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Bemidji State’s Brendan Harms celebrates with Matt Hartmann (No. 21) who just scored his first goal of the season and BSU’s second goal of the night during the second period of Friday’s 4-1 win over Minnesota State.
Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer
Bemidji State’s Brendan Harms celebrates with Matt Hartmann (No. 21) who just scored his first goal of the season and BSU’s second goal of the night during the second period of Friday’s 4-1 win over Minnesota State. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

Men's Hockey: Bemidji St. topples Minnesota St. 4-1

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BEMIDJI — It was five years coming, but Matt Hartmann finally has a goal in the green and white.

The fifth-year Bemidji State senior played in 25 games coming into Friday night’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association game against Minnesota State Mankato.

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In his 26th, he finally netted one – a redirect of a Graeme McCormack shot that snaked through MSU goaltender Stephon Williams in the second period of what was, until then, a 1-0 game.

“Once I saw it go into the back of the net it was a huge relief off my shoulders,” the senior from White Bear Lake said. “Graeme got the shot and it was going wide right so I just stuck my stick out and was able to sneak it in through the five-hole.

“It’s a great feeling.”

Hartmann’s goal at the 11 minute, 35 second mark of the second period turned out to be the game-winner as the Beavers defeated the No. 16 Mavericks 4-1 Friday night at the Sanford Center. Three Beavers scored their first-career goals and goaltender Andrew Walsh made 27 saves.

But Hartmann’s score was a big one for BSU head coach Tom Serratore.

“It’s been a long career for him,” Serratore said of Hartmann, who missed most of the 2012-13 season with injury. “He hasn’t had a lot of success offensively and hasn’t seen a lot of ice time. But he does all the little things well. I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s been very loyal to this program.”

The win improves the Beavers to 3-3-1 overall and a perfect 3-0-0 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. MSU (2-3-0, 0-1-0) suffered its first conference loss of the season.

The teams were scoreless going into the second quarter, and the Mavericks were dominating play up to that point — outshooting BSU 14-4 — but the Beavers broke it open with three straight goals.

Bob Kinne got it started at the 8:59 mark.

After receiving a feed from Mitch Cain in the neutral zone the freshman from St. Paul had a near-breakaway and skated in, easily beating Williams glove side.

After Hartmann’s goal, the Beavers took advantage of a long 5-on-3 power play opportunity to go up 3-0 on freshman defenseman Ruslan Pedan’s first-career goal at 15:26.

MSU’s Jordan Nelson scored a minute later and made it 3-1, but the Beavers didn’t concede and took that same lead into the second intermission.

Cory Ward all but put it out of reach in the third period with his fifth goal of the season at 10:15.

Hartmann and Serratore credited Walsh with keeping the Beavers in the game in the first period.

The junior netminder made 14 saves in the first frame after the Mavericks outshot the Beavers 14-4.

“Walsh kept us in it,” Hartmann said. “That first period we had three penalties that kind of hindered us from getting a rhythm going and getting the energy in the building. But Walsh has been spectacular all year and he gave us a chance to get back into it in the second and third period and we took advantage of it.”

A string of impressive saves by Walsh in the first period kept it scoreless. The best save of the frame occurred near the end of the third Minnesota State power play. Max Gaede was just inside the right circle and got off a shot that Walsh scooped out of the air at the last second.

BSU killed the penalty but soon after Hansen came out of the box another Maverick — Dylan Margonari — had a chance that Walsh denied. This one was point-blank in front of the slot and the Beaver goaltender fell on the puck just in time to freeze the action.

Serratore counted going into first intermission scoreless as a win for the Beavers.

“Coming out of that period 0-0, it was like we stole that period,” he said. “Once you survive the period and get that next goal, the whole complexion of the game changes. We got to play with the lead and we didn’t have to play catch-up hockey. If you can do that you’re halfway home.”

In all the Mavericks outshot the Beavers 28-20.

The teams return to action tonight for the series finale at 7:07 p.m.

Bemidji State 4, Minnesota State 1

Minnesota State 0 1 0 – 1

Bemidji State 0 3 1 – 4

First Period – No Scoring. Penalties – BSU, Hartmann (Tripping), 3:16; BSU, Hansen (Boarding), 7:05; MSU, Nelson (Tripping), 9:25; BSU, Hansen (Cross-Checking), 15:09.

Second Period – 1, BSU, Kinne (Cain), 8:59; 2, BSU, Hartmann (McCormack, Hansen), 11:35; 3, BSU, Pedan (Prapavessis, Mattson), 15:26, PP; 4, MSU, Nelson (Stepan), 16:25. Penalties – MSU, Margonari (Slashing), 6:12; MSU, Foguth (Tripping), 13:27; MSU, Knowles (Slashing), 13:47; MSU, Herndon (Elbowing, 5), 16:57; MSU, Herndon (Game Misconduct), 16:57; BSU, Pedan (Interference), 19:38.

Third Period – 5, BSU, Ward (Prapavessis, Hansen), 10:15. Penalties – BSU, Jubinville (Hooking); BSU, O’Connor (Roughing), 16:06.

Shots on goal: MSU – 14-8-6—28; BSU – 4-10-6—20; Goaltenders (shots-saves): MSU –Williams (20-16); BSU — Walsh (28-27). Penalties-Minutes: MSU – 6-23; BSU — 6-12. Power Play goals, opportunities: MSU – 0-for-4; BSU — 1-for-6. Three Stars: 1-Hartmann, BSU; 2-Pedan, BSU; 3- Hansen, UAH.

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Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
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