BEMIDJI – Chances are, Lake Superior State wouldn’t have minded a repeat of Friday night’s nonconference matchup at the Sanford Center: Hit hard, play solid defense and wait for the perfect opening to score. That’s how the Lakers beat Bemidji State 2-0 in the Beavers’ regular-season opener.
In Saturday’s rematch, Bemidji State wasn’t willing to wait around for the déjà vu.
Five different Beaver players scored and Andrew Walsh had a 25-save shutout as the home team topped the Lakers 5-0, earning a series split and its first win of the season.
“I thought it was a good effort,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “We maybe didn’t put a 60-minute effort into it, but we put a 50-minute effort into it. While we had some lapses, I thought we played well defensively.”
The Beavers (1-1-0) had been concerned about finding scoring after being shut out 2-0 by Lakers’ goalie Kevin Kapalka Friday night.
On Saturday, Radoslov Illo had a goal and an assist, freshmen Cory Ward and Phil Brewer scored their first college goals, Brance Orban scored what would turn out to be the game winner and Sam Windle added another tally for BSU.
“We wanted some confidence from the guys,” Serratore said. “We talked about manufacturing offense. I just liked how we got some of the goals. We got a couple from the point, we went low-to-high, got some traffic in front of the net. I thought they were hard-nosed goals. I’m proud of the guys. Hopefully that continues on and is contagious.”
Orban’s goal – the game’s first and the season’s first – was exactly the kind the Beavers weren’t getting Friday night.
Nearly seven minutes into the first period, Jeff Jubinville retrieved the puck out to the left of Kapalka. He sent a pass to Orban, who was waiting near the net, and the senior buried it top shelf.
“I think we had a great first period last game,” Orban said. “We poured it on, we just didn’t score. We were looking for the same kind of start tonight and we got it.”
The Beavers outshot the Lakers 13-5 in the first period – much like Friday. Only the difference was BSU went into the intermission with the lead.
Bemidji State added a second goal at the 7:05 mark of the second period, when Ben Kinne found Windle unguarded on the right point. Windle didn’t need a booming slapshot to score. Instead, it was a wrist shot that went exactly where Windle wanted it – whizzing by Kapulka’s left shoulder.
In the third period, the Beavers were able to put it away.
Ward scored at the 7:01 mark of the final frame, collecting the rebound in front of Kapalka following a booming slapshot from Brady Wacker.
Brewer added the fourth goal less than a minute later to make it 4-0, with an assist from Illo.
Serratore said with the way the Lakers (2-2-0) play, the Beavers couldn’t rest until getting those third-period scores.
“It was 2-0, that next goal was huge,” Serratore said. “Once you get that third goal, you get a little more energy on our bench and get a little more deflated on their bench.”
Illo added the fifth tally with just under two minutes to go. The junior from Slovakia forced a turnover in the Laker zone and, despite falling down a few times, kept possession of the puck the whole way. He beat Kapalka top-shelf to make it 5-0.
The Beavers outshot the Lakers 28-25 after getting outshot 40-27 on Saturday. Walsh, a sophomore, picked up the win and the first shutout of the season, making all 25 saves.
“It’s always nice to put zeros on the board,” Walsh said. “But this one felt good, right at the start of the year. It kind of set the tone for how I want to play for the rest of the year.”
The Beavers travel to Omaha next weekend for their WCHA opener against Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks are 2-2 after splitting their nonconference series with Northern Michigan this weekend.
Lake Superior State 0 0 0 – 0
Bemidji State 1 1 3 – 5
First period - 1, BSU, Brance Orban 1 (Jeff Jubinville), 6:57. Penalties – LSSU, Chris Ciotti (holding), 2:56; LSSU, Andrew Perrault (interference), 13:40.
Second period – 2, BSU, Sam Windle 1 (Ben Kinne), 7:05. Penalties – LSSU Domenic Monardo (interference), 8:36; LSSU, Dan Radke (tripping), 19:21.
Third period – 3, BSU, Cory Ward 1 (Brady Wacker, Jordan George), 7:01; 4, BSU, Phil Brewer 1 (Radoslav Illo), 7:55; 5, Radoslav Illo 1 (unassisted), 18:05. Penalties – BSU, Matt Prapavessis (hooking), 3:13; BSU, Phil Brewer (holding), 19:20.
Goalies – LSSU, Kevin Kapulka (29-24). BSU, Walsh (25-25).
Shots On Goal – LSSU (5-12-8-25). BSU (13-6-10-29).
Penalties-Minutes – LSSU, 4-8. BSU, 2-4.
Power Plays – LSSU, 0-for-2. BSU, 0-for-4.