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MEN'S HOCKEY: Bemidji State looks to snap four-game winless streak against Tech

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BEMIDJI -- Tom Serratore has seen the numbers but he knows the truth — Michigan Tech can score.

The Huskies (6-8-2, 4-3-1 WCHA) have struggled somewhat offensively this season, scoring just 33 goals in 16 games. That’s ninth out of ten teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (only Alabama-Huntsville’s 13 goals in 14 games is worse).

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But that’s not necessarily indicative of the Huskies’ talent level.

“I don’t care what their offense looks like now,” said Bemidji State head coach Serratore.”I know they have offense. We know their personnel. They’re a good team. They have good forwards up and down the lineup.

“Just because there’s a little lull, they have a capability to put up a lot of goals and they’re very good in their building.”

The Beavers (5-8-3, 5-4-1 WCHA) make the trek to Houghton, Mich., this weekend (6:07 p.m. today and Saturday) with views toward keeping Tech’s scoring numbers down — at least for the time being.

Currently sophomore forward Alex Petan leads the Huskies with 14 points (8g, 6a) while Tanner Kero is the only other Tech player with double-digit points (5g, 6a).

But as evidenced by last season’s numbers, the Huskies have players who can light the lamp. Four players had double-digit goals while 11 were double-digit scorers.

“I really like their team,” Serratore said. “Mankato and Tech definitely have most dangerous forwards, and most offense returning in the WCHA this season. And (Tech is) very well as of late. They took five points in Alaska the last two weekends, which says a lot about their team, because that’s a tough place to play.”

The Huskies traveled to Alaska for 10 days, spending their Thanksgiving break in the Last Frontier to take on Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska. After losing and tying against the Seawolves they swept the Nanooks in a pair of one-goal games last weekend.

The Beavers hope that they can continue to contain the Huskies’ forwards, especially since their defense has also been struggling as of late.

“It might be a weekend for us to get some confidence on the back end and hold them to one or two goals, but they have some scorers on their team, that’s for sure,” BSU defenseman Graeme McCormack said. “It won’t be easy to do.”

Although scoring has gotten easier for the Beavers this season — they’ve already scored 48 goals in 16 games — keeping opponents out of the net hasn’t. They’ve given up 51 goals this season — 3.19 per game — and are 43rd nationally and ninth in the conference.

“We’ve got to be better in our own end,” Serratore said. “Maybe a backchecking aspect, coming back thru the middle of the rink needs to be better. There’s no question we have to be better on point coverage because a lot of shots are getting through. We just have to be better in our end.”

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
(218) 333-9772
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