When Bemidji State was the #16 seed in the NCAA Tournament last year, no one gave them a chance to beat Notre Dame. Not only did they upset the Irish, they claimed Cornell as an upset victim and advanced to the Frozen Four before bowing out to Miami. Bemidji scored 9 goals and allowed just 2 in their two NCAA Tournament wins. In the regular season, they were middle of the pack (27th) in scoring, and middle of the pack to decent (20th) in scoring defense.
With goalie Matt Dalton, among others, leaving school, it was thought that Bemidji wouldn’t be able to compete. But they beat Air Force 3-1 and 7-3. Two wins against a very good team, done two different ways. On Friday they shut down one of the best offenses in the country, and on Saturday they chased Andrew Volkening, one of the best returning goalies in the nation, from net. Setting aside the nonsense that the CHA is better than Atlantic Hockey (I think I’ve proven myself correct on that matter enough. Air Force, RIT and Mercyhurst would be 3 of the top 4 teams in the CHA without breaking a sweat), Bemidji State appears to be for real, at least for now. With an extremely difficult non-conference schedule (trips to Northern Michigan, Minnesota, and Nebraska-Omaha; home to North Dakota; neutral site games against Miami and Ohio State), the Beavers will have the chance to prove they are the real deal.
For now, they’ll have to hang their hat on the fact that Junior Matt Read is 5th in the nation in scoring.