It was a neat sight," Bemidji State captain Chris McKelvie said. "Obviously we have high expectations for ourselves and when we scored those three quick goals some of their fans started running for the hills. I know Bemidji State fans won’t do that to us."

The win marked the first victory over the Gophers in BSU men’s hockey history, ending a seven-game losing streak that stretched back to the first game in 2000.

"You know what, it is a monumental win," BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. "(Minnesota) is a premier program … anytime you can win in this building you take it. It’s a very difficult place to play so I’m very proud of our guys and it’s an exciting time."

No. 7-ranked Bemidji State improved to 8-1-1 overall (4-0 CHA) and return to John Glas Fieldhouse next weekend for a conference series against Alabama-Huntsville. Sunday’s win also temporarily answered questions of the legitimacy of BSU’s high national ranking.

"We had a good start (to the season) and we knew that we would have a hard test coming here," Bemidji State forward Matt Read said. "We didn’t bring our best effort into Saturday’s game but we played well today. We played a tough, smart game."

Bemidji State never trailed and was aided by a pair of first-period goals on Minnesota goalie Alex Kangas from Shea Walters and Read.

Jamie MacQueen scored four minutes into the second period on Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson to give BSU a 3-1 advantage heading into the third period.

Bemidji State then blistered Minnesota for three goals in the first three minutes of the third period. The run started on Brad Hunt’s wrist shot goal from the blue line at 1:38, MacQueen followed with a backhander 14 seconds later and Aaron McLeod put the finishing touches on the rout at 3:04 with his second goal of the season.

That goal chased Patterson from the net and Kangas was brought back to finish out the game for the Gophers (4-4-1 overall, 3-4-1 WCHA). Patterson finished with six saves and Kangas had seven saves.

Jordan Schroeder and Jake Hansen scored for Minnesota.

"It was just one of those games, you know," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. "If you go look at the scoring chances we probably had more tonight. The score doesn’t indicate that. They cashed in on their chances and we didn’t."

Bemidji State freshman backup goalie Mathieu Dugas had 25 saves and earned his second win in two starts for the Beavers this season. Both wins are on the road.

Serratore planned to start Dugas to give the freshman some playing time.

"You can’t say enough about our goalies (Dugas and Dan Bakala), they’re competitive and they show a lot of maturity on the ice," McKelvie said. "We let Baks down a little bit last night when we took too many penalties. We played better tonight and no matter what goalie we have back there it gives the team a lot of confidence."

Bemidji State was quietly strong early on and withstood an offensive barrage by the Gophers. The Beavers were outshot 10-4 in the first period and did not get a shot on net in the second period until the 10 minute mark.

The middle half of the second period proved to be a critical stretch for Bemidji State. Minnesota’s Zach Budish checked Dan MacIntyre from behind and was ejected on a game misconduct.

It gave Bemidji State a five-minute power play.

BSU dodged a bullet during that power play when Tony Lucia beat Dugas on a breakaway – only to have the puck bounce off the pipe and out of the crease.

BSU then scored seconds later on MacQueen’s first goal of the game at 16:11. Lucia’s shot was reviewed after MacQueen’s goal and the call was not reversed.

"If that review went the other way, the game could have been completely different story," Read said. "Once we got that goal, we never looked back from there."

McKelvie called that stretch the turning point of the game.

"Then when we came out in the third period we weren’t looking to score goals, we were just looking to play tight defense and grind the game out," he said.


This summary courtesy of U.S. College Hockey Online

Bemidji State 6, Minnesota 2
Non-Conference Game
Sunday, November 15, 2009 at Mariucci Arena (Att: 9913)

Bemidji State…. 2 1 3–6

Minnesota…….. 0 1 1–2

Bemidji State…..4-7-8–19

Minnesota …….10-9-8–27
Penalties BSU 6-12; Minnesota 5-21

PP BSU 2-5, Minnesota 2-6 
First Period

1. Bemidji State- Shea Walters (unassisted) 8:02
2. Bemidji State- Matt Read (Jordan George) 19:10

Second Period

3. Minnesota-Jordan Schroeder (Aaron Ness, Cade Fairchild) PPG 9:19
4. Bemidji State-Jamie MacQueen (Brady Wacker, Chris Peluso) GWG PPG 16:11

