|March 11, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
|1||03:16||BSU||Fitzgerald, Gerry (Fitzgerald, Leo , Whitecloud, Zach)|
|2||01:35||BGSU||DUFOUR, Kevin (FRIEDMAN, Mark , SPEZIA, Tyler)|
|3||03:49||BGSU||POHLKAMP, Matt (McLAIN, Mitch , BAYLIS, Stephen)|
|Shots on Goal||32||26|
BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – Bemidji State University used a Gerry Fitzgerald goal to take a 1-0 lead just minutes into game two if its Western Collegiate Hockey Association semifinal series, but Bowling Green State University consistently chipped away at that lead, getting the equalizer in the second period and the go ahead goal early in the third. The Falcons and would not look back, completing the series sweep with a 2-1 victory Saturday.
The Beavers finish the 2016-17 campaign with an overall record of 22-16-3, to mark the first time BSU has posted at least 22 wins since the 2009-10 season. Bemidji State also recorded a 20-6-3 record in WCHA play, setting a program record for wins as a member of the league (since 2010-11), won its 22nd conference title and its first as a member of the WCHA, the MacNaughton Cup and treated its dedicated fans to a Sanford Center record 13 home wins.
The series loss marks the second consecutive season the Falcons have ended BSU’s season prematurely after a 2-1 opening round series win a year ago.
Tonight, it took the Beavers more than three minutes to register their first shot on goal, but Gerry Fitzgerald made it count. His brother, Leo tipped a Zach Whitecloud pass into the zone, Gerry skated it in and found the back of the net from the top of the slot.
Bemidji State killed a Falcon power play late to preserve its 1-0 lead through the first 20 minutes of play.
The Beavers’ one-goal lead lasted just 1:35 into second period as Kevin Dufour netted his fourth goal of the weekend. Later in the period, BSU got the opportunity it was seeking, an extended 4-on-3 power-play chance. However, Bowling Green was up to the task, keeping BSU at bay to firmly gram momentum.
Facing elimination, BSU’s urgency was heightened as it opened the third period tied 1-1.
Bowling Green would increase the pressure 3:49 into the final period, when Matt Pohlkamp posted an even strength goal on a shot from the top of the zone that found its way past BSU goaltender Michael Bitzer and into the back of the net.
The Beavers pressed as time wound down getting a power-play chance midway through the third and pulling Bitzer for the last 1:14. While BSU generated some chances late, the BGSU goaltender, Chris Nell, stood tall and posted a 2-1 series-clinching victory.
The BSU penalty kill was stingy, just as it has been all season, holding the Falcons scoreless on four chances, while its power play was 0-for-3.
BSU’s junior goaltender finished the night stopping 30-of-32 shots faced, marking his second consecutive game with at last 30 saves. Bitzer finished the season 22-14-3 overall.
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.