HANOVER, N.H. – At first, it appeared the Bemidji State men’s hockey team hadn’t missed a beat from holiday break. The Beavers scored twice in the first period, capitalizing on poor forechecking from Massachusetts.
Unfortunately for Bemidji State, hockey games last for 60 minutes.
UMass scored four unanswered goals, including three in a dominating second period, and held on to beat the Beavers 4-3 Sunday afternoon in the first round of Dartmouth’s Ledyard National Bank Holiday Classic.
With the loss, the Beavers will take on No. 2-ranked New Hampshire in the third-place game at 3 p.m. Monday. New Hampshire lost to in-state rivals (and No. 10-ranked) Dartmouth 4-1 in the other semifinal game Sunday.
“Things worked our way in first period, and we played a good 20 minutes, but after the first period, we fell asleep,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore told Beaver Radio Network following the game.
The Minutemen (6-9-2) outshot the Beavers 18-5 in the second period, and scored twice on the power play – one goal from Darren Rowe at the 9:32 mark of the second and another from Adam Phillips with under two minutes to play.
Michael Pereira also scored for UMass in the period where the Beavers barely had it in their own offensive zone. BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh kept the Beavers down only one goal in the second frame, making 15 saves and preventing one or two goals.
“Bottom line is, they played with more desperation and will in the second period, and we didn’t respond,” Serratore said. “They outworked us and they took it to us. It was extremely disappointing second period.”
The game didn’t start poorly for Bemidji State, however.
In fact, the Beavers (5-9-3) dominated much of the first period; UMass didn’t get a shot on goal until nearly seven minutes into the frame.
The Beavers scored first about halfway into the period after the Minutemen’s Branden Gracel was called for a holding penalty. And BSU didn’t take very long to light the lamp.
Just 15 seconds into the penalty on UMass, Aaron McLeod cleaned up a rebound from a Brady Wacker shot and blasted it past UMass goaltender Kevin Boyle.
The Beavers scored again minutes later. Brance Orban picked up a strange bounce off the back wall following a shot from David Boehm and was able to beat Boyle for the goal.
In the third period, the Beavers had numerous chances on the power play to tie the game up at 3-3, but Zack LaRue’s goal with 10:59 to go in regulation all but erased any chances BSU had at a comeback.
LaRue, who had been in the penalty box seconds earlier, found a loose puck and drove it past Walsh to put UMass up 4-2.
Jordan George made things interesting, scoring with 2:23 to go in regulation, but the Beavers couldn’t find the equalizer despite multiple good shots with an extra attacker.
UMass 4, BSU 3
BSU 2 0 1 - 3
UMass 0 3 1 - 4
First period – 1, BSU, McLeod (Orban, Wacker) 9:17 PP. 2, BSU, Orban (Boehm, Jubinville) 14:47
Second period – 3, UMas Pereira (Gracel, Sheary) 5:05. 4, Umas, Rowe Walsh, Gracel) 9:32 PP. 5, Umas, Phillips (Carzo, Allen) 18:44 PP
Third period – 6, Umas, LaRue (Gracel) 9:01. 7, BSU, George (Ward, Kinne) 17:37
Shots – BSU 7-5-8-20; Umas 9-18-6-33
Saves – BSU, Walsh, 29-33; Umas, Boyle, 17-20
Penalties/minutes – BSU 6/12; Umas 4/8