Mavericks slide past Bemidji State in ovetime, 2-1
Friday, February 4, 2011
Mavericks slide past Bemidji State in ovetime, 2-1

MANKATO, Minn. -- Bemidji State University goaltender Dan Bakala (Jr., Calgary, Alberta) stopped a career-high 41 of 43 shots and Jordan George (So., F, Madison, Wis.) potted his 10th goal of the season to match Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1-1, with just over two minutes to play, but Bemidji, Minn. native Channing Boe netted a blast 2:32 into overtime to give MSU the win, 2-1.

On a night that the Beavers struggled to generate offensive opportunities, defense, goaltending and special teams play gave the team a chance for a victory as the Bemidji State and the Mavericks opened a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) series at Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, Minn.  In addition to Bakala’s career night between the pipes, the BSU penalty-kill unit held MSU scoreless on all four of its power-play opportunities and the Beavers blocked seven shots in front of their goaltender.

The Mavericks dominated play in the first period and were first to light their side of the scoreboard.  

Peppering Bakala with a steady stream of shots during the first 20 minutes, MSU owned a 16-2 advantage in goats on goal and one, at the 13:14 mark, found the back of the net.

A turnover in the Beavers’ offensive zone sparked a four-on-two rush by the hosts resulting in a pass from Tyler Elbrecht to Ben Youds on left post. Youds put a shot on net that trickled through the legs of Bakala for the senior defender’s sixth goal of the season.

The Beavers came out of the first intermission down 1-0, but established a physical presence and to gain momentum the game.  Although the team was held scoreless in the period, BSU recorded several solid scoring chances. 

Boe gave the Beavers their first power-play opportunity of the game at the 7:51 mark.  Despite some nifty passing and several shots on net during the two-minute man advantage, the Beavers came up dry.  On the other end of the ice, Bakala proved to be on his game stopping all 14 of the Mavericks’ 14 shots in the second stanza.

The third period belonged to the BSU penalty-killers. 

With 12:28 left in the game, the Beavers’ blueliner Matt Carlson (Jr., Grand Forks, N.D.) was tagged with a checking from behind penalty along with a game misconduct sending the junior to the locker room early, leaving the BSU defense short-handed for the remainder of the game and setting the Mavericks up with a five-minute power-play.
Already 0-for-2 in the game on the man advantage, the MSU power-play was again held at bay as the BSU penalty-kill unit seldom allowed a shot during the major penalty to stay within a goal. 

Seventy-seven seconds later, the Beavers again found themselves short-handed when Darcy Findlay (Jr., F, Bristol, Quebec) was whistled for boarding.  But the BSU penalty-kill again stood tall giving the Beavers just over four minutes to mount a comeback.

With less than three minutes to go in regulation, Bemidji State got the break it needed.  Senior forward Emil Billberg (Stockholm, Sweden) came up with a loose puck following a collision by a pair of MSU players at the blue line.  The forward skated the puck into the zone and fired a shot off the pad of Maverick netminder Phil Cook.  Unable to collect the puck, Cook gave up the rebound and George was on the doorstep to deposit the backhand into the back of the net with 2:15 left in the game.

BSU followed the goal with a flurry of shots, which included a pair of point-blank opportunities by the team’s top goal scorer Matt Read (Sr., F, Ilderton, Ontario), but Cook was up to the challenge and sent the game to overtime with a handful game-saving stops.

Midway through the extra frame (2:32), deep in the Maverick zone, Boe stepped in front of a BSU attempt to clear the puck and fired a bullet from the left point that snuck past Bakala to steal the game 2-1 and garner two points in the WCHA standings.

The Beavers fall to 2-3-2 in overtime games in 2010-11 and have dropped their last two extra time contests.

Despite dropping their seventh straight to Minnesota State, the Beavers continue to hold a 44-36-13 advantage in an all-time series that dates back to the mid 1970s.  Since both teams made the jump to the major college hockey level, MSU has won 16 of the 23 meetings (16-5-2).

Bemidji State, now 9-14-2 overall and 5-12-2 in league play, looks to salvage a series split with Minnesota State and leave Mankato, Minn. with two points in the WCHA standings.  The teams will close out the WCHA series with a 7:07 p.m. match up tomorrow at the Verizon Wireless Center.