Bemidji State falls 4-2; Swept at No. 14 Denver

The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team battled back from an early 1-0 deficit to hold a one-goal lead at the conclusion of the first period, but a pair of rebound goals by No. 14 University of Denver vaulted the Pioneers past BSU, 4-2, Saturday at Magness Arena in Denver, Colo.  

After a 3-1 victory Friday, the win allowed DU to complete the series sweep of the Beavers marking the first time BSU has been swept in a roadseries since Jan. 16-17, 2009 at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

“Tonight was very disappointing,” commented head coach Tom Serratore.  “They are a good hockey team, we all know that, but we had a 2-1 lead and we it get away.”

Denver got the scoring started at the 4:59 mark of the first period.  

With defenseman Dan MacIntyre (Fort Frances, Ontario) in the penalty box for tripping, DU’s David Makowski made the Beavers pay on the Pioneers’ first power-play opportunity of the game.  With assists from Luke Salazar and Drew Shore, Makowski fired a shot from the point that found its way into the back of the net to put DU up 1-0.

But Bemidji State got the spark it needed with just under three minutes left in the first, when Chris Knowlton was called for elbowing.  Serratore pulled goaltender Mathieu Dugas (L’Assomption, Quebec) for an extra attacker and the move paid off.  At the 17:47 mark Sam Rendle (Fr., D, Grand Rapids, Minn.) took a centering pass from Shea Walters (Jr., F, Hibbing, Minn.) and scored an extra attacker goal from the slot.  Senior captain and BSU’s leading scorer Matt Read (Ilderton, Ontario) was also credited with an assist on the play.

Although the Beavers evened the score at 1-1, the penalty on Knowlton set BSU up for a power-play with 2:13 left in the frame.  It would take just 41 seconds for the Beavers to grab their first lead of the evening.  On a tremendous display of passing and patience, Bemidji Stategot a pass from Emil Billberg (Sr., F, Stockholm, Sweden) out of the corner that was centered by Jordan George (So., F, Madison, Wis.) and Ian Lowe (Sr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba) connected one-timer from the top of the crease to account for a BSU power-play goal.

In a second period that saw each team go on the man advantage on two occasions, the only goal of the frame came with 1:23 remaining and both teams at full strength.  DU’s Paul Phillips fired a shot on goal that was initially turned away by Dugas, but the BSU goaltender lost the puckand the rebound was flipped over his shoulder for Nick Shore’s first goal of the season.

The tally knotted the score at 2-2 setting up a third period, 20-minute chase for the win.

Anthony Maiani put the Pioneers up 3-2 at the 7:10 mark of the third corralling a rebound off the shot of Nick Shore and putting it past Dugas.  

The goal would stand as the game winner.

With 1:18 left in the game, Bemidji State again pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker.  The Beavers got a couple good looks at the net, but in an effort to clear the puck out of the zone, DU’s Jason Zucker fired the puck the length of the ice and buried an empty-net goal to solidify the 4-2 win and complete the series sweep.

With the win, Denver extends its lead in the series to 7-0-0 and is a perfect 6-0-0 when hosting the Beavers.

Bemidji State (2-7-1; 2-7-1 WCHA) returns home to open the nonconferenceportion of its schedule hosting Northern Michigan University (4-6-2; 4-4-1 CCHA) for a two-game set Nov. 26-27.  The series is scheduled to begin Friday with a 7:37 p.m. opening face-off at the Bemidji Regional Event Center and will conclude with a 7:07 p.m. affair Saturday.

Bemidji State University, BSU hockey and the Bemidji Regional Event Center have announced several ticket specials for next weekend’s series with the Wildcats.  Fans will receive a $5 discount off single-game ticket prices when presenting a non-perishable food item at the BREC boxoffice a the time of purchase.  

Food collected during the series will be donated to the Bemidji Community Food Shelf, which provides emergency food to Beltrami County families and/or individuals who have short term, emergency food needs.

In addition, high school or college students that present a school/university ID at the time of  purchase will get $5 tickets to sitin the Bemidji State student section all weekend.

Finally, Saturday, Nov. 27 is Bemidji Youth Hockey Night at the BREC.  Area youth hockey players wearing their team jerseys can purchase single-game tickets for just $12.  Youth hockey players are also invitedto bring their skates to “Skate with the Beavers” following the game.