BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sanford Center) – The University of Minnesota Duluth took its first lead of the game with just 7:27 left in the third period, but it is the last lead that matters. The top-ranked Bulldogs handed No. 15 Bemidji State University a 2-1 loss, Saturday at Sanford Center, to take the non-conference series.
The Beavers opened the game strong, netting a goal just 44 seconds after the opening face off. Tommy Muck started the play with a pass to Phillip Marinaccio on the half wall. The junior from Nobleton, Ontario dished the puck to a streaking Kyle Bauman, who found the top right corner of the net for his seventh goal of the season.
Midway through the period, Marinaccio was whistled for a checking from behind major penalty, sending him to the bench for the night and leaving the Beavers short-handed.
The BSU penalty-kill unit kept the Bulldogs at bay through the five-minute man advantage, but would allow its first power-play goal in seven games at the 7:20 mark of the second period. Karson Kuhlman scored the equalizer with help from Neal Pionk and Adam Johnson.
UMD got the bounce it needed at the 12:33 mark of the third when Brenden Kotyk took a shot from the point that was redirected in front by Dominic Toninato.
Trailing 2-1 late, the Beavers had their opportunities to reel in the Bulldogs. BSU got its fourth power play of the night at the 16:23 mark of the third and the team got a 6-on-4 opportunity after another whistle and pulling goaltender, Michael Bitzer, but was unable to convert.
Bitzer made 25 saves in the game and backstopped a penalty-kill unit that was 2-for-3 on the night, but was tagged for two goals and moves to 13-5-3 on the season.
The Beavers (13-6-3; 12-1-2-2 WCHA) now breaks for the holidays. The Beavers return to open the second half of the season at University of Alaska Anchorage, Dec. 30 and 31. The opening face off for both games is 4:37 p.m. (CST).
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.