|January 30, 2016||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
|1||03:33||MINN||Reilly, Connor (Sheehy, Tyler , Kloos, Justin)|
|2||07:30||BSU||Parker, John (Gerbrandt, Markus , Bauman, Kyle)|
|3||07:52||MINN||Kloos, Justin (Reilly, Connor , Sheehy, Tyler)|
|3||11:00||BSU||Ward, Cory (Marinaccio, Phillip , Pedan, Ruslan)|
|3||16:06||BSU||Gerbrandt, Markus (Fitzgerald, Gerry , McCormack, Graeme)|
|3||18:54||BSU||Gerbrandt, Markus (Ward, Cory , Harms, Brendan)|
|Shots on Goal||33||32|
ST. PAUL, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center) – Trailing the University of Minnesota 2-1 with 12:08 to go in the third period, the Bemidji State University men’s hockey netted three goals to defeat the Golden Gophers and earn a chance to defend its North Star College Cup title versus No. 3 St. Cloud State University Sunday.
Markus Gerbrandt collected a pair of goals, including the game-winner, and added an assist to power the Beavers to the victory. Cory Ward contributed a goal and an assist, while goaltender Michael Bitzer stopped 30-of-32 shots faced.
Minnesota got on the board at the 3:33 mark of the first period when Connor Reilly collected a rebound off the blocker of Bitzer and found the back of the net. Tyler Sheehy and Justin Kloos were credited with assists on the play.
Despite a push and a shot off the post by Ward in the final minutes of the first, BSU skated into the intermission trailing Minnesota, 1-0.
Bemidji State began to wear Minnesota down in the second. The Beavers out shot Minnesota 9-6 in the frame and had several near misses. At the 7:30 mark of the period, the hard work paid off when John Parker got his own rebound and pushed his seventh goal of the season through the pads of Eric Schierhorn to tie the game. Gerbrandt and Kyle Bauman were credited with assists.
Tied 1-1 to open nearly eight minutes into the final period, BSU seemed to continue to gain momentum. Even a series of point-blank shots by the Gophers, didn’t phase Bitzer and the Beavers, but when he left the puck sitting in the crease after turning aside three consecutive shots, Minnesota’s Kloos to buried its and looked to steer BSU toward the third-place game.
But the never-say-die Beavers kept gnawing away at the Gopher’s lead. First Ward took advantage of a defensive miscue in front of the Minnesota goal and sniped an odd-angle shot from the left faceoff circle. Then Gerbrandt took a pass from Gerry Fitzgerald and Graeme McCormack as BSU’s second power-play opportunity of the afternoon was running out to give the Beavers thier first lead of the night with just 3:54 left in regulation. The senior would add an empty-net goal with 1:06 left to seal the win.
The BSU power-play finished the game 1-for-2, while its penalty-kill unit held Minnesota without a goal on two chances.
BSU, now 11-10-5 overall battles the winner from today’s first semifinal St. Cloud State in tomorrow’s championship game. Opening faceoff is set for 4 p.m. from Xcel Energy Center.
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.