Bemidji State falls 5-1; Drops series at No. 1 North Dakota
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Bemidji State falls 5-1; Drops series at No. 1 North Dakota

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Ralph Engelstad Arena) -- No. 1 University of North Dakota used a four-goal second period to drop the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team, 5-1, Sunday at Ralph Engelstad Arena and completed the Western Collegiate Hockey Association season series sweep.

For the second straight afternoon, the Fighting Sioux potted three power-play goals on five chances as special teams play again proved to be the difference in the game.

After a lackluster series-opener, BSU jumped out to an early lead Sunday.  Sparked by a trio of power-play opportunities in the first, the Beavers drew first blood taking advantage of a Fighting Sioux penalty for the first time in the series.  Brad Hunt (Jr., D, Ridge Meadows, British Columbia) and Matt Read (Sr., F, Ilderton, Ontario) found Jordan George (So., F, Madison, Wis.) in the right face-off circle. George waited, picked his spot and sniped his 15th goal of the season to give the Beavers a 1-0 lead 7:06 into the game.

Bemidji State had a tremendous opportunity to build on its lead late in the period.  With UND’s Andrew MacWilliam already in the penalty box, Radoslav Illo (Fr., F, Bystrica, Slovakia) drew a hooking penalty on Ben Blood to give BSU a 5-on-3 advantage for 21 seconds.  BSU managed two shots on the power-play opportunity, but the best the team could muster was a high slot shot from Hunt that rung off right post. 

Dan Bakala (Jr., G, Calgary, Alberta) stood tall for BSU in during the first 20 minutes turning away nine UND shots to protect the team’s 1-0 lead.

UND played the second as the clear aggressors and by the end of the period had four goals and the lead to show for it. 

Opening the second period on the penalty kill for the first 1:30, the Beavers protected their lead for the remainder of UND’s power-play, but 67 seconds later, BSU was again forced to play a man down when Ian Lowe (Sr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba) was whistled for interference. It took the lethal UND power-play unit just five seconds to even the score at 1-1.  Brad Malone was credited with he goal, while Matt Frattin and Dillon Simpson earned the assists.

Midway through the second, the Fighting Sioux power-play was at it again, this time needing just 1:49 to take their first lead of the game, 2-1. 

The goal came when goaltender Aaron Dell chipped the puck up the ice to Corban Knight on the right side boards.  Knight skated the puck into the zone and found Jake Marto in the high slot and the senior flipped a backhand over Bakala’s glove hand and into the back of the net.

With the Beavers on their heels, UND got even-strength goals from Frattin and Jason Gregoire in the final 4:01 of the second to take a 4-1 lead into the locker room for the second intermission.

UND added a third power-play goal at the 13:20 mark of the final period to bring its lead to 5-1.  Knight started the play from behind the net finding Malone in the left face-off circle.  Malone slid a back door pass across the crease to Evan Trupp who tapped in his 14th goal of the season.

Bakala, who was tagged with the loss after conceding all five of UND’s goals, saw his record fall to 11-11-3.  He made 24 saves in the game.

UND’s Dell turned away 15 shots and allowed just one goal in the win stretching his record to 23-6-2 on the season.

North Dakota’s win marks its 12th consecutive versus the Beavers, while it improves its grip on the all-time series to 21-1-1. 

The Beavers, now 12-16-4 overall and 8-14-4 in WCHA play, return to Sanford Center March 4-5 to host the University of Minnesota in the final series of the 2010-11 regular season.  The WCHA series gets underway at 7:37 p.m. Friday with the opening face-off for Saturday’s season finale set for 7:07 p.m.