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BSU's Corey Ward scored in the first period of Friday's game with this slap shot. His goal tied the game at 1-1 and BSU and Alaska-Fairbanks eventually settled for a 3-3 draw. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

Men's hockey: BSU, Fairbanks skate to 3-3 draw

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BEMIDJI — After a rough start to its Western Collegiate Hockey Association game Friday night against Alaska Fairbanks, the BSU hockey team counted itself lucky to escape with a point.

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“We had a rough time getting going,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “I wish we had played with a little more urgency. But it’s been a long, grinding first half so far so I was really glad with how they battled back.”

Matt Prapavessis scored an extra-attacker goal with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in a 3-2 game and the Beavers — thanks in part to two goals from Prapavessis in the third period — hung on to tie Alaska 3-3 in front of 3,208 people at the Sanford Center.

“It was good that we were able to come back there at the end with the extra attacker, and it was good to get the points, but we want to put a better 60 minutes together,” Prapavessis said. “Hopefully (Saturday) we can come out of here with two points.”

BSU (5-8-6, 5-4-4 WCHA) never led but earned its third-straight tie after rallying from three separate one-goal deficits.

Down 3-2 with just more than two minutes to go, the Beavers had an offensive zone face-off and Serratore decided to pull freshman goaltender Jesse Wilkins for the extra skater.

The move paid off. BSU center Cory Ward won the faceoff and the pushed the puck back to the point. Prapavessis strafed just a few steps to his right and his wrist shot easily beat Nanooks’ goaltender Sean Cahill to tie it 3-3.

Prapavessis’ other goal — a power play tally from the left point just 23 seconds into the third period — also came off a Ward face-off win.

“We won face-offs. That was the one big positive tonight,” Serratore said. “We were good on the dot. We won some pretty big taps right there.

“That last one especially was huge. All Prap did was got wood on it. He got it through, kept it low, got it on net, there was some cross traffic and the puck had some eyes.”

BSU won the faceoff battle 41-30.

The Nanooks (6-8-3, 3-7-1 WCHA) had three separate leads but never gave themselves more than a goal for a cushion.

Matthew Friese scored just three minutes into the game to give Alaska an early lead but Ward tied it up four minutes later and the teams went into the dressing room tied 1-1. Alaska outshot BSU 7-3 in the first frame as both teams struggled to get offense going.

“You had two good defensive teams going at it,” Prapavessis said. “The shots were pretty low after that first period. But at the same time we need to get out offense going, which starts with our forecheck. We didn’t do that as well today.”

In the second period the Nanooks once again grabbed the lead following a failed BSU clearing attempt late in the frame. Beaver center Mitch Cain couldn’t quite knock a puck down and get it out of the zone. Shawn Hochhausen pounced on it, skated over to the high slot and beat Wilkins.

In the third period, the Beavers tied things up early but the Nanooks again took a lead, this time getting a 3-on-1 opportunity capitalized by Garrick Parry.

Prapavessis’ goal tied it up and the Beavers were able to hold on for the tie despite taking two high-sticking penalties. That gave the Nanookks two power plays in the overtime period’; they outshot the Beavers 5-0 in the extra period.

Wilkins, making his third straight start and his first at home, said he was glad to escape with a third consecutive tie. The Beavers were outshot 30-21 and he credited the BSU defense with getting him through it.

“They played unreal in front of me,” he said. “They really bailed me out… there were a few scary moments in the third period and overtime.”

BSU blocked 20 shots in front of Wilkins, he made 27 saves.

Cahill made 18 saves for Alaska.

The teams return to the ice today for the series finale; it’s the final game of 2013 for both teams.

“It’d be nice to start Christmas early with a win,” Prapavessis said. “We need to play a little smarter and a little quicker. we want to try and play a more offensive game and tilt the ice in our favor.”

Bemidji State 3, Alaska 3, OT

UAF 1 1 1 0 — 3

BSU 1 0 2 0 — 3

First Period — 1, UAF, Friese (Hajdukovich), 3:05; 2, BSU, Ward (McCormack, Harms), 6:44. Penalties — BSU, Robbins (Interference), 11:51; UAF, Morley (High Sticking), 15:20; UAF, Erickson (Holding), 18:11.

Second Period — 3, UAF, Hochhausen (Unassisted). Penalties — UAF, Youngmun (Elbowing), 2:42; BSU, Pedan (Roughing), 9:08; UAF, Youngmun (Slashing), 13:11; UAF, Basara (Cross-Checking), 19:58.

Third Period — 4, BSU, Prapavessis 1 (Illo, Marinaccio), 0:23, PP; 5, Garrick (Morley), 8:48; 6, BSU, Prapavessis 2 (Ward), 18:20. Penalties — UAF, Campbell (Tripping), 0:43; BSU, Pedan (High Sticking), 8:48.

Overtime — No Scoring. Penalties — BSU, Windle (High Sticking), 0:41; BSU, McCormack (High Sticking), 4:38.

Shots on goal: UAF — 7-11-7-5—30, BSU — 3-9-9-0—21. Goaltenders (shots-saves): UAF — Cahill (21-18); BSU — Wilkins (30-27). Penalties-Minutes: UAF — 6-12; BSU — 5-10. Power Play goals, opportunities: UAF — 0-for-5; BSU — 1-for-6. Faceoffs: BSU 41-30. Three Stars: 1-Prapavessis, BSU; 2-Ward, BSU; 3-Perry, UAF.

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Jack Hittinger
Jack Hittinger is a sports reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer, focusing on Bemidji State but also covering area high schools. 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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