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Bemidji State’s Danny Mattson scored BSU’s first goal Friday when he beat Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox from outside the left post. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

MEN'S HOCKEY: BSU falls to Minnesota 6-3

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BEMIDJI – Going into the third period, the Bemidji State men’s hockey team had every reason to be optimistic.

The Beavers were down just 3-2 against No. 3-ranked Minnesota and had shown some life on the power play and penalty kill.

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But it took the Golden Gophers less than a minute to dash BSU’s hopes of a game-tying goal.

Hudson Fasching scored just 44 seconds into the third period and the Gophers hung on for a 6-3 nonconference win in front of 4,237 Friday night at the Sanford Center.

The two rivals return to the ice tonight for the 7:07 p.m. finale.

“They did answer back quickly, but that’s the sign of a good team,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore said. “They’re a balanced team. They’re a skilled team, they’re a fast team. They put a lot of heat on us.”

But Fasching’s quick strike didn’t quite put the game out of reach, however.

Just 3 minutes, 17 seconds into the third AJ Michaelson went to the penalty box for a hooking penalty and the Beavers responded. Matt Prapavessis fed the puck to Radoslav Illo, who one-timed it from behind the circle for a snipe that beat Adam Wilcox just 17 seconds into the BSU power play.

That made it a game, but Minnesota’s fast-responding offense once again answered the call.

Nate Condon snuck a puck in behind BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh just a minute later to give the Gophers another two-goal lead. They added another empty netter with less than two minutes left, but Minnesota’s ability to answer back every time the Beavers seemed to have momentum was the key.

“You want to score and obviously the next couple shifts you want to try and win those shifts,” Serratore said. “We didn’t do that and you know that the momentum shifted immediately after those goals. That makes it tough on you. You want to try and get some consistent play, some momentum and confidence after those goals and it never happened.”

The second time the Beavers allowed the Gophers to answer early was almost like déjà vu.

BSU (0-2-1) had taken an early lead just 3:35 into the game when Danny Mattson scored the first of the Beavers’ two power play goals in the game. Two early Minnesota penalties had given BSU a 5-on-3 and Mattson made the Gophers pay, collecting a rebound off Ruslan Pedan’s shot from the point and sending the crowd at the Sanford Center into frenzy.

But as the Gophers (3-0-0) did time and again Friday night, they didn’t let BSU celebrate for too long. Travis Boyd scored a minute later on the counter-attack to make it 2-1.

“After they scored that goal we seemed to surge a little bit more and scoring that goal right after that obviously was huge,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “You want to try and score that next shift or two and we did that a couple times tonight. I thought we got better as the game went on.”

Ben Marshall scored at 10:45 to make it 2-1 at the first intermission, but Cory Ward tied things up in the second frame with his second goal of the season. Sam Warning added a late third period goal to give the Gophers their 3-2 cushion going into the final period.

The Beavers went 2-for-4 on the power play Friday, their first two goals on the man-advantage this season.

“It was nice to get some power play goals as well, but the bottom line is 5-on-5 it was tough for us to generate quality scoring chances,” Serratore said. “I thought in the third period we played with a little more jam. Once we did that it helped a little bit, but the biggest thing is you have to skate with these guys. They have great speed. They just do. Great puck possession team, but you have to skate against these guys.”

Connor Reilly added a late empty-netter for the Gophers to give them their final goal.

Lucia said both teams are still trying to find their strides this early in the season so seeing nine goals in the game didn’t surprise him.

“Both of us are a work in progress right now,” he said. “We’ve had two weeks of practice and things are still loose defensively this time of year so that played into it.”

The Gophers outshot the Beavers 37-31; Walsh ended up making 31 saves for BSU.

Minnesota 6, Bemidji State 3

UM 2 1 3 — 6

BSU 1 1 1 — 3

First Period — 1, BSU, Mattson (Pedan, Jubinville), 3:35, PP; 2, UM, Boyd (Riley, Parenteau), 4:36; 3, UM, Marshall (Warning, Kloos), 10:45, PP. Penalties — UM, Team (Too Many Men), 1:32; UM, Warning (Tripping), 3:19; BSU, Rendle (High Sticking), 8:42; UM, Rau (Unsportsmanlike Conduct), 8:42; BSU, Hansen (Hooking), 9:08; UM, Condon (Interference), 12:12; UM, Reilly (Tripping), 13:40.

Second Period – 4, BSU, Ward (Mattson), 5:37; 5, UM, Warning (Fasching, Brodzinski), 15:35. Penalties – BSU, McCormack (Hooking), 11:39; BSU, Brewer (Interference), 15:35.

Third Period – 6, UM, Fasching (Rau, Warning), 0:44; 7, BSU, Illo (Prapavessis, Harms), 3:34, PP; 8, UM, Condon (Kloos), 4:26; 9, UM, Reilly (Cammarata), 18:10 (EN). Penalties – UM, Michaelson, (Hooking), 3:17.

Shots on goal: UM — 15-8-14—37, BSU — 6-8-7—31. Goaltenders (shots-saves): UM — Wilcox (21-18; BSU — Walsh (36-31). Penalties-Minutes: UM — 6-12; BSU — 4-8. Power Play goals, opportunities: UM — 1-for-3; BSU — 2-for-4. Faceoffs: UM 34-27. Three Stars: 1-Warning, UM; 2-Fasching, UM; 3-Mattson, BSU.

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