ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Sullivan Arena) – Jordan Heller scored twice and Michael Bitzer turned aside 28-of-29 shots faced to lead the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team to a 5-1 victory over the University of Alaska Anchorage Saturday at Sullivan Arena.
After playing nearly 45 minutes locked in a scoreless tie, the Beavers exploded for five goals during the final 15 minutes of play to solidify the 5-1 victory, complete the series road sweep and finish a four-game, 10-day road trip through Alaska taking seven of a possible eight points.
Heller got BSU on the board, netting his second goal of the season with help from Dillon Eichstadt and Nate Arentz at the 4:54 mark of the third period. Over the next 5:31, the Beavers’ lead would swell to 3-0 getting a short-handed goal from Arentz (8:20) and an even-strength tally from Gerry Fitzgerald.
The Seawolves would make good on their only power-play opportunity of the weekend at the 16:37 mark of the frame, pulling their goaltender for an extra attacker. Tad Kozun was credited with the goal.
The Beavers would close out the win getting an unassisted, empty-net goal off the stick of Cory Ward at the 17:28 mark and another from Heller with 45 seconds to play. Arentz and Bitzer were credited with helpers on BSU’s final goal. It was the first assist of Bitzer’s career.
BSU finished the game posting a pair of power-play goals in seven opportunities, while UAA was 1-for-3 on the man advantage.
Bitzer carried a shutout nearly 57 minutes into the game and finished the night making 28 saves on 29 shots faced to earn the victory. He is unbeaten in his last three appearances (2-0-1) and improves to 4-9-3 on the year.
Bemidji State, now 7-9-4 overall and 6-8-3 in WCHA play, returns to Sanford Center Friday for a nonconference series versus NCAA Division I Newcomer Arizona State University (5-16-0). The teams open the two-game set at 7:37 p.m. Friday and wrap up the series beginning with a 7:07 p.m. opening faceoff Saturday.
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.