Bemidji, MN – On Friday, the BSU Beavers suffered through what was described by coach Serratore as a “self-inflicted” breakdown in the third period leading to an unlikely four-goal comeback by SCSU in an eventual 4-4 overtime tie. In the rematch on Saturday, the Beavers got a bit of redemption as they forged a third period two-goal rally to earn a 2-2 overtime tie. The bottom line was two very entertaining games and depending on the viewpoint a symbolic win each night after the comebacks for each teams fan base. For an early season non-conference contest, both teams coaches surely felt they gained some valuable game experience and completed the weekend without a loss on their record.
Oddly, both games were book-ended by a scoreless first period and overtime and six unanswered comeback goals scored in the third period. The Saturday rematch started much like Friday’s game with high energy, a lot of the play accentuated by turnovers, play between the blue lines and the majority of the shots from the perimeter. There were a couple of key opportunities for Easton Brodzinski and Sam Hentges of the Huskies and Alex Adams of BSU but goaltenders Hrenak and Johnson held firm in the scoreless first period. It wasn’t that the teams weren’t shooting as there were a combined 41 shot attempts and the Huskies edging the Beavers 10-9 in shots on goal.
Bemidji outshot the Huskies in period two and had one shot off the post and did have the better of the grade “A” chances with 8 shots in the slot area. However, it was the Huskies that made their shots count with two goals in the second half of the period. Nick Poehling (J Poehling) gave SCSU the lead with an outstanding individual effort at 16:10. Poehling won a battle for the puck along the back wall and finding the BSU defenders flat-footed gave him free reign to carry the puck back to the blue line and then curl high in the slot. Poehling unloaded a slap shot from the top of the circles that beat Hank Johnson for a 1-0 SCSU lead. The Huskies cashed in again three minutes later on their only man-advantage of the game. Easton Brodzinski (Hentges | Fitzgerald) scored his first goal of the season at 19:13. Fitzgerald threaded a pass to Hentges stationed to the left of the goal and he kicked the pass off his skate and steered it to Brodzinski who was parked in the right crease for an easy tap-in. The Huskies suddenly found themselves in control of the game – or so it seemed with a 2-0 lead by periods end. Bemidji outshot the Huskies 20-14 in the period.
Period three began to lean in the favor of the Beavers who were intent on attacking the SCSU goal while the Huskies appeared to be satisfied to defend the two-goal lead. The shot chart certainly confirmed this with Bemidji outshooting SCSU 10-6 in the period and the Huskies with only one shot on goal in the slot. The Beavers started their comeback with a goal by sophomore Owen Sillinger at 5:02. But, it was fellow sophomore Nick Cardelli who did all the work. Cardelli controlled the puck off the right sidewall, weaved around first-year forward Thomas Rocco and slid the puck behind the Huskies Nick Perbix who was stretched out on the ice anticipating a shot. Sillinger had a wide open net and pushed it past Hrenak to narrow the SCSU lead to 2-1. The Beavers then completed their comeback at 14:24 with a goal by first-year Bemidji native Nick Leitner. Senior Hampus Sjodahl curled off the right wall toward the blueline and left the puck for Leitner who raced in along the right wall and fired a wrist shot from outside the right dot that dribbled through Hrenak’s pads. In an aggressive period by BSU they attempted 19 shots and placed 10 on goal.
The overtime session had the Huskies defending well, steering the Beavers to the perimeter with the only grade “A” opportunity a shot by the Beavers Charlie Combs from the high slot. The Huskies had two bonafide opportunities late in the session with a shot by Brendan Bushy with 40 seconds remaining off the blocker of Johnson and a shot by Micah Miller from the right of the goal that deflected in the congestion and nearly found it’s way under Johnson with mere seconds left. The two teams traded two shots on goal in the session in the 2-2 final.
Bemidji outshot the Huskies 41 to 32 for the game while attempting 80 shots to the Huskies 63. BSU’s Henry Johnson turned aside 30 of 32 shots while Hrenak stopped 39 of 41. The Huskies converted their only power play opportunity while BSU was 0 for 1. For the second straight game the Huskies were bested in the faceoff circle 30-22. Only Hentges was on the positive side winning 6 of 10.
Bemidji coach Tom Serratore was obviously pleased with the result Saturday. “We responded – we were down 2-0 going into the third period to a pretty darn good team. When you factor in what happened last night and we lose our best player besides (Brendan Harris) our guys obviously could have wilted and they didn’t. We stuck with it and we got some timely goals and it was quite an entertaining game . I was proud of the effort and thought the guys showed a gutty performance.”
The Huskies have a bye week before returning to action hosting Northeastern University in a non-conference series at the Herb Broks National Hockey Center on October 25 and 26. Bemidji State also has a bye week before a road trip to Grand Forks for a non-conference series with North Dakota.
Stars of the Game: #1 Nick Leitner (BSU) #2 Owen Sillinger (BSU) #3 Easton Brodzinski (SCSU)