|January 27, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
|St. Cloud State||1||1||0||2|
|1||06:01||SCSU||Jacob Benson (Blake Winiecki , Jack Ahcan)|
|2||07:16||SCSU||Blake Winiecki (Nick Poehling , Mikey Eyssimont)|
|2||17:35||BSU||Whitecloud, Zach (Fitzgerald, Leo , Fitzgerald, Myles)|
|Shots on Goal||21||27|
SAINT PAUL, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center Center) – As it is so often in the game of collegiate hockey, the team that catches the first break grabs momentum and rides it to victory. Today St. Cloud State University scored on its first power-play of the afternoon and Bemidji State University was never able to get its offensive game on track, as it dropped the first semifinal of the 2017 North Star College Cup, 2-1, at Xcel Energy Center.
The Bemidji State penalty-kill unit, which has been the Beavers’ strength all season, faltered early allowing the Huskies to go up 1-0 just over six minutes into play. Charlie O’Connor was whistled for hooking at the 5:12 mark of the first period. Forty-nine seconds later, Jacob Benson found the back of the net.
The 1-0 lead would hold through the end of the period and more than 12 minutes into the second period, but midway through the frame, the Huskies pinned BSU deep in their zone and would double their lead. Blake Winiecki slid the puck across the front of the crease and just inside the far post to put SCSU up 2-0 at the 7:16 mark.
Bemidji State out shot SCSU 10-2 in the second period, aided by a pair of power-play opportunities. While BSU was unable to convert on either, Zach Whitecloud got the Beavers on the board at the 17:35 mark of the second period. The freshman netted his second goal of the season on a wrister from the top of the crease on passes from Leo Fitzgerald and Myles Fitzgerald.
BSU applied significant pressure through the remainder of the period, but Whitecloud’s goal was the extent of the BSU offense.
The Beavers gave the Huskies a pair of power-play chances during the third period, which included one late to offset the extra attacker on the ice after pulling Michael Bitzer, but the score would remain 2-1 in favor of SCSU to the final horn.
Bitzer finished the afternoon with 19 saves on 21 shots faced. He moves to 16-9-3 on the season.
BSU, now 16-10-3 overall will face the loser of the second semifinal, between the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Duluth, in the consolation game at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Minn.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.