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Men's hockey: BSU snaps 8-game skid with 5-2 win over Lake State

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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- The BSU men's hockey team needed a to catch a break.

After going eight games without a victory and being held 0-for-9 on the power play in last weekend's series against Northern Michigan, a trip to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., proved to be just what the Beavers needed.

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The Beavers scored three times on the power play -- including two goals by freshman right wing Brendan Harms -- and cruised to a 5-2 win over Lake Superior State in Western Collegiate Hockey Association at Taffy Abel Arena.

"I thought we played 60 pretty good minutes of hockey," BSU head coach Tom Serratore told Beaver Radio Network in a postgame interview. "We were good on special teams, we were good defensively and we were good on the forecheck. I was really proud of the guys."

The victory helped the Beavers (6-11-6, 6-7-4 WCHA) break the three-way tie they were in for fourth place in the conference. Lake Superior and Michigan Tech slid into a tie for fifth.

BSU outshot the Lakers 44-43 and saw goals from four different players. Harms scored twice but Matt Prapavessis and Phil Marinaccio also scored while Markus Gerbrandt added an empty-net goal to seal the win late in the third.

"We played with a lot of desperation," Serratore told Beaver Radio Network. "We were a team that needed a win and we got it done."

Although Lake State (11-9-1, 7-8-0 WCHA) scored first on Zach Sternberg's snipe off the faceoff, the Beavers answered with a pair of power play goals.

After BSU's Cory Ward won the faceoff in the Lake State zone Prapavessis ended up with the puck and shot from the slot that beat LSSU goalie Kevin Kapalka at 7:44.

Kapalka left the game with an unknown injury shortly after BSU's equalizer and was replaced by Kevin Murdock.

The Beavers scored on Murdock late in the first period -- also on a power play -- to make it 2-1.

Ruslan Pedan took a shot from the point that Murdock batted away and Harms was right in front of the new goaltender. He backhanded it in past Murdock with just over a minute left in the period to make it 2-1.

In the middle frame BSU killed off two penalties (on James Hansen and Jeff Jubinville) and took a two-goal lead 15 minutes into the period when Bob Kinne forced a Lakers turnover and fed the puck to Nate Arentz down low, who in turn passed it to Marinaccio. He beat Murdock fairly easily for the goal and the 3-1 lead.

In the third period Harms gave BSU a three-goal lead at the 7:31 mark -- his second of the night -- but Stephen Perfetto answered almost exactly halfway into the period to once again cut BSU's lead to two.

The Lakers decided to pull Murdock early -- with just under five minutes left -- but the Beavers quickly defused that threat. Ward won the faceoff at center ice and got it to Gerbrandt, who easily fired it in for the empty-net goal.

Freshman Jesse Wilkins picked up the win in goal for the Beavers -- the first of his career. He made 41 saves.

Murdock had 35 saves in relief of Kapalka, who made four saves before exiting with the injury.

The teams return to the ice at 6:07 p.m. tonight for the series finale.

Bemidji State 5, Lake Superior State 2

BSU 2 1 2 -- 5

LSSU 1 0 1 -- 2

First Period -- 1, LSSU, Sternberg (Loesch, Perfetto), 3:50; 2, BSU, Prapavessis (Ward), 7:44, PP; 3, BSU, Harms 1 (Pedan, Prapavessis), 18:50, PP. Penalties -- LSSU, Nardi (Interference), 7:20; LSSU, Czuczman (Slashing), 18:44.

Second Period -- 4, BSU, Marinaccio (Arentz), 14:45. Penalties -- BSU, Hansen (Cross Checking), 6:51; BSU, Jubinville (Slashing), 16:09.

Third Period -- 5, Harms 2 (Gerbrandt, Ward), 7:31, PP; 6, LSSU, Perfetto (Globke, Campbell), 9:59; 7, BSU, Gerbrandt (Ward), 15:14, EN. Penalties -- LSSU, Campbell (Checking From Behind), 5:32; LSSU, Schmitt (Tripping), 12:01; LSSU, Sternberg (Charging), 18:41.

Shots On Goal -- BSU, 15-14-15--44; LSSU, 13-19-11--43. Goalies-Saves -- BSU, Wilkins (44-43); LSSU, Kapalka (5-4, 8:39), Murdock (38-35, 51:17). Penalties-Minutes -- BSU, 2-4; LSSU, 5-10. Power plays-Opportunities -- BSU, 3-for-5; LSSU, 0-for-2.

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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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