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MEN’S HOCKEY: New contributors emerging for Beavers after winter break

No one has broken the mold more than freshman forward Alexander Lundman, a native of Norrköping, Sweden.

011221.S.BP.BSUMHKY Alexander Lundman.jpg
Bemidji State freshman Alexander Lundman (21) fights for the puck in the second period against Lake Superior State on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – The winter pause paid dividends for Bemidji State men’s hockey on and off the ice, as the Beavers were able to rest their bodies and recover mentally before gearing up for the second half of the season.

It has also enabled certain players to emerge as BSU has returned from the break, with previously unforeseen contributors entering the lineup.

No one has broken the mold more than freshman forward Alexander Lundman, a native of Norrköping, Sweden. After barely playing in the first half, he was listed as the second-line right winger last weekend against Lake Superior State. He even started Saturday’s game.

“These guys, they got a half a year under their belt (now),” head coach Tom Serratore said. “So they know what to expect more, and they know what we expect out of them. And they understand this level is not easy.”

Lundman spent plenty of time adjusting to the college game, but he’s starting to feel more comfortable during his second semester in the States.

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“It's a big, big change,” Lundman said. “It's been hard, but it feels like it's getting better and better. (I'm) adapting to the American way to play. Smaller rink and faster pace and all that.”

Despite his meteoric rise up the depth chart, Lundman knows he still has much to learn. Mastery of the American game is still a ways away, but the progress he’s already made gives him confidence he can continue to get closer.

“It changes all the time,” Lundman said. “So I'm trying just to become better and better in the (style) of playing here. But it feels like it's a big difference from the beginning of the season and now. But I think it's a long way to go still to become as good as I can be here.”

Another player who has recently cracked the lineup is forward Carter Jones. The junior has been a contributor for Bemidji State in past years, playing 30 games in the 2019-20 season and 24 games in 2020-21, but he has struggled to find the ice this year.

He returned against Lake State last Saturday after being listed as the extra skater, playing for the second time in 2021-22. Perhaps more than any other player on the BSU roster, he understands the importance of sticking with the grind.

“It just feels good to get back in the lineup and contribute, especially how we played on Friday and Saturday,” Jones said. “I was just trying to keep a routine going throughout the break. Just staying in shape and being ready for when my opportunity comes.”

The Beavers’ next challenge will be a visit to Bowling Green to face a physical Falcons squad – and their oddly shaped home rink. It’s something that Serratore can only hope freshmen like Lundman are truly prepared for.

“It's like the Indy 500,” Serratore said. “The games in Bowling Green, they're at a different level. Intensity level, speed, craziness, chaoticness, whatever you want to call it. It's a different type of game. And I tried to explain that to our freshmen this week.

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“There's 10 feet from the end wall to the goal line. They got lively end walls. They got egg-shaped corners. Things really happen quick. There's nowhere to hide in that rink, that's for sure.”

BSU (12-10, 10-4 CCHA) will look to continue its winning streak against BGSU at 6:07 on Friday, Jan. 14, and Saturday, Jan. 15, in Bowling Green, Ohio.

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