MEN’S HOCKEY: No. 17 Beavers face busy week to close season; Lukas Sillinger named WCHA Rookie of the Week

The Beavers will host a rare Tuesday-Wednesday series against Lake Superior State on March 2-3 before Alabama Huntsville visits the Sanford Center this Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7.

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Bemidji State freshman Lukas Sillinger (20) celebrates with the bench after scoring in the second period against Minnesota State on Saturday at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

A packed schedule awaits the Bemidji State men’s hockey team in its final week of the regular season.

The Beavers will host a rare Tuesday-Wednesday series against Lake Superior State on March 2-3 before Alabama Huntsville visits the Sanford Center this Saturday and Sunday, March 6-7.

The task of playing four games in six days doesn’t sound so daunting for Lukas Sillinger.

“I’m more excited than anything,” the freshman forward said. “Throughout the week, you prepare to play on the weekend here in college. It’s my first taste of some Tuesday-Wednesday game action, so I’m very excited.”

Much is riding on these final four Western Collegiate Hockey Association games.


With 16 points, BSU currently sits in sixth place in the standings but has played fewer league games than any other team due to COVID-19 postponements. The LSSU series was originally scheduled to be played Jan. 29-30 and the UAH games were set for Jan. 15-16.

The Beavers (10-7-3, 5-4-1 WCHA) could finish as high as second in the conference if they win all four remaining games in regulation. They’ll finish no worse than sixth regardless of this week’s results.

The Lakers (13-5-3, 7-4-0 WCHA) are also in contention for the No. 2 seed in the WCHA playoffs. Lake Superior State could finish as high as second if they sweep BSU in regulation, and then beat Ferris State this Saturday.

At minimum, the Beavers hope to lock up home-ice advantage for their WCHA quarterfinal series.

“It’s in our hands,” sophomore defenseman Will Zmolek said. “Obviously it’d be huge, especially with being home this week and not having to travel anywhere. It’s a big advantage when we can sleep in our own beds, get good rest and good food in us. Not traveling in the bus for who knows how long always will help.”

The midweek series features a pair of ranked opponents. Bemidji State moved up two spots to No. 17 in this week’s poll , while LSSU dropped two positions to No. 20.

The Beavers split a pair of 4-3 overtime games with No. 3 Minnesota State last week, capturing a win Saturday in Bemidji following a road loss Thursday.

Sillinger scored a power-play goal and assisted on Ross Armour’s overtime winner Saturday. His two points led all WCHA rookies and earned the Regina, Saskatchewan, native WCHA Rookie of the Week honors.


“This past weekend was playoff hockey,” Sillinger said. “To come out with a split there against Mankato and to have two games go into overtime, that’s just getting us ready for hopefully a long season here ahead.”

As for the rest of the WCHA, three teams -- Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan -- are tied for third place with 20 points entering the final week. Tech travels to Minnesota State (33 pts.), which has clinched the top seed, in a two-game set this weekend. NMU has completed its regular season.

The team everyone is trying to catch, second-place Bowling Green (27 pts.), is idle this week having finished its regular season schedule. Alabama Huntsville (8 pts.) and Ferris State (3 pts.) are locked into the No. 7 and 8 seeds, respectively.

“You can’t game-plan much. You just don’t have the time,” Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore said Monday. “We have to worry about what we’re doing more than what the opposition is doing.”

At a glance

Who: BSU vs. Lake Superior State

When: 6:07 p.m. Tuesday; 4:07 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Sanford Center


Radio: Beaver Radio Network/92.1 FM

Web stream:

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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