Third Period

5. Bemidji State-Brad Hunt (Shea Walters, Jordan George) PPG 1:38
6. Bemidji State-Jamie MacQueen (unassisted) 1:52
7. Bemidji State-Aaron McLeod (Brad Hunt, Jake Areshenko) 3:04
8. Minnesota-Jake Hansen (Kevin Wehrs, Tony Lucia) PPG 8:36
Goaltender Saves
Bemidji State-Mathieu Dugas (59:42 W) 10 8 7 25 (2 GA)
Minnesota-Alex Kangas (36:50 N) 2 5 7 (2 GA)
Minnesota-Kent Patterson (23:04 L) 6 0 6 (4 GA)

Referees: Todd Anderson, Brad Shepherd
Asst. Referees: Matt Anderson, Jared Moen

Bemidji’s View

     Here’s a Wednesday story from the Bemidji Pioneer on Tuesday’s developments in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association concerning expansion:

Bemidji State won’t know its fate with the Western Collegiate Hockey Association until later this year, WCHA officials said Tuesday.

“The presentation made by BSU for membership in the WCHA was viewed most positively and very professionally done,” WCHA Commissioner Bruce McLeod said in a telephone news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Bemidji State officials made their pitch for WCHA membership Monday during the league’s meetings at Marco Island, Fla., where the conference call originated.

“We did not take a direct vote on BSU’s membership,” McLeod said. “Our issue at this point is not BSU and its membership. Our issue is more with the number.”

McLeod said the WCHA will extend its lifting of a moratorium on new members and will continue to seek 12 members to the 10-member premier college hockey league in the United States.

The WCHA lifted its ban earlier this year and had an open enrollment period to the end of March. Only Bemidji State applied for membership. McLeod said a 12-member league is preferred, as an 11-member WCHA would pose irreconcilable schedule conflicts.

The difference this time, however, is that the WCHA membership gave McLeod authority to aggressively seek new members, to “negotiate” for that 12th member.

“The issue for us is to get to 12,” he said. “If we didn’t care about Bemidji, if we weren’t concerned about Bemidji, we weren’t concerned about collegiate hockey and the landscape in general, we would just stay at 10.”

McLeod wouldn’t be specific about teams, but when asked if the University of Nebraska-Omaha or Northern Michigan University had been approached or had approached the WCHA, he said: “One of them.”

The membership had a lot of discussion about a timeline, he said, “but we didn’t set a specific date. What I will say is that we did set ourselves some goals … and our goals are way more toward mid-summer rather than next spring.”

Bemidji State officials appear willing to wait it out.

“The quicker the better,” said Bemidji State men’s hockey coach Tom Serratore. “Obviously it’s tough getting recruits when there’s inconsistency on what’s going to happen. But we’ve been facing this for 10 years, so what’s a few more months?”

BSU’s current league, College Hockey America, will fold after next season, leaving BSU without a conference and hoping the WCHA will accept its membership bid.

“I feel confident that the WCHA will find a 12th team and I feel very confident where we stand with the WCHA,” said Serratore, who this year coached the Beavers to the NCAA Frozen Four. “We need to be a little more patient and things are going to work out.”

BSU Athletic Director Rick Goeb said that “we are pleased with the WCHA decision. We do understand the complications that an 11-team format would create, so we respect a decision to try to move to 12. We’re very excited and pleased with the direction that we’re headed.”

Serratore said that if WCHA membership is delayed a year, Bemidji State could play a year as an independent.

“It’s not a preference for us, but we can do that,” he said. “We have the support of the college hockey body. We just have to be patient right here and let the WCHA do their thing. … This has to play out a little bit. This is the most positive feedback we’ve gotten in a while and I’m very confident we’re going to get into the WCHA.

