Leo Fitzgerald scores late; Beavers escape with 1-1 tie at Alaska
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Leo Fitzgerald scores late; Beavers escape with 1-1 tie at Alaska

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Carlson Center) – Held scoreless for the first 50 minutes of play, the Bemidji State University men’s hockey team got a power-play goal from Leo Fitzgerald late to force overtime and help the Beavers to earn a 1-1 tie versus Western Collegiate Hockey Association foe University of Alaska, late Sunday in Fairbanks, Alaska.

BSU goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 26-of-27 shots faced to earn a draw and help the Beavers escape the first weekend of the calendar year with three points in the league standings.

In a game that saw the Beavers and Nanooks combine for 12 penalties, UA struck first, getting a goal off the stick of Nolan Huysmans 8:36 into the first period on its first man advantage of the game.

Bitzer and the Beavers settled in and held UA without a goal throughout the final 52 minutes of regulation, giving the Beavers a chance to win the game and the league series.

At the 9:02 mark of the third, the Beavers looked to have tied the game on a delayed-penalty goal from Brendan Harms, but after a review, the goal was disallowed leaving BSU with just over 10 minutes to find a way to get on the scoreboard. One minute and 47 seconds later, L. Fitzgerald found the back of the net with help from brother Gerry and Dillon Eichstadt on the power play. The sophomore was in the right place at the right time and buried his own rebound to extend the game to overtime for the second straight night.

In overtime, the Beavers applied plenty of pressure, out shooting the Nanooks 4-2 in the extra period, but were unable to find the back of the net and settled for the 1-1 tie.

BSU finished the night going 1-for-3 on the power play while its penalty-kill unit was 4-of-5.

Bemidji State, now 6-9-4 overall and 5-8-3 in WCHA play, improved to 1-0-4 on overtime this season with the 1-1 tie.

The team continues its current Alaskan road trip with a WCHA series at University of Alaska-Anchorage Friday and Saturday at Sullivan Arena. The Beavers and Seawolves drop the puck at 10:07 p.m. (CT) Friday and will complete the series with a 10:07 p.m. (CT) start Saturday in Anchorage, Alaska.

Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.