MEN'S HOCKEY: Bemidji State dancing for 5th time at Division I level, but program's postseason history goes back even further

The Beavers have made 31 national tournament appearances all-time going back to 1967-68, including 2021. Bemidji State will meet Wisconsin in the East Regional semifinals at noon on Friday, March 26.

030621.S.BP.BSUMHKY Zach Driscoll.jpg
Bemidji State goalie Zach Driscoll (33) stops the puck while junior Tyler Kirkup (27) helps defend the net in the third period against Lake Superior State on March 3, 2021 at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

When the Bemidji State men’s hockey team faces off against Wisconsin on Friday, March 26, the game will mark the program’s fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in its Division I era.

The Beavers have made 31 national tournament appearances all-time going back to 1967-68.

BSU is set to appear in its 18th NCAA Tournament at any level, including 13 appearances at the Division II and III levels over a 16-year period between 1983 and 1998. Bemidji State claimed six national championships during that span, with D-II titles in 1984, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997, as well as a D-III title in 1986. As NAIA members, BSU racked up seven national titles from 1968 to 1980.

In its sixth season after rising to the Division I level in 1999-2000, Bemidji State broke through with its first trip to the NCAA Tournament in college hockey’s highest tier.

The Beavers took home the College Hockey America conference tournament title in 2004-05 and clinched a spot in the Big Dance. They nearly knocked off No. 1 seed and eventual national champion Denver in the first round, falling 4-3 in overtime.


Wisconsin was also BSU’s first-round opponent in 2006, and again the Beavers suffered a defeat to the eventual national champion, losing 4-0.

The 2009 tournament is one no Bemidji State fan will forget.

The Beavers upset top-seeded Notre Dame 5-1 and punched their tickets to the Frozen Four with a 4-1 victory over Cornell. Miami got the better of BSU in the national semifinals in a 4-1 win.

In 2010, Bemidji State was upset by Niagara in the CHA semifinals, but still managed to earn its first ever at-large NCAA bid. Playing with its highest seed to date, No. 2 seed BSU dropped a 5-1 decision to Michigan in the first round.

Across four appearances, the Beavers have gone 2-4 all-time in NCAA D-I Tournament play. Including this season, they’ve carried the No. 4 seed in their regional four times, and the No. 2 seed once in 2010.

The 2021 tournament marks the second time Bemidji State has received an at-large bid to the tournament, along with 2010. BSU earned automatic bids as College Hockey America tournament champions in 2005, 2006 and 2009.

The Beavers are in the NCAA field for the first time as WCHA members this season. They were members of College Hockey America from 1999 to 2010, and will join the new CCHA in time for the upcoming 2021-22 season.

BSU’s NCAA Division I Tournament history

2005 Northeast Regional (at Amherst, Mass.) — Denver, L, 4-3 (OT)


2006 Midwest Regional (at Green Bay, Wis.) — Wisconsin, L, 4-0

2009 Midwest Regional (at Grand Rapids, Mich.) — Notre Dame, W, 5-1

Championship Game — Cornell, W, 4-1

Frozen Four (at Washington, D.C.) — Miami, L, 4-1

2010 Midwest Regional (at Fort Wayne, Ind.) — Michigan, L, 5-1

2021 NCAA Division I Tournament


Fargo, N.D. (Friday, March 26-Saturday, March 27)

1. North Dakota (21-5-1) vs. 4. American International (15-3-0), 8:30 p.m. Friday (ESPN3)


2. Michigan (15-10-1) vs. 3. Minnesota Duluth (14-10-2), 3 p.m. Friday (ESPNU)

Saturday's championship, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)


Bridgeport, Conn. (Friday, March 26-Saturday, March 27)

1. Wisconsin (20-9-1) vs. 4. Bemidji State (15-9-3), noon Friday (ESPN2)

2. UMass (16-5-4) vs. 3. Lake Superior State (19-6-3), 5:30 p.m. Friday (ESPNU)

Saturday's championship, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)



Albany, N.Y. (Saturday, March 27-Sunday, March 28)

1. Boston College (17-5-1) vs. 4. Notre Dame (14-13-2), noon Saturday (ESPNEWS)

2. St. Cloud State (17-10-0) vs. 3. Boston University (10-4-1), 5:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPNEWS)

Sunday's championship, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Loveland, Colo. (Saturday, March 27-Sunday, March 28)

1. Minnesota (23-6-0) vs. 4. Nebraska Omaha (14-10-1), 9 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU)

2. MSU-Mankato (20-4-1) vs. 3. Quinnipiac (17-7-4), 4 p.m. Saturday (ESPN3)


Sunday's championship, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Austin Monteith is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of Bloomington, Ill., he is a 2015 graduate of Butler University. Follow him on Twitter at @amonteith92. Contact the Pioneer sports department at
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