“We just have to let this thing play out, and when it plays out, I think it’s going to have a positive impact on Bemidji and also a 12th team,” Serratore added. The possibility of an independent schedule would be for 2010-11, but Bemidji State does have a scheduling agreement for some WCHA schools for a home and away slate.

McLeod said he is under some restrictions on how he contacts potential teams, but he will be more aggressive than in the past few months.

“The direction I got from the athletic directors is that they definitely want me to be more aggressive in my pursuit, which they consider as a compatible No. 12,” McLeod said. “I still have some issues that I have to be careful, ethics issues of approaching teams in other conferences, but I think that once I get an indication from them … I think know who some of those potential candidates are … hopefully I can find a way to ethically work through the proper channels to encourage them and put some things on the table for them.”

The moratorium was lifted indefinitely “so we don’t we don’t have some specific timeline to work with,” he said. “I don’t think we’re looking at a normal membership application — there’s a little bit more of an aspect of membership negotiation.”

The WCHA has certain criteria for membership, and McLeod said the WCHA membership has allowed him to “make some adjustments in those criteria” to woo a 12th member. He wasn’t specific on what adjustments he could offer, but he did reiterate that the WCHA membership holds the final say on who joins the league.

Agreement to add a team must come from at least eight of the 10 current members.

Reporters on the conference call repeatedly asked McLeod if Minnesota State University-Moorhead’s push for WCHA membership could play a role, and he repeatedly said no.

Moorhead has no hockey team today, but in recent weeks said it would attempt to start from scratch an NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey program that would seek WCHA membership.

College officials, however, said that at least $10 million in private funds would be needed first and that no state college money would be forthcoming.

“The timeline to get a Division I hockey team up and going and having, by our criteria, played a Division I hockey schedule for a specific number of years,” McLeod said, later saying two or three years would be needed., “and the whole issue of institutional support … is certainly a concern to the WCHA.”

An institutional commitment is necessary not only to play Division I hockey but also to have a quality commitment to a quality program is needed to join a quality conference, he said.

Moorhead “is a long ways away,” McLeod said. “And they have some basic issues regarding institutional commitment and regarding the timeline. We have people from Bemidji sitting in the room with us — let me tell you, their neck is out a long, long way hoping for membership in the WCHA. They didn’t get any assurances prior to them committing to the quality Division I program they have in place right now, and certainly the quality of the building they’re putting in place right now.”

Bemidji St. in D.C.; Duncan in AHL

    Eric Stromgren of the Bemidji Pioneer gives us a look at Bemidji State arriving in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday in preparation for Thursday’s NCAA Division I Frozen Four semifinal game with Miami of Ohio. Also the Grand Forks Herald is reporting Wednesday that former Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Ryan Duncan has signed an amateur tryout contract with Bridgeport (Conn.) of the American Hockey League:

Bemidji Pioneer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bemidji State men’s hockey team was welcomed here Tuesday evening with fanfare typically reserved for political dignitaries.

The plane arrived at Dulles Airport shortly after 6 p.m. and head coach Tom Serratore was greeted by a United States Naval officer and U.S. Naval Academy senior Nolan Anliker on the tarmac.

The U.S. Naval Academy is hosting the Frozen Four and Anliker, a native of Brooklyn Park, is assigned to take care of Beavers during the stay in Washington D.C.

The team and traveling party then loaded onto a coach bus and was escorted into downtown by a lighted police car.

The team arrived at the Verizon Center, the venue for the 2009 Frozen Four, shortly after 7 p.m.

After unloading and organizing equipment in the locker room, the Beavers were given a quick tour of the Washington Capitals locker room.

After leaving the locker room, the players then walked out through a short tunnel and out onto the bench at ice level in the Arena.

After a few minutes of taking in the arena, the players loaded back up onto the bus and left for a late dinner before turning in for the evening.

Wednesday’s activities will keep the Beavers busy from morning until late evening.

The Beavers are booked for interviews with Westwood One radio and ESPN in the morning before hitting the Verizon Center ice for practice at 11 a.m.

The hour-long practice is followed by another press conference. After the press conference, the Beavers plan to take in a tour of the nation’s capital in the afternoon.

