Beavers fall short in WCHA quarterfinal, Spare no dramatics

March 03, 20181st2nd3rdFinal
Michigan Tech2035
Bemidji State0134
Scoring Summary
100:41MTUMitch Reinke (Joel L'Esperance , Jake Lucchini)
104:13MTUJake Lucchini (Joel L'Esperance )
211:03BSUFitzgerald, Gerry (Whitecloud, Zach , Brady, Adam)
313:01MTUJustin Misiak (Mark Auk , Mitch Reinke)
315:16MTUJoel L'Esperance (Jake Lucchini , Dane Birks)
317:48BSUDickman, Jay (Fitzgerald, Gerry , Whitecloud, Zach)
318:32MTUMark Auk (Dylan Steman )
318:47BSUBaudry, Justin (Fitzgerald, Leo )
319:04BSUCombs, Charlie (Brady, Adam , Whitecloud, Zach)
Goaltender SummaryMinGAENSv
MTUDevin Kero60:004033
BSUBitzer, Michael56:554020
Statistical ComparisonMTUBSU
Shots on Goal2537
Power Plays1-21-5
Beavers fall short in WCHA quarterfinal, Spare no dramatics
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Beavers fall short in WCHA quarterfinal, Spare no dramatics

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – Bemidji State scored three extra attacker goals in the final 88 seconds of play, but ran out of time Saturday, dropping game two of its WCHA Playoff best-of-three series to Michigan Tech, 5-4.

The Huskies used the game to punch their ticket to the semifinal round with an opponent and location to be determined. The top seed, Minnesota State University, Mankato and the third-seeded Bowling Green State University also used sweeps to advance to the semifinal round, while the series between the No. 2 seed, Northern Michigan University and No. 7 University Alabama-Huntsville is tied, 1-1.

Owning a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, it took Michigan Tech just 41 seconds to apply significant pressure to the hosting Beavers. Mitch Reinke cleaned up a loose puck and slid a shot through traffic to beat Michael Bitzer and put the Huskies up 1-0. BSU caught a break at the 4:01 mark when an MTU player was whistled for hooking, but just 12 seconds later; Jake Lucchini took a pass from Joel L’Esperance and finished the rush with his 16th goal of the season.

The Beavers used three power-play opportunities to generate momentum, control play and cut the Huskies’ lead in half during the second period.

Gerry Fitzgerald found the score sheet at the 11:03 mark of the frame, capping 50 seconds of 5-on-3 play with his seventh goal of the season. Zach Whitecloud, who finished the night with a BSU-best and career-high three points (3a), and Adam Brady were credited with assists on the power-play goal.

Trailing 2-1 midway through the third period, MTU scored a pair of quick goals to put BSU in a desperate position. Justin Misiak posted a power-play goal at the 13:01 mark to spark the rally and Joel L’Esperance gave MTU a 4-1 lead at the 15:16 mark with his ninth goal of the season.

With just over three minutes to play, BSU elected to pull Bitzer for an extra attacker and at the 17:48 mark the tactic paid off. Jay Dickman potted his team-leading and career-high 15th goal of the season from the doorstep to trim the MTU lead to 4-2. After a Michigan Tech empty-net goal at the 18:32 mark, Justin Baudry pulled the puck off the wall and funneled a shot toward the goal that found the back of the net to make it 5-3. Seventeen seconds later Charlie Combs was on the right post to cut the MTU Huskies’ lead to 5-4, but BSU was unable to complete the comeback in the final 54 seconds and saw its season end abruptly.

Bitzer finished the night with 20 saves and four goals allowed. The Beavers’ all-time saves leader completed his collegiate career with 3,165 stops, a BSU-best 21 shutouts and his 65 wins stands second on BSU’s wins list.

BSU finished the season 16-14-8 overall and finished the 2017-18 WCHA season fourth with a record of 13-9-6-4 in regular-season league play.

For more information on the Bemidji State men’s hockey program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers or @BSUMHockey), like them on Facebook ( or sign up for the TXTUpdates from text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of

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 (NSIC).