Bemidji State men's hockey: Kinne's last-second goal sparks emotional overtime win, sweep of Minnesota-Duluth
What a way for the Bemidji State men's hockey team to say goodbye to the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.
BSU's Ben Kinne scored with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game and freshman Jordan George scored 36 seconds into overtime to give the Beavers a stunning 5-4 overtime win over the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs at the DECC Saturday.
The victory gave the No. 14-ranked Beavers (17-5-2) a series sweep against the No. 4 Bulldogs (16-9-1) after BSU won 4-1 Friday in Bemidji. UMD will move into a new arena next season.
UMD took a 2-1 lead into the third period that looked more like a championship bout between two college hockey heavyweights than a regular season hockey game. The teams traded punches and counter punches with the Beavers coming out on top.
Matt Read started the ball rolling for the Beavers in the key third period, scoring on a shorthanded breakaway at 7:14 to tie the score at 2-2. UMD quickly countered to regain the lead as Travis Oleksuk connected just 57 seconds later.
Then it was the Beavers turn again. Ian Lowe corralled a loose puck at the near circles and ripped a shot shortside on the power play to tie the game 3-3 at 13:37.
Once again the Bulldogs responded quickly. Mike Seidel put UMD in front 4-3 just 29 seconds after Lowe's goal.
The Bulldogs maintained the narrow lead until the final ticks of the clock. With BSU goalie Dan Bakala pulled for the extra attacker, Kinne connected off a scrum in front from his knees to tie the game.
"I got knocked down and the puck squirted free," Kinne said. "I just concentrated on getting my stick on it and it went in five-hole."
The Beavers ended matters quickly in overtime. George picked up a loose puck near the UMD blue line, sped down ice and scored top shelf on a backhand just 36 seconds into the extra session.
"That was a big time goal," said BSU head coach Tom Serratore. "I think one of the UMD defenders slipped and George was there to pick up the puck. To get to the puck and score on a backhand top shelf shows you just how talente4d George is."
The entire Beaver contingent was clearly drained after the win.
"Unbelievable," Serratore said. "I can't say enough about the character of our guys. Three years ago we were behing 5-2 and came back to win.. This ranks up there with that game. The guys willed themselves to win; they never gave up."
Bemidji State opened the scoring at 10:11 of the first period on a pinpoint passing play. Coming up ice with a 3 on 2, Tyler Lehrke crossed the blue line, fed the puck to the slot to Jamie MacQueen who made a quick touch pass down low. Chris McKelvie was there to tip the puck past Hjelle.
Minnesota-Duluth came back to tie the game with a goal at 18:10. Chad Huttel got his first goal of the year on a hard wrist shot from in close that beat Bakala top shelf.
Immediately preceding the goal, the Bulldogs missed a chance as Rob Bordson rang a shot off the cross bar. A review confirmed it was no goal.
The first was a period of two halves as the Beavers carried the first half of play and the Bulldogs the second. UMD ended with an 11-7 shot advantage in the period.
For the second straight night UMD had control of the second period, scoring the only goal and carrying play for long periods. The Bulldogs ended with a 13-5 shot on goal advantage for the period and 24-12 for the game.
UMD made it 2-1 at 10:27 as senior forward Jordan Fulton scored his first goal of the year. Fulton executed a nice wraparound move that Bakala at first appeared to stop. A review showed the puck crossed the goal line.
The score could have been worse for Bemidji State in the period. UMD's Grun rang a shot off the pipe with just over three minutes left, nearly connecting on a face off play.
Then came that fantastic, mind-numbing third period.
"My heart can't take many games like this," Bakala said. "We didn't let up at all the entire game and it paid off. It was a very emotional game."
UMD ended with a 35-24 shots on goal advantage for the game. Bakala got the win, making 31 stops. Hjelle took the loss for the Bulldogs, ending with 19 saves.
"We always say in order to win big games, the goalie has to be your best player," Serratore reported. "When that happens, you have the opportunity to win every game. Bakala was our best player tonight."
The Beavers return to league play in next week's action, hosting Robert Morris at the Glas Friday and Saturday.