BEMIDJI, Minn. -- (John S. Glas Fieldhouse) -- Dan Bakala (So., G, Calgary, Alberta) turned away 20 shots and Ian Lowe (Jr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba) scored the first game-winning goal of his collegiate career Friday as the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team opened the 2009-10 season with a 3-1 victory over the United State Air Force Academy at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse.
In a continuation of a series that has traditionally been all Bemidji State, the Beavers rebounded from a rare pair of road losses a the hands of the Falcons a year ago, with a commanding performance versus Air Force tonight. The Beavers held a 22-10 advantage in shots on goal through two periods and a 28-21 edge in the game as BSU improved to 24-8-2 all-time versus the Falcons and 15-1-2 versus USAFA at the Glas.
BSU dominated play, especially early, winning battles in the corners, earning face off victories and beating USAFA to loose pucks. Senior captain Chris McKelvie (New Brighton, Minn.) was the first to see the fruits of that steady hustle when he opened the scoring midway through the first period, one-timing a pass from Jamie MacQueen (So., F, St. Thomas, Ontario) into the back of the net. Linemate Tyler Lehrke (Sr., F, Park Rapids, Minn) was credited with his first assist of the season after starting the play with a pass out of a scrum on the boards.
Taking a 1-0 lead into the second period, the Beavers would stretch their lead to 2-0 a the 9:47 mark of the frame when newcomer Jordan George (Fr., F, Verona, Wis.) found Lowe streaking down the slot for a one-timer over the left shoulder of the Air Force goaltender Andrew Volkening. Matt Read (Jr., G, Ilderton, Ontario), BSU’s leading-scorer in 2008-09, extended his scoring streak to seven games with an assist on the play.
Ryan Cramer (Jr., F, International Falls, Minn.) put the Beavers up 3-0 with just over five minutes to play netting his first goal since Feb. 15, 2009 to close out the BSU scoring effort.
Eric Artman would snap a wrister shot from between the circles past Bakala to get the Falcons on the board with 1:49 to play. The goal would spoil Bakala’s run at a shutout, but it was too little, too late for Air Force as the Beavers protected their home ice and sent the electric following of 2,148 in attendance home with smiles on their faces and a win in their pocket.
The subplot of the Beavers-Falcons series is the sibling rivalry of the teams’ head coaches. Younger brother Tom Serratore got the best of his older brother Frank, a 1982 graduate of Bemidji State and former goaltender for the Beavers, for the 19th time in 24 career meetings (19-3-1) and for the first time since USAFA left College Hockey America for Atlantic Hockey following the 2006-07 campaign.
The 1-0-0 Beavers and the 0-1-0 Falcons will be back at it tomorrow when they square off in the series finale. The non-conference match up is set to begin at 7:05 p.m. at the John S. Glas Fieldhouse.