The Beavers will then be officially welcomed at the Championship Reception held at the Historical Society of Washington D.C. at 6:30 p.m.

Bemidji State will have a short practice Thursday morning before playing Miami of Ohio in the national semifinal at 4 p.m. CDT.

Grand Forks Herald

North Dakota senior forward Ryan Duncan has signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.

The Sound Tigers are the AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.

Duncan was named to Inside College Hockey’s All-America third team this season after leading the Sioux in points (39), goals (20), power-play goals (nine), game-winning goals (four) and shorthanded goals (two). He became just the fourth player in UND history to lead the team in goals three times.

The Calgary, Alberta, native captained UND to a MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champion and a berth in the NCAA postseason tournament.

He was named to the All-WCHA second team and the WCHA all-academic team this spring.

Duncan tied former teammate Chris Porter’s NCAA record when he played in his 175th consecutive game in North Dakota’s NCAA Northeast Region semifinal loss at New Hampshire. Duncan also scored his 85th and final career goal in that game, becoming the fifth player in Sioux history to amass 85 career goals and 85 career assists.

Duncan, the 2007 Hobey Baker Award winner, graduated tied for first all-time at UND in games played (175) and is ranked second in career game-winning goals (17), third in power-play goals (37), tied for ninth in goals (85) and tied for 13th in points (172).

Bemidji State Back at Work

     The Bemidji State men’s hockey team, the media darling of the NCAA Division I Frozen Four, is back at work this week in preparation for Thursday’s semifinal meeting with Miami of Ohio (4 p.m., ESPN2). Here’s an update from the Bemidji Pioneer’s Tuesday editions:

John McRae, Bemidji Pioneer

After a dizzying few days of media frenzy from local, state regional and national news outlets, the Bemidji State men’s hockey team got back to business in earnest last Saturday.

The Beavers actually hit the ice for the first time Wednesday after qualifying for the Frozen Four. But constant requests for interviews both before and after practice made getting too serious pretty difficult.

All that changed Saturday as the Beavers got back into the normal game week routine.

“We were able to take some time and do a good video breakdown session with the guys,” said Bemidji State assistant coach Bert Gilling, a former Minnesota Duluth defenseman and captain in 1998-99. “We really started preparing in earnest for the biggest game of our careers.”

In a regular week where the team concludes a weekend series on a Saturday night, the team takes Sunday off and then practices hard the following three days, before hitting the road for the next series.

The 10 day layoff between the regional final and Thursday‘s Frozen Four semifinal against Miami allowed the Beavers to utilize basically the same schedule, albeit on different days.

There was a bit of a departure from the normal routine on Monday, however. Bemidji State alum Gary Sargent came in to give the Beavers a little pre-practice talk. Sargent, voted one the Beavers 50 greats in 50 years of the program, had an eight year NHL career with the Los Angeles Kings and the Minnesota North Stars before his playing days were cut short by injuries.

“He is such a presence,” Gilling. “It was wonderful having him there. Having him at practice, hanging over the boards and talking to the guys about how proud he was of them, well, you couldn’t help but get a bit of a swelled chest.

“It was very much appreciated by all of us.”

It was a perfect fit for a perfect setting — the Beavers practicing at the Neilson-Reise (City) Arena in preparation for the biggest game in program history.

The ice was taken out of the John Glas Fieldhouse in preparation for the annual Home, Sport and Travel Show — as it is every year — at the end of March.

The scheduling hasn’t been an issue in the past. But this year, with the Beavers’ impressive run through the Midwest Regional, there was a need for ice for a couple more weeks.

City Arena fit the bill just fine

“The Home, Sport and Travel show is a very important event for the community each year,” said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. “For us to practice at the City Arena is a small price to pay.

“The arena also has a great history. The Bemidji community came together to build the arena in the late 1960s and we have no problem skating here now, preparing for the Frozen Four.

“It’s kind of like we all have come full circle. The arena has served the community well for 40 years, holding thousands of practices, games and scrimmages at every level of hockey. Now we’re here to get ready for the biggest game in the history of the BSU hockey program.

