BSU drops No. 12 UNO in first game of best-of-three playoff series
Friday, March 11, 2011
BSU drops No. 12 UNO in first game of best-of-three playoff series
OMAHA, Neb. (Quest Center Omaha) -- Locked in a 2-2 tie late Friday, the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team got a game-winning goal from Jamie MacQueen (Jr., F, St. Thomas, Ontario) with 1:53 to play to down No. 12 University of Nebraska Omaha 4-2 in the first game of a best-of-three WCHA playoff series at Quest Center in Omaha, Neb.

Out shot 48-17 in the game, the Beavers leaned heavily on goaltender Dan Bakala (Jr., Calgary, Alberta) and just as he has so often down the stretch, the junior single-handedly kept BSU in the game for the final 30 minutes of play turning away a career-high 46 shots.

Offensively, the Beavers made the best of their opportunities netting four even-strength goals.

During a first period which set the stage for the night, the goaltenders shared the spotlight. Nebraska Omaha set the tempo early building a 15-8 advantage in shots on goal, but it was the Beavers that may have had the best scoring opportunity.  Matt Read (Sr., F, Ilderton, Ontario) took a pass through the neutral zone into BSU’s offensive zone on stride and dished the puck across the top of the crease to Ian Lowe (Sr., F, Bradwardine, Manitoba). The Beavers looked to have UNO goaltender John Falkner beat, but the sophomore recovered to snare Lowe’s one-timer with his glove to keep the Beavers off the scoreboard.

On the other end of the ice the Mavericks kept Bakala occupied.  Coming off a career-best 44-save effort last Saturday night, Bakala turned away 15 shots during the first 20 minutes of play to hold the hosts scoreless and send the teams to the locker rooms locked in a 0-0 tie at the end of the first.

The Beavers took the first lead of the game at the 4:53 mark of the second on an unassisted goal by sophomore Jordan George (F, Madison, Wis.).  The Beavers’ leading scorer picked up a loose puck at the top of the right circle cut hard toward the net and lifted a backhand over the left shoulder of Falkner for his 16th goal of the season.

Lowe added to the BSU lead at the 10:50 mark.  The senior picked off a UNO pass in the neutral zone, skated around a Maverick defender and potted his 12th goal of the season on a wrister from the slot.  

Although the scoreboard didn’t show it, Nebraska Omaha again out played the Beavers for large stretches of the second period.  Aided by three penalties called on MacQueen, Mavericks utilized the man advantage to control play and pepper Bakala with 21 shots on net in the frame, while Bemidji State managed just six.

After killing the first two UNO power-play opportunities, the Beavers put the Mavericks back on the man advantage at the 13:21 mark of the second. UNO very nearly got on the scoreboard when a shot from the point was tipped in front of the net.  The puck rattled off Bakala's pads and dribbled into the crease before BSU blueliner Ryan Adams (Sr., Deloraine, Manitoba) swiped the puck off the front of the post to preserve the two-goal lead.  But before the power-play was over, Ryan Walters scored to draw the hosts to within one, 2-1.

Seven minutes into the third period, the hard-luck Mavericks got their first break of the evening.  Terry Broadhurst fired a shot on goal that was deflected by Bakala, but would squirt through the netminder’s legs and across the goal line off the his heel to knot the game at 2-2.

The game remained tied into the final two minutes of regulation, when MacQueen took a pass from Ryan Cramer (Sr., F, International Falls, Minn.) and scored to put the Beavers back on top.  BSU’s lead would swell to two goals just 21 seconds later as Read potted his team-leading 19th goal of the season from the right face-off circle past the stunned Mavericks to put the game on ice.  

Bakala earned the win allowing two goals on a season-high 48 UNO shots.  He improved to 12-12-4 in the season. His counterpart, Falkner, conceded four goals and made 13 saves in the loss.  He falls to 20-13-2.

With just one power-play opportunity on the night, BSU was unable to convert, while its penalty-kill unit snuffed out four of the Mavericks’ five power-play chances.

Bemidji State evens the all-time series with UNO to 5-5-1 and is unbeaten versus the Mavericks in the last five meetings between the teams (4-0-1).  The Beavers improve to 3-5-1 in Omaha, Neb. all-time.

The best-of-three playoff series continues tomorrow as BSU (13-17-5; 8-15-5 WCHA) looks to solidify its debut in the 2011 Red Baron Final Five with a victory tomorrow.  Game two of the series is scheduled to get underway at 7:07 p.m. and if needed, the opening face-off of game three will take place at 7:07 p.m. Sunday from Quest Center Omaha.