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MEN'S HOCKEY: Beavers see big improvement on power play

BSU defenseman Matt Prapavessis (7) takes a shot from the point during a recent series against Northern Michigan. Prapavessis had four points — including two power play goals — last weekend against Lake Superior State. The BSU power play in general improved last week, scoring four goals in the series after going 0-for-9 against Northern Michigan. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI -- BSU's struggling power play finally came back to life.

The Beavers, who were held scoreless in nine tries on the man advantage in their Jan. 3-4 series against Northern Michigan, found a big fix last weekend against Lake Superior State.

BSU scored four times in 11 chances against the Lakers, with Brendan Harms and Matt Prapavessis scoring two goals apiece. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Beavers swept the Lakers with 5-2 and 3-1 victories.

'We just switched things up a little bit," said Harms, a freshman forward who scored his first goal since Nov. 29 against Miami. "Coming into the first weekend (against Northern Michigan) we switched some personnel a little bit and it didn't really work out. We went oh-fer.

"But we tried some different things (against Lake State) and it worked pretty well. Hopefully that can keep going and we can keep getting power play goals."

The BSU power play that was so good earlier in the season has struggled as of late. The Beavers (7-11-6) hadn't scored more than once on the power play since said Miami series, despite getting more than enough opportunities on the man-advantage. During their mid-December series against Alaska the Beavers scored just once in 14 tries -- including an 0-for-8 mark in a 5-1 loss to the Nanooks.

"It's nice to see the power play get back on track," BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. "We really struggled the weekend before against Northern Michigan."

Part of BSU's power-play resurgence, Serratore said, was getting lucky. But he also noted the defensemen were getting shots through from the point better than they had in recent games -- no easy task against a defensive-minded team like Lake Superior State.

"We were opportunistic," Serratore said. "It wasn't like there was great puck movement, and there were none of those ESPN-Sportscenter-highlight type goals.

"Wwe got pucks to the net, we were tenacious on rebounds, and we were a little puck lucky. But we got some shots through, and that's a difficult thing to do."

Also key for the Beavers? Getting the defenseman more involved in the power play.

Prapavessis hadn't had a point on the power play since the Alaska series. He had three against the Lakers.

Freshman Ruslan Pedan -- also so consistent on the man advantage earlier this season before struggling along with the rest of the BSU power play unit -- also had a pair of power-play assists.

"They're a huge part of our offense this year," BSU goaltender Jesse Wilkins said of BSU's defensmen. "Prap especially had a great weekend... he was lighting it up from the point there. It's good to get some goals from the power play, and some points from our defensemen. We needed it."

The Beavers take on North Dakota this weekend. UND's penalty kill (at 88.8 percent) hasn't been outstanding and gave up three goals in six tries in last weekend's series sweep of Colorado College.

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 and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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