MANKATO, Minn. (Verizon Wireless Center) -- Sophomore Jordan George (So., F, Madison, Wis.) recorded two goals and Matt Read (Sr., F, Ilderton, Ontario) added three helpers to power the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team to a 4-1 victory over Minnesota State University, Mankato at the Verizon Wireless Center Saturday.
The win not only ended the Beavers’ three game losing skid and helped BSU salvage a series split, it also snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Mavericks dating back to Dec. 14, 2007.
One night removed from the BSU penalty-kill unit snuffing out all four of the Mavericks’ power-play opportunities, the unit again achieved perfection holding Minnesota State scoreless on six power-play opportunities, which included 70 seconds of 5-on-3 early in the second period, while its power-play unit scored a pair of man advantage markers.
“I was very happy with the way we played,” said BSU Head Coach Tom Serratore. “We out special teamed them and our best players were obviously really good tonight in [Matt] Read and [Jordan] George.”
For the second time in as many games, the Mavericks scored first.
BSU’s Drew Fisher (Jr., F, International Falls, Minn.) came up with the puck following a face-off deep in the zone, but turned it over in front of the Beavers’ net and Michael Dorr made the Beavers pay. He collected the puck and put it past Dan Bakala (Jr., G, Calgary, Alberta) at the 14:06 mark to send the Mavericks into the intermission holding a 1-0 lead.
As the second period got underway, the Beavers were thrown into the fire. BSU spent 4:51 of the first 5:24 of the period on the penalty kill. Bemidji State opened the frame a man short and 51 in, Dan MacIntyre (Sr., D, Fort Frances, Ontario) joined Ryan Adams (Sr., D, Deloraine, Manitoba) in the penalty box supplying the Mavericks with a 1:10 5-on-3 opportunity.
The BSU penalty-kill had the answer.
Just 33 seconds later, Bakala and the penalty-kill unit was again called upon again when Drew Fisher (Jr., F, International Falls, Minn.) was whistled for tripping, but Minnesota State again came up dry.
BSU’s solid defensive effort provided the bench with a spark. At the 8:16 mark, the Beavers, who were on a power-play of their own, cycled the puck to Brad Hunt (Jr., D, Ridge Meadows, British Columbia). Hunt fired a rocket though traffic from the point and the puck found the back of the net to tie the game 1-1. Read and George were credited with assists on Hunt’s first goal first since Jan. 22, 2011--a streak spanning 40 games.
Just 1:26 later, Read picked up a loose puck, skated it deep into the zone and found linemate George in front of the net with a nifty pass and the sophomore tapped in his second goal of the series. The goal gave Bemidji State its first lead of the two-game set, 2-1, with 20 minutes to play.
BSU skated its power-play unit for the first 1:38 of the third period and capitalized on a man advantage opportunity and again it was Read that served as the playmaker. With just seconds left in the penalty, the team’s captain corralled a blocked shot, skated around a Maverick and fired a shot on net that was redirected in front of the MSU goaltender by George.
George’s second marker of the evening and 11th of the season, put the Beavers up 3-1 with 10:18 to play.
Ian Lowe (Sr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba) put the game on ice with an unassisted goal at the 17:09 mark of the third. The senior gathered a loose puck, skated alone down the slot and roofed his ninth goal of the season.
Holding MSU scoreless on six power-play opportunities, the Beavers finished the series a perfect 10-of-10 on the penalty-kill. Conversely, a night after misfiring on both of its man advantage chances, BSU made good on 2-of-4 tonight.
Bakala was the game’s unsung hero posting his second consecutive 40-plus-save performance, while backstopping the flawless penalty-kill. He allowed just one goal in the 60-minute win, evening his record to 9-9-1 on the season.
With the victory, the Beavers increase their lead over the Mavericks in the all-time series to 45-36-13, collecting just its sixth win versus MSU since the teams made the jump to the NCAA Division I level (16-6-2).
Bemidji State, now 10-14-2 overall and 6-12-2 in league play, completes its current four-game road swing next weekend (Feb. 11-12) with a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for its first WCHA meeting versus Michigan Tech. The series gets underway Friday at 6:07 p.m. at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich. The Beavers and Huskies wrap up the series Saturday with a 4:07 p.m. matinee.