“It’s a pretty neat deal.”

Tuesday is a travel day for the Beavers as the team takes off the Frozen Four in Washington, D.C. about 2:30 p.m. The team will hit the ice of the Verizon Center on Wednesday for a full one hour practice in preparation for Thursday’s Frozen Four semifinal game against Miami at 4 p.m.

WCHA: Only Bemidji State Applies

     Tuesday was the deadline for applications to the WCHA for prospective members. There were rumors about schools looking to join the 10-team league, and five did contact commissioner Bruce McLeod with differing levels of interest, BUT ONLY BEMIDJI STATE APPLIED. Bemidji State will make an official presentation to WCHA officials on April 27 in Marco Island, Fla., and then will need a minimum of eight of 10 votes to gain admission. Each conference member receives one vote.,

      Here’s an update on the Frozen Four-bound Beavers:

      A day-long celebration is planned Friday for the groundbreaking of the $44.3-million Bemidji (Minn.) Regional Event Center, the new home for the Bemidji State hockey program in 2010-11.

      The celebrating, however, has been going on since Sunday night for the men’s team. A school with championships in NAIA, and NCAA Division II and III hockey, advanced to its first Division I Frozen Four by winning the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich.

     “You can’t put a price tag on the exposure we’ll get from being in the NCAA tournament,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said Tuesday. “This is hockey country where we are, right in the middle of hockey country, and now people will know where Bemidji is.”

      The unranked Beavers (20-15-1) are the unlikeliest of the Frozen Four entrants, joining Miami of Ohio (another first-time entrant), Vermont and traditional power Boston University. Bemidji State faces Miami (22-12-5) in the April 9 semifinals in Washington, D.C.

      Serratore’s team had been an NCAA automatic qualifier in 2005 and 2006 as College Hockey America playoff champion and took the same route this season, and earned the last seed among 16 entrants. Although Bemidji State wasn’t listed among the top 25 teams in Division I, according to the PairWise Rankings, it knocked off No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 11 Cornell to advance.

     “It’s been pretty surreal since we’ve been back in town,” said senior left winger and goal-scoring leader Tyler Scofield of Prince George, British Columbia. “Everywhere you go, people are congratulating you. It’s starting to hit us, what we’ve done.”

       Bemidji State is the only Minnesota-based team left standing in 2009. The program’s heritage is stocked with trophies, including seven NAIA titles, five in Division II and one in Division III. Serratore was a forward on the 1985-86 Bemidji State team that won the Division III title in Bemidji, under legendary coach Bob Peters. Serratore worked as a Peters assistant for two years before taking over in 2001.

      Peters is still connected to the hockey program and is the commissioner of College Hockey America.

      “Bob stopped by my office [Tuesday] and said that with the Frozen Four and the groundbreaking of the new rink, that there’s never been a better, more exciting time for Bemidji State hockey,” said Serratore.

       Yet, Bemidji State’s hockey future is unsettled. The four-team College Hockey America has one more season of play before dissolving. Members Niagara and Robert Morris have been accepted into Atlantic Hockey for 2010-11, while Alabama-Huntsville has applied to the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

     The Western Collegiate Hockey Association lifted a moratorium on expansion in January and Bemidji State was the only school to apply by Tuesday’s deadline, although four other schools expressed some interest. WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod and North Dakota faculty representative Sue Jeno are to make a visit Friday to the site of the new Bemidji State rink.

      Bemidji State officials will make an official presentation to WCHA athletic directors and coaches at league meetings April 27 in Marco Island, Fla. A vote could be taken then on admission, with each school receiving one vote. Eight affirmative votes from the 10 league schools are needed to be admitted.

     Serratore says the talks with the WCHA are the furthest thing from his mind as the Beavers resume practice today.

     “With us in the Frozen Four, the media is looking at it as David versus Goliath, or Cinderella,” said Serratore, who grew up in Coleraine. “But this program has won so much over the years, 942 victories, that it wasn’t a surprise to us.”