Bemidji, MN – This was a tale of three periods at the Sanford Center in Bemidji on Friday, October 11. In-state rivals with an abundance of new faces battled for 65 minutes to a 4-4 draw in front of an announced crowd of 3500. Swings in momentum were enormous and in the end the teams were left to try to decide the winner of the series in the rematch on Saturday.
A tactical first period saw a total of 14 shots on goal – 9 by the Huskies and 5 by the Beavers in a period with a lot of north/south hockey and relatively few whistles. The Beavers survived two first period penalties after the midway point of the period as the Huskies found it difficult to get any traction on the man-advantage and the period ended in a 0-0 scoreless tie.
The Beavers came out with some jam in the second period and took control early with some strong puck control in the SCSU zone. A shot on goal from the left circle by Alex Ierullo had the rebound tapped in by Alex Adams for a 1-0 lead 3:09 into the period. Less than two minutes later, sophomore forward Ross Armour made it look easy outskating Nick Perbix to the puck off the left wall and beating Hrenak with a slick stick move at the goal mouth for a 2-0 Beaver advantage. They were able to kill off two consecutive penalties after the midway point of period two before adding another goal at 16:24. This time it was senior Adam Brady beating Hrenak stick-side with a left-handed shot from the right circle for a three-goal Bemidji advantage. In a solid period of play by BSU , they outshot the Huskies 13-10 and carried a 3-0 lead entering the final period of play.
Thing couldn’t have gone worse for the Huskies to start period three as the Beavers tacked on another score a mere 26 seconds into the period. Adam Brady, who had a strong game followed up a shot by Aaron Miller on goal and tapped the puck past Hrenak in a congested goal mouth for what appeared to be an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
But, the Huskies suddenly found their legs and began to win puck battles. Controlling the puck in the Bemidji zone, Nick Perbix threw the puck on goal and Kevin Fitzgerald won the battle for the puck and wristed it past Driscoll for the Huskies first goal of the game at 4:52. However, a checking from behind five minute major to Easton Brodzinski appeared to spell doom for any chance to get back into the game. But, the Huskies turned a negative into a positive with a short-handed goal 12 seconds later by captain Jack Ahcan. Nick Poehling won the DE zone faceoff and then streaked down ice to retrieve a rink length pass from Clark Kuster. Ahcan attacked the zone and Poehling threaded a pass to Ahcan who beat an out of position Driscoll to climb within two goals.
Continuing on the penalty kill and with Hrenak making a few key saves Clark Kuster added another short-handed goal at 13:01. The Huskies cleared the zone and Hentges gained control of the puck and drove the net trying to force the puck past Driscoll. The Puck popped into the air and Kuster who was following the play chopped the puck out of mid air past Driscoll for a 4-3 game. The unlikely comeback continued with the tying goal by Hentges at 15:38. With Beavers on their heels a bit Hentges poked the puck off the stick of Beavers defender Will Zmolek and put a backhand past Driscoll to complete the comeback to tie the game at 4-4 and sending it to overtime. Bemidji outshot the Huskies 13-10 in period three.
“We finally turned on the switch and started winning one on one battles” said Sam Hentges. ” If we start doing that we’ll start scoring goals.”
“You could see it mounting” said coach Serratore “It was one of those situations where it was all self-inflicted. Overall, we played a pretty good game so I don’t want to take anything away from that. But, we all realize we had a 4-0 lead with 17 minutes to go. That game has to be locked down and has to be over.”
The five-minute overtime session had some excitement as well with a scrum in front of the Beavers goal leading to a single roughing minor to Bemidji’s Tommy Muck and minors to both Jack and Nick Poehling placing the Beavers on the power play for the final 25 seconds. The Beavers were awarded a faceoff in the Huskies zone and put the puck in the SCSU net with 18.4 seconds remaining but it was waved off by the officials due to a man in the crease and goaltender interference.
The final result was an epic comeback by the Huskies with four goals, two short-handed in the third period for a 4-4 overtime tie.
Bemidji State outshot the Huskies 33-30 for the game. Zach Driscoll stopped 26 of 30 shots on goal while SCSU’s David Hrenak turned aside 29 of 33. Neither team found success on the power play with SCSU scoreless in four attempts and Bemidji unsuccessful in three. The Huskere outdueled in the face-off circle winning 26 of 61. Owen Sillinger won 15 of 23 to lead all players in the game.
Sam Hentges (1-1-2), Nick Perbix (0-2-2), Clark Kuster (1-1-2) and Nick Poehling 0-2-2) all had a multi-point game for the Huskies.
Stars of the Game: #1 Adam Brady (BSU), #2 Sam Hentges (SCSU), #3 Aaron Miller (BSU)